Introduction: RPGs? Good. Fighting games? Fantastic! RPGs with Fighting game mechanics? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!
Gameplay: Legend of Legaia follows the tale of three young martial artists; Vahn, a boy who grew up in a village of hunters, Noa, a spunky young girl who was raised by wolves, and Gala a stoic and battle hardened monk. Together the three must drive away a mystic mist that has engulfed the world, driving its inhabitants insane.
Combat is handled with classic RPG style; the player and his/her enemies will take turns dishing out a beating on one another until either the monsters are vanquished or the players party has fallen. The standard stuff is there; an array of weapons ranging from swords, cat claws, clubs, daggers, axes, and the like to arm yourself with as well as many different kinds of armor and accessories to boost your defenses. But where this game makes itself really stand out is the players command their characters. At the start of each turn, players will have four options to choose from: fight with weapons, fight with magic, use items, or charge their spirit energy. Using items is extremely basic, so I wont really cover that, however let’s take a look at the other choices. Choosing to charge your spirit energy will cause the character to essentially ‘wait’ a turn in combat, allowing them to regain more AP than normal to use on combo attacks, as well as enter a defensive stance, reducing the damage they take from hits. Magic works like a mix of Final Fantasy and Pokemon. Spells are obtained by beating elemental based monsters and capturing them. They can then be summoned in combat, to deliver devastating attacks or heal the group. The more you use a spell, the stronger it gets as it levels up, which will also in-turn give bonuses to your characters. And finally, the combo attack system. As opposed to just simply hitting ‘attack’ and watching as your character whacks the enemy with their weapon, Legend of Legaia offers a combo system, much akin to a fighting game. Players will link together punches, kicks, and head butts which on their own do decent damage, but when combined in certain ways, can create devastating special attacks.
Presentation: The game has ages pretty poorly, featuring graphics on par with Final Fantasy 7, which let’s be honest, isn’t exactly the prettiest looking in the series. The cut-scenes, though few and far between, are stil rather breath taking to look at, at the least. However, one area this game still shines in is its amazing sound track. It’s hard to put into words just how well done the composing is, so I’ll just leave this link here, to let you see for yourself. Needless to say, this is another game that has a sound track worth purchasing.
Value: If you’re an RPG player, there is a lot for you to do in this game. Featuring four different endings, three hidden bosses, tons of secret spells and items to obtain, and a plot that spans across forty hours of game play, there is more than enough to enjoy for your buck. This is also a great stepping on point for non-rpg players, as the game isn’t overly grind heavy, and the unique combat system wont have gamers bogged down in the usual repetition of other RPGs.
Final Thoughts: Legend of Legaia was a much looked over gem back on the PS1, and still to this day is one of the best RPG experiences that can be had. It dared to do something different, and although the plot seems rather silly at first, it turns into a rather tragic and serious epic. The characters are fun and lovable, with the exception of Vahn who fills in the ‘silent protagonist’ role, but this just gives the player some personal choice in how he acts. Honestly, you owe it to yourself to track down a copy of this game and give it a play. I give Legend of Legaia an A-.
+Fantastic combat system
+Amazing musical arrangement
-Hasn’t aged well
A - Top notch and stellar. This game accomplished everything that it set out to do and then some.
B - Great! A game worthy of a B means it is a requirement for any gamer to get. Only slight set backs seem to hit a game like this.
C - Games that get a C rating are good. They may not be great. They may not be fantastic. They are fun, interesting, and worthy of a play-through.
D - Average. Sometimes games play it too safe, sometimes they don't step out of their bubble, and sometimes they have too many problems. But they are playable and you may still find fun. Those games deserve a D.
F - Don't play this. The game failed in what it was trying to do. It's not fun and it's not compelling. The game may or may not be playable, regardless, if it has an F, it's probably safe to say you shouldn't play it.