PS2 REVIEW: TALES OF LEGENDIA

Legendia isn't exactly breaking new ground here, but sometimes building a better mousetrap is all that's required. by Colin Thames

February 13, 2006 - Tales of Legendia is a solid RPG effort. The real-time battle system is easy to learn and fun to use. It gives you more overall control than most RPGs. The characters are loaded with personality and the storyline is interesting. The game has a lot of heart but the gameplay is built on a well-worn path.

Senel and his younger sister, Shirley, are drifting in a boat in an attempt to escape from unknown enemies. On the high seas they encounter a gigantic ship that is the size of a small continent. This ship, called the Legacy, is home to an ancient civilization that believes Shirley possesses special powers to pilot the ship and lead them to their destiny. Within a very short time she is captured which forces Senel to embark on a quest to rescue her. He has to wade through various mysterious powers, names and races to uncover clues to her disappearance.

Character interaction plays a large role in Legendia. A vast array of characters will engage you in conversation, revealing aspects of themselves in the process. They characters shout and call in battle and even give names to special attacks. The fact that the characters talk whenever they apparently feel like it makes the game feel organic, like you're in a living and breathing community as opposed to the RPG tradition of approaching characters to make them talk in an interrogative style. They give up the information willingly and sometimes even force it on you. Some of it is lengthy and unnecessary but you won't realize that until the conversation is over. There are lots of things in the game that need clarification so you'll want to listen to what everyone has to say in case they drop a badly needed clue.

As formulaic as the storyline is, the real-time battle system is what separates the gameplay from the average, generic RPG. Upon examination the combat system seems to be nothing more than a button masher presented in a 2D, side-scrolling format. Thankfully it's a little more complex than that but not much. There are few buttons to press which makes it an easy system to learn. Combos are one of the most important elements to successful combat. Target the enemy, attack quickly and methodically to unleash combos. These combos will impede the enemy's ability to release special attacks or cast spells. Combos are particularly effective on bosses as opposed to one or two huge attacks. As you chain combos you will fill the Climax meter which lets you stop time and deliver some real hard-ass blows to the enemy. You can use virtually everything in your arsenal but you only have a limited time to dish it out.

Eres is a form of magical power that is used in your attacks. It's used for casting spells as well as melee attacks. You will acquire more Eres as you progress, which will increase in power, allowing you to perform more devastating attacks. These Eres skills become part of your combo system and the damage will be increased exponentially the more you can work them into combos.

During combat you will be in control of one character. The AI handles the other three party members and does so to good effect. You don't have to babysit them. You can even assign your lead character to be controlled by the AI but what fun would that be?

To add more action and length to the game the dungeons are longer than your typical RPG dungeons. The paths will occasionally cross back into the original path forcing you to repeat sections. Monster encounters are frequent and random, so you better like using the real-time battle system. Once inside the dungeon you have little choice but to face these creatures head-on. They can be a good source of tech points if you're good and there is a lot of treasure available in these larger-than-usual dungeons. Thankfully your party members will help flank some of these monsters and help lay some combos on them.

This is one big boat. It takes a long time to navigate. The map is huge and consequently you move through it very slowly. To our benefit there are some vortexes where we can teleport back to the main city to get something without having to backtrack. My compliments to the developers for adding these portals and not let the backtracking artificially inflate the gameplay time. As it is, the game will take you 30-40 hours to complete and there is more content to unlock once you've completed the game the first time through.

Completing the game you will open up new quests for the other characters in your party to complete. These quests will resolve different issues and situations that were hinted at in the main game. There are some really tough enemies to combat, some of the toughest in the entire game, but then again, you should be sufficiently leveled-up by then. Another interesting aspect in the unlockable version is the ability to manufacture new weapons and hybrids. This new content could easily increase the replay value by 15 hours.

With crisp and colorful graphics, Legendia is easy on the eyes. The character models, both heroes and monsters are nicely detailed and well animated. The voiceacting, and there is a lot of it, is very well done and supported by some excellent and fitting symphonic music. The production values are great and the gameplay mechanics are sound.

Legendia isn't a unique game. It takes the same old RPG elements and lengthens them or changes them in such a way as to make them a little different. It's just a re-invention of the wheel but that may be enough to keep some fans happy, especially those that like combat and treasure hunting.

Features:

  • Battle Huge Enemies like Never Before. The depth you'd expect from an epic RPG, combined with real-time battles that feel more like a fighting game.
  • X-LiMBS Battle System. Battle huge monsters with fighting-game-like controls with the X-LiMBS (Crossover Linear Motion Battle System) battle system.
  • Fantastic 3D graphics. A stunning, fully 3D setting that has a unique look perfectly suited to the game.
  • Uniquely Designed Characters. A unique cast of characters designed by renowned artist Kazuto Nakazawa, acclaimed for his amazing animation sequences in Kill Bill: Vol 1.

By Colin Thames
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
Tales Of Legendia (PS2)
4.4
Graphics
Considering how large the map is, this is a good looking game with very little visual repetition. All of the areas have a unique look to them.
4.2

Control
There's nothing like a real-time control system. It's easy to use and the more you play the more powerful you become without having to learn a ton of new moves.

4.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great voiceacting and top notch orchestration.
4.0
Play Value
It could take the average gamer months to complete all of the quests in this game. New quests can be unlocked by completing the game once.
4.1
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PS2
Dev: Namco
Pub: Namco
Release: Feb 2006
Players: 1
Review by Colin

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best