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Legend of Legaia - Review

A Very Fine Attempt by Sony

By: Jade Falcon


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 4
   Plot 4
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 1
   Visuals 8
   Difficulty Hard/Extremely Hard
   Time to Complete

30-40 hrs.

 
Overall
6
Criteria

Legend of Legaia
 

   Many anxious RPGamers waited for what seemed like an eternity for FF8 to arrive here. Before then, a game created by Contrail and Sony called the Legend of Legaia was released, sating the RPGamer's thirst for FF8. Many feel that this could have been the best RPG of 1999 had FF8 not been released. Were they correct...?

   For those of you who enjoy fighting games, this RPG is for you. After an awesome transition, a menu appears. You can attack, which brings the fighting game into play. You can make combinations of moves with four different options: high, low, left, and right. If you input a correct sequence, the character performs an art, which depending on the enemy, will do more damage most of the time. However, that uses Art Points, which you can restore by rest or by using the Spirit command, which also increases your defense for that turn. The magic system is based on gaining spells from creatures you kill. You can absorb enemies, then summon them to use their magic against other enemies. The ones you can absorb have an icon next to their names during the battle. An overall good battle system, though I never have been a fan of fighting games.

   Legend of Legaia experiences some slow-down occasionally when there were many characters and some type of ambient effect (clouds, fog, etc.) on the screen. Otherwise, the game runs smoothly. The menu system is excellent and easy-to-use. The menus are a throwback to the simpler menus of FF4 and CT, which I enjoy. I don't like to have to navigate a complex menu system constantly. The double analog sticks work well with the menus. THe only problem I have is that you cannot change the color of the background, but that is just a minor peeve I have with some games.


I really wouldn't want to hear that.
Hell's Music. I wonder what that would really sound like...  

   I love the music in Legend of Legaia. My favorite is the overworld music. If I were to choose a journey music, I would choose that. Whoever composed the music needs to do some more games, because they are a master composer. As for the sound effects, they sound like they were taken from some 8-bit game. They also didn't bother to translate the characters' speech for their arts and other sayings. So, we get to hear everything in Japanese. That's good for people who speak the language, but Sony should have at least translated those. Excellent music, bad sound effects.

   Legend of Legaia presented us with little innovation. For the most part, everything in this game was taken from other games but the battle system. The battle system was excellently done, and was different, but that was all.

   The plot for Legend of Legaia throws a twist or two in, like many RPGs, but overall it is a save the world type deal. A large Mist surrounds the land, making all the magical creatures the humans befriended go crazy. If something is not done, the Mist will spread to cover the whole world. Sometimes the plot got so drawn-out and boring that I could read a book while still keeping up with the story. Even the second half of the game, which many people feel is much more interesting than the first half, bores me also. However, it is quite imaginative, but deep down it is not very creative and sometimes quite boring.

   For the most part, the presentation of Legend of Legaia to Americans was well-done. There are a few disparities, such as the monastery. Many people in the United States do not know what a monastery's true function is (including me), but Legend of Legaia explained this quite well. Also, Noa's "pimp" scene was well one, and one of the funniest parts of the game. For the most part, Americans will not get confused and not know what the game is talking about.


A pretty large tree
Genesis Tree, home of the Ra-Seru  

   Oh, my goodness, I would never play through this game again. I was thoroughly frustrated through the entire game, being either at too low a level or not having enough items in the inventory, even though I was leveling up constantly. I lost every single boss battle at least once. I feel that I was lucky to get through the game. The game is too hard to enjoy a second time.

The graphics in Legend of Legaia are something of a refined FF7 polygon/background system with some FMV included. The polygons are well-done. The arms are not as thin as a toothpick and the hands are not large blocks. The people have faces, though their expressions do not change. The textures on the characters can be a bit blurry, but that's just a minor annoyance. The backgrounds and FMVs are just plain eye candy. The only place the graphics are not too great are in battles. The actions themselves and the characters are fine, but there is an odd mist around the "edge" of the battlefield and the backgrounds sometimes do not seem to fit in, per se. However, I do enjoy the graphics.

This game is quite difficult and will result in a controller tossed to the floor on many occasions. I found it hard enough that I had to play most boss battles several times. I only rated it Hard because many RPGamers find the game alot easier than I found it to be. Maybe the game just didn't like me. ;) It took me about 40 hours to complete, sans retries. Including retries, I'd estimate upwards of 60.

For the most part, Legend of Legaia was an excellent game by Sony and Contrail, but not capable of the title of "Runner-up RPG of 1999". It had many excellent properties, like graphics and music, but the difficulty of the game is what made me not have an enjoyable gaming experience. If you like to be challenged, this is a definite buy for you. If not, then please stay away.







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