FuRyu’s spiritual successor to the SaGa series brings a world of wonder to explore with The Legend of Legacy
Square Enix’s SaGa series may have been overshadowed by their more recognizable properties like Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and other big names that defined the studio’s RPG heyday, but these often overlooked titles still maintain a dedicated following among fans. While other RPGs of the era nudged players along a rather linear path in their quests to save the world, series creator Akitoshi Kawazu’s epics, that first saw light on the Game Boy, and expanded with bigger and bolder iterations on the SNES, PlayStation and PlayStation 2, were known for their wide-open nature that essentially let players carve their own path through worlds full of action, mystery and wonder.
Now, developer FuRyu aims to revive the classic series with The Legend of Legacy; a spiritual successor that brings a return to form for the role playing genre. The studio has assembled a veritable super team of industry veterans for this 3DS epic, including former SaGa team members including designer Kyoji Koizumi and illustrator Tomomi Kobayashi to bring the series to life. Combined with a story by Chrono Trigger writer Masato Kato and you’ve got a potent brew of talent sure to excite any longtime fans of the genre.
From the outset of The Legend of Legacy, players choose their main protagonist from a selection of seven heroes, each with various profession and their own story that drives the action forward. These include Garnet, a noble Knight of the Holy Order, Bianca, a mysterious amnesiac looking to find her true identity, and the surefire fan favorite, Frog Prince Filmia. After choosing your main character, two other members of the cast will join your hero or heroine as permanent members of the party. From here, players are trust into the action as they explore the vast and mysterious island of Avalon. This is a cool element that encourages replayablity as each of these characters offer their own unique perspective on the game’s main story.
The city hub of Initium, Avalon’s sole refuge for adventurers, serves as the staging ground in The Legend of Legacy. From here, players can charter ships to deliver new wares to assist you on your journey, visit the bar for information, or rest up in the inn. You can even recruit new members to join your ranks, allowing you to make use of abilities that may not be readily available to your 3 core cast members.
There’s plenty to keep you busy as you explore the wilds of Avalon. The ancient and uncharted island is teeming with hidden treasures to collect and hidden paths to discover. You’ll want to be as thorough as possible as well, as fully uncovering the map for each area is a valuable source of income. Completed maps can be sold to Initium’s shop keeper, who will reward players handsomely; a must considering average foes drop precious little in the way of gold.
As with any good RPG, The Legend of Legacy offers a wealth of monsters to pummel along the way. When clashing swords with Avalon’s hostile wildlife, battles are performed in standard turn-based fare. However, there are a few mechanics that spice things up. For one, healing items are infinite. However, each time your characters are defeated in battle their maximum HP is reduced until you return to Initium’s inn. This encourages careful play, as you’ll want a fully-prepared party when dealing with the game’s challenging dungeons. Additionally, players find various monolithic structures throughout the world which garner valuable stones that grant your party powerful elemental abilities. Each area of the map is attuned to a specific elemental property, and enemies and players both benefit from the contracts they make with elemental spirits, such as boosted damage, magical abilities, and other buffs that can change the flow of battle. Leveling is also given its own unique twist, as characters don’t gain a numbered level as they gain experience, but rather level their individual stats and abilities as you make use of them on the field. That said, you’ll have to work to perfect your abilities, honing your techniques to the best of their ability through due diligence – and a healthy dose of grinding, of course.
The Legend of Legacy features some pretty stellar presentation for a 3DS game. Tomomi Kobayashi’s character designs are top-notch and full of character, and the world of Avalon has a gorgeous and vibrant pop-up book aesthetic that causes objects in the environment to spring up and meld into the surface of the world as you explore the game’s various locales. Simply put, the game is gorgeous, and stands beside Bravely Default as one of the most appealing looking RPGs on Nintendo’s dual-screened handheld. The game also makes impressive use of the system’s 3D capabilities, which has become a rarity these days. To top it off, renowned video game composer Masashi Hamauzu (of SaGa and Final Fantasy XIII fame) lends his talents to The Legend of Legacy, crafting sweeping melodies that add to the game’s sense of scale and wonder, and are sure to become lodged in your head for days.
Simply put, the time we’ve spent so far with The Legend of Legacy has been a very positive experience thus far. The game’s stunning presentation and wide-open exploration provides a palpable sense of wonder, and the game’s simple yet engaging combat system delivers a worthwhile challenge to even the most seasoned adventurers. The Legend of Legacy releases exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS on October 13. Stay tuned for our full review on Friday, October 9th for our final verdict on this beautiful and nostalgic adventure from Atlus and FuRyu.
Available on: 3DS ; Publisher: Atlus ; Developer: FuRyu ; Players: 1; Release date: October 13, 2015 ; ESRB: E10 for Everyone 10 + up ; MSRP: $39.99
Full disclosure: This preview is based on a review code provided by The Legend of Legacy’s publisher, Atlus.