Review: Legasista (PSN)
JRPG’s (Japanese Role Playing Game) are normally not my cup of tea. As the sites main sports/wrestling dood, putting up anything outside of those two categories would feel odd for me. However, I am a very open gamer and I have my share of different genres that I can really get into, if they are unique and fun. Thanks to NIS America though, Disgaea 4 on the PlayStation Vita is one of the most played games on my handheld. So in a way, they have struck my interest for JRPG’s. This all ultimately led to the download of Legasista.
This PSN only download is a dungeon-crawling, heavy customizing, time wasting (in a good way) JRPG developed by the folks at System Prisma.
Legasistas’ story revolves around a young man named Alto, whose sole purpose in life is to restore his sister back to human form after a curse turned her into a crystal. Why a crystal? I don’t know; but what I do know is that Alto is going through the dungeons of a deep ruin called the Ivy Tower looking for an ancient weapon to break his sisters’ curse and bring her back to human form. While things seemed to shape into a quick and simple adventure for Alto, the ancient weapon he is looking for ends up being something completely different then he originally thought.
As you play through the game, you will meet a cast of characters, and bean sprouts, that are both strange, cute, funny, and pretty busty (because it wouldn’t be a JRPG without a chick with huge knockers). There is a ton of humor in Legasista and plenty of twists and turns, but ultimately it boils down to how siblings are willing to do anything to help each other out. Though the story will not entertain everyone, it is a good thought out story that a handful of players will enjoy.
Strategic combat, exploration, looting, and the ability to locate and avoid (or use) traps is most of what you will be doing in Legasista. The objective is to go from the start of each dungeon to the end while clearing out everything you see. Most of these levels are pretty small, but even if you go through part of a stage, it doesn’t exactly mean you finished it. There will be moments where you feel like you passed the dungeon only for you to go to a second floor, then a third, then a fourth, and etc.
Combat is fairly simple as players will be able to swing or shoot weapons, such as swords or bows and arrows, into their enemy trying to reduce their HP (Health Points) to 0. You’ll also be given magic spells and enhancements to make your weapons more powerful when facing off against enemies who are a higher level then you. The neatest part of the gameplay, though, is the ability to switch characters at any given time with the click of the right stick. If you ever get stuck or have someone on your team who has a specific ability to help you out in a situation, you’re able to switch very quickly to that teammate and get past that portion of the dungeon.
This will normally be useful when running into the many, many traps you will encounter. Whether the trap shoots arrows from an opposing wall, explodes, poison, or spikes you up the bum, each character has a different trait to help you avoid the worse from these traps. You can even manipulate the traps to be used against your enemies. However, the best way to leave a dungeon is alive, so be sure to look out for any healing sprouts. They are normally in well placed spots spread around in the dungeon so try to use them whenever you can.
Each of your characters also has a specific job title to them. These titles can be changed when you reach level 20 in case you have a problem with those titles skills. As they level up, they start to gain job points, which can later improve things like an extra 1+ health or increased damage. If you don’t like the character or their class, you can just create one from scratch to add your own personal flavor to the game. While not extremely deep, it’s just nice to have that option.
The game will ultimately feel like a button masher, though, as each enemy you face has to be struck as fast as possible before they start attacking you. The AI from these enemies can be hit or miss at times. One moment they recognize you and want to eat you, the next you sneak up behind them and they don’t understand that they are being slashed in the back with a sword. As the enemies increase in numbers, however, this becomes more difficult. It’s you against the many and that means reaction time is shortened, so dashing away and knowing when to strike does play a bit of a strategy when going through each dungeon.
While the story and combat will certainly drain a handful of hours from your daily life, Legasistas’ biggest feature is the amount of customization given to the player. Everything from the class of the character and even the fashion can all be customized to your liking. There are also energy frames, located on the top of the screen alongside your weapons and health, which will grow as you level up at certain points. These frames will affect how many health bars you have and the amount of items you can equip. As they level up, they will have more health bars to use that will keep them alive longer, but players will also have durability gauges that go with each weapon they have equipped. The more you use a weapon, the less durability it will have and the closer it will be to breaking. These equipment pieces can be fixed when you go back to town (which is after you finish each dungeon).
Characters are sharp and small (they look like chibi’s), they certainly pop more than the dungeon, and enemies are varied at times. You will start to see some of the same enemies except they have different abilities which, in turn, give them a different color. It’s not really a bad thing but not always a good thing either. Aside from some of the different environments you’ll see, what comes off as the most appealing feature of the presentation is the soundtrack. It’s just really enjoyable. The game is done with Japanese voices and English subtitles so if you’re not one to sit through and read a ton of dialog, can just hit the skip button. I wouldn’t do it though because then you’re just missing out on the randomness that comes out of Legasista story.
Legasista tries it’s best to stand out from the rest with its deep customization elements and the way characters and equipment are used. While some may not enjoy the deepness this game can provide, and there is certainly a lot to learn via the games tutorials, it ultimetly succeeds. It’s certainly a game that will take a lot of hours away from your day. For anyone that owns a PS3 and loves to play JRPG’s, I would highly recommend this game.