This time of year is always daunting for gamers with so many highly anticipated AAA titles flooding the market week in, week out. Many would advise that this time of year is absolutely terrible in finding a game that soaks up so much of your time with so many great titles vying for attention. This is where NIS’s Legasista steps into the picture, and I walked into my review with some uncertainty. Thankfully, it’s a time sink that’s well worth a look.
Systems: PSN (Reviewed)
Developers: Nippon Ichi Software
Publishers: NIS America Inc.
Release Date: August 21, 2012
MSRP: $29.99 USD
Legasista follows the story of our protagonist, Alto, a young boy on a mission to break the curse that has left his sister in a crystallized state. This leads him to enter a forbidden tower in search of an ancient weapon that could potentially break this curse in a last ditch effort. The only trouble is that this weapon turns out to be a young female robot named Melize, who, just before taking Alto’s life in exchange for bringing back his sister, has a malfunction and develops amnesia. Alto is then tasked to explore the numerous dungeons within the tower in search of a way to bring back Melize’s memory so she can break the curse upon his sister.
The story plays out in a side-by-side dialogue exchange that, while slow at times, can be quite charming and touching with some genuinely funny interactions between characters. However, I did find it somewhat difficult to connect with the characters, but this may have been due to the lack of English dubs and flat cutscene format. If you’re not big on reading, I can’t say I would recommend this title. But for those who enjoy games in another language that suits the artistic style and don’t mind reading, a quality game is to be had. Those craving a JRPG that’s also an old-school dungeon crawler with plenty of customization and depth are in for a treat.
The combat has you take control of a party of up to three members with direct control over one member at a time. It’s simple, but it gets the job done. Clearing a dungeon, however simple in design, is a rewarding experience; and players return to the game’s hub, known as The Railyard, when they’re done. Any items picked up during the dungeon can’t be equipped at first as they’re damaged, but upon returning to the game’s hub, all items are repaired. Interestingly, Legasista has quite a survival edge to it: once your HP reaches zero, your equipment starts to take damage. Once all your meters are completely empty for every equipped item and health bar, you’ll die and return to The Railyard. All items collected throughout the level are lost, but no harm is caused to your currently equipped items.
The meat of the game can be found in the preparation and customization found before each dungeon. The inventory management can be overwhelming for newcomers, but thankfully, there’s a tutorial attempts to explain all the intricacies of the system. Don’t be surprised if not everything sinks in, though. For example, each item can effect certain attributes, but some items can have secondary effects that alter the over all stats of the item itself. Plus, you can swap these secondary effects between items.
There’s a lot of depth here, but it can certainly be intimidating. For those who don’t want to look at a page of statistics for hours deciding on their gear, an auto-equip option is available.
The main campaign takes around fifteen hours to complete, and once done, there’s plenty of bonus content to keep players busy. Randomly generated dungeons, known as Rangeouns, can be explored for extra XP and rare items that get more difficult and more rewarding as you progress forward. Add that to the ability to create your own character to join you on your journey, and it’s easy to see how this game can become a huge time sink very quickly.
More often than not, though, I found that I couldn’t play the game for more than an hour in one sitting due to the repetitive nature of the game; really, this is a staple dungeon crawler game as a whole. This brings me to my biggest qualm with the title: it would’ve been a perfect fit for the PS Vita, and I think NIS America has really missed an opportunity with Legasista because the addictive, pick-up-and-play nature of the title would’ve translated beautifully to the Sony handheld. It also would’ve really helped with the dry spell of quality titles for the Vita.
Legasista doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel. But with an addictive, pick-up-and-go play style which can last for hours upon hours, a main story clocks in at approximately fifteen hours, and plenty of bonus content to boot that can keep gamers busy long after completion, you most definitely get your money’s worth. The art style and charming story that’s delivered with solid mechanics and a deep inventory system are the cherry on top of what has turned out to be quite an impressive title from NIS America.
* Charming story
* Addictive gameplay
* Beautiful artstyle
* Plenty of bonus content
* Solid mechanics
* Story can become quite slow
* Convoluted inventory system for gamers new to the genre
* Should have a PS Vita port
FINAL SCORE: B