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Legend of Heroes

Legend of Heroes

Developer: Falcom
Publisher: Bandai
ESRB: Teen (13+) (T)
Release Date: November 15, 2005

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A Heroic Legend

With traditionally-styled RPGs in somewhat short supply these days, itís nice to see that older styles of gaming arenít being ignored. With a turn-based combat system and a story based around rescuing the girl, beating the bad guys and saving the world, Legend of Heroes looks to patch a sizeable hole in modern RPGs - old-school fun.

Legend of Heroes opens with a brief telling of the creation myth of Gagharv. Bardus and Octum, the Gods of Light and Dark fought, creating the God of the Earth, Durga, in turn giving birth to the Human race. The opening sequence shows off some interesting visual effects alongside impressive artwork, presented in the style of an ancient painting or tapestry. As the story begins, we meet the gameís main characters, Avin and his little sister Eimelle. Having been abandoned as children, they now live in the Bardus Cathedral, where the many tutors and priests teach them on a variety of subjects. The visual style is a little reminiscent of Dragon Quest VII, mixed with Lufia-style sprites. Character portraits, however, are highly detailed 1/2 body shots done in a colorful anime style, which adds a lot of character and expressiveness that the sprites lack. The portraits are shown off particularly well as Avin and his sister care for a small cat named Mimi inside the Cathedral.

However, the pleasant scene is shattered as a follower of Octum, who calls himself Bellias, invades the Cathedral, apparently searching for Eimelle. As the powerful mage and his troops rip through the Cathedral, the children and their teacher make their way through the sewers to a waiting caravan. However, as the wagon takes off, Mimi jumps out the back, straight into the path of oncoming Octum mages. Avin, being the hero, of course attempts to rescue the cat, nearly getting himself killed in the process. Avin is rescued by Sage Dinerkin, a powerful mage in his own right, but the siblings are separated. What follows is a long, arduous quest as the young man attempts to find his missing sister.

The combat system in Legend of Heroes is an unusual blend of tactical and turn-based RPG conventions. The player enters commands in normal RPG style - attack, magic, item, and a Limit Break-esque "Deadly" command - and those commands are played out in order of highest AGI stat. However, the game also uses a circular system to depict range of movement, as well as the area of effect of spells. The system has the possibility for some interesting situations, and Iím looking forward to seeing what the game does with the potential it has, particularly in terms of advanced magic effects and the interaction of various skills.

With an interesting combat system and a plot which certainly looks to satisfy alongside some very old-school art direction, Legend of Heroes more than fills the basic requirements for a solid title. Of course, the basic style of the visuals and the heavy old-school feel of the game overall may not appeal to everyone, but it certainly looks to be a game with a solid technical and aesthetic footing. With the release date approaching quickly, we'll soon see whether RPGamers will be in for a treat this holiday season. Look forward to RPGamer's full review in the coming weeks!

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