The fog is currently swirling around the small boat that Senel and Shirley have been calling home recently. They have been adrift for days, have run out of food, and are at the end of their strength. Just as all hope appears to be lost, an island emerges through the fog at high speed and catches their little boat in giant waves.
When the pair wakes up, they are on the shore of the island, which is actually a very large boat named Legacy. This boat is a relic of an ancient civilization, as well as home to a group of villains in search of Shirley, or Merines, as they call her. Merines, as it turns out, is a legendary being capable of controlling this giant ship using only her mind. The villains located here are in search of this being for their own sinister plans. It's up to Senel and friends to uncover the secrets of this ship and to save Shirley.
Players take control of quite a few different characters throughout their journies. Senel Coolidge is a young martial artist and master of iron eres. Shirley Fennes is Senel's younger sister that always is trying to protect him. Will Raynard is the first person Senel and Shirley meet on the Legacy. Chloe Valens is a member of a once noble family of knights and strives to uphold the name. Norma Beatty is a young treasure hunter that Senel meets on his journey. Moses is a leader of a group of bandits on the Legacy that continue to make trouble. Jay is a young boy who tends to disappear and reappear without notice. Grune has lost her memory, though she is probably the most fearless member of this motley crew.
The battle system of Tales of Legendia, unlike Tales of Symphonia, is more similar to older games in the series. Players control characters on a 2D battle screen and is in real-time, allowing for button combinations to create different combos and chain attacks. Players may also assign eres moves to characters that act as a sort of special attack.
Players may switch between each of the eight playable characters to control whomever they would like. Chloe is the sword user in the group and would be more akin to past main characters in other Tales games. Jay uses breakdance-like ninja arts while Will and Norma utilize magic attacks that would be useful for strategic players. Moses is good at long distances using his spears and Senel is, as mentioned before, an iron eres master and a martial artist.
Senel also has an added ability of being able to pick up enemies and throw them. Players may choose to pick up stunned enemies and slam them into the ground. As he levels up, Senel will eventually be able to pick up larger enemies to throw. When an enemy is on the ground, players may not damage them, creating what could potentially be awkward pauses in battles.
Similar to the Unison bar from Symphonia, the developers have added a Climax bar into the battle system. The bar fills each time the player attacks or is attacked and once the bar is full, a tap of the L1 button activates Climax mode. During this, enemies are stopped in their tracks and players can attack unabated. Tapping L1 again will trigger a finishing move that will cause extra damage.
"They have been adrift for days, have run out of food, and are at the end of their strength."
The world of Legendia might seem like it'd be small considering it's actually just a large ship, however the area is about the same size as in past Tales games. There are quite a few different cities for players to visit and the story to save Shirley and discover the secrets of this ship will take them from one side to the next. Players will soon find themselves trying to find out who created this ship that resembles an island and what its hidden powers entail.
The story actually has two parts that the player must traverse to receive a better understanding of the events that take place. After clearing the main scenario, players may then travel through player quests that delve into each of their backgrounds to give a better understanding of them. Players should be able to complete the entire game in about 75 hours.
There are two types of eres available for players to use in the game. Iron eres is used by fighters such as Senel and Chloe and utilizes energy inside of the body. Crystal eres is used by characters such as Will and Norma and utitlizes energy outside of the body. The energy particles that are used by eres are called Nerifes, and are found all around the world. There are also high-level skills known as special eres that players will discover in the second half of the game.
Defeated enemies in Legendia sometimes drop eres stones, which make up the basis of magic in the game. It's not just enough to know the spell that the character may use, but players must also have enough eres stones to use them. Stocking up on these stones during journeys is something that would probably be recommended.
Side quests in this game take a slightly different form than in most roleplaying games. These quests may not be completed until after the main scenario has been completed. For example, using the sorceror's scanner to hunt rare monsters that might look familiar to the player if they're able to locate them. There are also quizzes and arena battles to take place in for players that might be interested in such tasks.
The soundtrack for Tales of Legendia was created by Go Shiina and includes orchestration by The New Japan Philharmonic. Also, players will notice some vocal tracks sung in Relares, a language that is found in the world of Legendia and was created solely for it.
Namco has scheduled the game for a February 7 release in North America, only five months after the title shipped in Japan. This title will be available at the suggested retail of $49.99 and has been rated "T" for Teen by the ESRB. Gamers looking to pre-order this title at GameStop or EB Games will receive an artbook as an incentive.