Legend of Legaia - Reader Retroview  

One word describes Legaia: Epic
by Sim-Seru_Juggernaut

Click here for game information
Hard/Extremely Hard
40-60 Hours
Click here for scoring definitions 

   Legend of Legaia is a game that I have been playing ever since the year 2000 when I randomly picked it up and decided to give this game a try. I must say that I do not know what my gaming life would be like had I not stumbled upon this true masterpiece of an RPG. I have played numerous RPGs, from the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy series to the much less impressive Legend of Dragoon. For some reason, none of these games has captivated me nearly as much as the masterpiece that is Legaia. An epic tale of death and tragedy, mixed with awesome in-battle graphics, excellently composed music, and the most innovative battle system ever, Legend of Legaia is by far my most cherished videogame to this day, and one that should be remembered forever.

   The Battle system for LoL is unlike any other RPG, and this is a good think for those who want some innovation. Most RPGs have the ridiculous or rather overdone battle scheme of select "attack" and watch the character attack and jump back into place. This isn't the case here. Instead, the TAS(Tactical Arts System) is brought to the table. Rather than "attack" and "defend" options, we have High, Low, Left (arms), Right (Ra-Seru) for the different body parts. By inputting different combos you can combine "arts" to create different attacks. For example, high,low,left for a certain character results in the art "Slash Kick" etc. You can either learn arts by randomly putting in combos or learn them from books throughout your quest. The higher your characters level up, the more art blocks you can put in (for a max. of nine). The different arts are "normal arts", "hyper arts" (special attacks learned from books), "super arts" (a specific chaining of 3 regular arts), and "miracle arts" ( a blend of a number of regular arts and one hyper art). This fighting system is incredibly exciting due to the amount of detail put into it. If for instance you decide to put 'high' against a short enemy, your attack will miss, as if you were to select 'low' for a floating enemy, which would miss it also. In battle, the characters stay in place after they run up and attack the enemy, without jumping back to the same position, which makes battle much more realistic. Yet realistic doesn't fit well because of the fact that practically all the art moves look like they came out of the matrix or something.

   In addition to attacking there are also magic spells that can be summoned by your characters after they have a Ra-Seru equipped. Twenty-nine spells can be summoned in the game, and seven of them are acquired from Talismans. To summon a monster you must fight and absorb a monster that has an elemental icon next to it. After absorption the monster is ready to be summoned for an awesome looking special attack. Speaking of elements, there are different elements in Legaia. The elements are Fire, Wind, Lightning, Rock, Water, Light and Dark. Each element corresponds with the other. Fire is weak against water, wind is weak against lightning, etc. So certain characters with an element will to either half or twice as much damage against an enemy with the opposite element. Yet none of these excellent fighting innovations would mean anything if there weren't any cool bosses in the game. Well thankfully, Legaia has without a doubt the hardest and most exciting boss fights to take place in an RPG. Each enemy has unique attacks and provide much challenge to your game. The great thing is that it feels as though you are beating the crud out of the enemy, or getting the snot kicked out of you when in a regular fight, or especially a boss fight for that matter. As the battle drags on the bosses get up slower and if you have a dual shock controller the vibrations make it seem as though the characters are actually feeling the impact of the attack. Character motions are very fluid and have a full range of motion. The only glitches are very minor clipping, but this isn't noticeable due to the excellent frame rate for motions of characters and enemies in battle. In every sense, battles are exciting and refreshing.

I wonder if the bath can fit all four... I wonder if the bath can fit all four...

   Mini-games are by far the most fun in LoL than in other RPGs. There's an arcade game called "Baka Fighter", a fighting arena, slot machines, and fishing...yes fishing!!! Get your rod and travel to one of two lakes and earn points for prizes!

   Character interaction definitely very interesting in Legaia. Your main characters get involved in many wacky antics with ninja's and other random characters, and it's always interesting to see the result. Sometimes your character has a list of options to choose a response and the other character will interact off of what you chose. However it's not just silly, most of Legaia revolves around death and disappointment, so most of what the characters and random towns people talk about is pretty sad. Legaia is supposed to be a world that is on the brink of destruction, with humanity about to be wiped out, so there aren't as many people to interact with in this game than in other RPGs, yet it's not noticeable as you will be very busy on most of your quests and characters say a number of things to you.

   The music in Legend of Legaia is excellent, and I give my heart out to the composer of the soundtrack, which is Michiru Oshima, composer in some of the old Godzilla movies if I remember correctly. Every song is unique and throughout the game you will hear every song many times, which is never a bad thing. The 2 world map music pieces are incredible, and I have stopped my movement on the map to just listen to the entire song. Forests have beautiful themes with whistles and flutes, and percussion instruments are used in most songs. Many songs are dark and eerie and some songs have excellent Japanese techno beats or just awesome music altogether. The boss music is the most exciting I have heard, and a few bosses have their own unique boss music which is just superb, honestly the soundtrack in the game is spectacular and without flaw. Those who say that no songs stand out are crazy. The thing is, many songs have many instruments used with unpredictable patterns, which is why some people find it more difficult to remember than the one-instrument songs of many other RPGs. I personally find myself humming the tunes of Legaia when I'm at work or just out for a walk. Many props go to the composer. The voice acting is in Japanese and sounds incredibly awesome. Bosses have either sound effects or actual voices and sound awesome as well, making your opponents seem even more sinister. Sound effects are great!

   Legend of Legaia is probably the most unique videogame ever. The battle system is completely original and innovative, and the story is something that has never been done before. Character design is spectacular and simple as well. The Legaia world has very unique environments, from incredibly large and grassy mountains, to volcanoes, to underground cities, to castles, to villages, to kingdoms. The bosses are very unique as well. One minute you are fighting a winged lion, and the next minute you are fighting a giant crab or an evil plant monster. I cannot find anything that Legaia rips off, quite the opposite in fact. I have seen a few games that take things out of Legaia's story or enemy designs. Put simply, Legaia is as original as you can get in an RPG, besides the fact that it's a "save the world" quest, because every RPG is.

   The story seems simple in the first few hours of playing, but it picks up later and you are given a much more detailed and interesting story than expected. This story is truly epic. The story goes like this...God created the heavens, the earth, and the seas. After creating all things in the universe, god created humans to rule over the world. Yet, while possessing the wisdom of god, humans were physically weaker than the wild beasts, and impulsive in spirit. Many times did the humans come close to dying out forever. Concerned about the humans' future, god gave them a mighty force with which to aid them. It was the Seru. Since the dawn of human memory, known as history, humans lived together with creatures known as Seru. The Seru lived together with humans, always obeying them, and making the humans many times stronger than before. When not worn by a human, a Seru looks much like a stone figure. However... Upon touching a human, a Seru changes form and gives that human secret abilities. With a Seru, a human can lift objects heavier than itself and even fly in the air at will. However, that era came to an end. Appearing from out of nowhere, the Mist covered the land, bringing to an end prosperous symbiosis between humans and Seru. After the thick Mist came, the Seru, who once obeyed humans, rebelled against them. The Seru began attacking humans at will. Seru that attached themselves to humans controlled their minds and turned them into evil beasts. As if forsaken by god, human civilization collapsed. It was the twilight of humanity. Those who escaped the Mist inhabited the desolate areas and protected each other. Now, their faint hope is their only source of inspiration.

Oh no! The G-Virus has spread to Legaia! Oh no! The G-Virus has spread to Legaia!

   That's just the surface of the story, your three main characters Vahn, Noa, and Gala search the land of Legaia to search for Genesis Trees that have the power to remove the cursed mist from the affected area and then search for Mist Generators that create the mist and then destroy them. I cannot give away any spoilers but it goes much deeper than this.

   The visuals are incredibly nice in and out of battle, for the most part. While character models are somewhat blocky, they at least show facial expression and their chests go up and down in a breathing motion, so graphics are detailed in that sense. The towns, dungeons, and forests look amazing with nice looking houses and trees and look beautiful. The in-battle graphics are absolutely STUNNING. Facial expressions are shown in perfect detail, bodies are proportioned correctly, and weapons and armor are shown in amazing detail. The backgrounds in battle are excellent as well, when in a random encounter the background will match the environment you are in. Especially in boss fights in forests or dungeons battles stand out, where the backgrounds are Genesis Trees or dungeons.

   Legaia is an incredibly challenging game, but not impossible. Mazes and the few puzzles that there are are relatively easy. But enemies and especially boss fights are TOUGH. Each boss has its own strategy and leveling up won't do you much good, because just straight attacking will always get you killed. Bosses are very unpredictable and most have attacks that will target all party members and annihilate them in an instant, especially the later bosses. This isn't for the casual gamer, as they will want to toss Legaia from the boss difficulty.

   Average time to complete this game is about 40-60 hours depending on how much time you spent hanging around towns or leveling up. However if you want to go for all the secrets and level up to max level (99) then you are looking at over 100 hours.

   Legend of Legaia promised an excellent battle system, nice graphics, and an epic tale of betrayal and self-destruction. It delivered on every aspect and then some. Never have I played a game that has gripped me as emotionally as Legaia. I fell in love with the characters and environment of Legaia and will never stop playing this. While there are many other RPGs out there that are on the newer consoles like PS3, XBOX 360, and PS2, I advise you to pick up this classic for the Sony Playstation, it will be the best decision in your gaming life.

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