Review: Legend of Legacy [3DS]

Release Date
February 5th 2016 (EU), October 13th 2015 (US)
Nintendo 3DS
Publisher / Developer
NIS America (EU), Atlus (US) / Furyu, Grezzo

The Legend of Legacy, true to form for a title released by Atlus in the US, finally saw its UK release last Friday, months after the US, courtesy of NIS America. It was released in Japan last January, being developed by Furyu alongside Grezzo. Grezzo have worked on such notable titles as The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, and Tri Force Heroes, for 3DS since the release of The Legend of Legacy in Japan. This game is something of a spiritual sequel to the SaGa series, being made by some of the same staff. Though, being in the UK, one is unlikely to know of that series, as only two titles were released over here; SaGa Frontier 2 and Unlimited Saga were released in 2000 and 2003, respectively. Despite the linear progression prevalent in the SaGa series, The Legend of Legacy opts for a more open progression through the game; this is to the game’s downfall, as it provides little incentive to keep coming back to the game.

The Legend of Legacy takes place on the island of Avalon, a holy land recently awoken from slumber. At the start of the game, you can choose from seven playable characters. You can recruit the remaining characters during gameplay, but your chosen protagonist is always a member of your three-person active party. For the most part, the game consists of exploring areas in order to sell maps outlining the land. Strive for 100% completion, as you only get one shot to The higher percentage completion, the larger the monetary reward. As you explore an area, the map on the lower screen populates, and trees pop up on the top screen as you reach them. While exploring, you’ll run into many a monster that needs defeating. Battles are conducted by selecting a formation for your active party and then engaging in a turn-based fight. These formations can be of great help, especially the one that allows two party members to focus on attack whilst one takes hits for the team. The highlight of the game is easily the system involving elemental shards. These give you advantages in battle, but require equipping an appropriate singing shard to a character. Beware though, as the enemies can do so as well, requiring you to renew your contract to take advantage of the elements again.

Battles can be difficult, whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the player. It should be noted, though, that you’ll want to make a habit of quick-saving as often as possible – while most enemies can be defeated, albeit after an intensive fight, the occasional mini-boss appearing out of nowhere can quickly lead to a game over and loss of major progress, especially seeing as proper save points are few and far between.

Sadly, The Legend of Legacy is massively let down by its implementation of the story. The beginning of the game features a decent amount of exposition and story detail, but this quickly dissipates, thus leaving you just exploring dungeons and defeating enemies in order to sell maps, all for a tiny scrap of story every so often. With the story feeling like an afterthought, rather than a solid basis for the game, it’s difficult to ever really care about progressing. One can happily go about exploring, selling maps, and unlocking more dungeons, but there’s little point to it when you’re only doing it hoping for the incredibly sparse nuggets of story revelation.

If you really don’t care for story development, and you’re just after some fun battles and exploration, The Legend of Legacy may be for you. However, the gorgeous graphics, with chibi-style characters and pop-up book trees, combined with an enjoyable yet forgettable soundtrack, were not enough to outweigh the lack of purpose for me.

The Legend of Legacy, while relatively enjoyable to play, is severely lacking on the story front. At times, it's easy to forget that there is one at all as it is made to seem so irrelevant. Without the story driving you to play the game, it can be difficult to get invested, despite charming graphics, and fun gameplay.