Atlus have always been good to gamers. Now while they may not have had a hand in development, Atlus are publishing the Legend of Legacy for us in North America and to give us a bit of a treat they’ve recently released a demo for players to try out before its release. Containing the Prologue and the first two areas, this is a small taste of what to expect in this older school RPG designed by former Square and Level-5 employees!
One thing that I’ve got to say from the very beginning is that The Legend of Legacy may not be for everyone. I would even go as far to say that it’s a Hardcore Old Schooled RPG and that I absolutely loved my time with it. Available from the very beginning is the ability to choose one of the seven main characters as your protagonist. From this point, two other party members are instantly introduced as going solo would be insane and the rest join up easily enough not that long after.
Each character has their preferred fighting styles and main stats of Attack, Guard, and Support that should be taken into account when deciding which would suit you best. This decision can immediately affect your other two choices to bring into battle because there’s nothing easy about it. A Game Over can easily be right around the corner of even a simple encounter with normal monsters if you’re not careful. Teaching you the ropes from the beginning, strategies are going to need to be developed in for team member placements in order to survive both normal and special encounters with mid bosses and the bosses themselves.
Combat is as one would expect from an RPG with options to Attack and to Defend if a shield is present. What immediately goes out of this normal comfort zone however is the “how” to attack. From the very beginning each character has the ability to attack with their weapon or with their bare fist before learning special abilities that will require SP in order to use. Eventually the role of magic comes into play allowing for some rather interesting combinations of healing and damage to occur, but in the meantime, the how will affect more than simply the defeat of your enemies as “Experience Points” don’t quite exist and therefore “Leveling Up” doesn’t exist nor is it in the picture.
In order to become more powerful, encounters are going to need to be fought, and attacking your enemies is a must. The more that a character attacks an enemy, the more proficient that they become with their weapon which can lead to learning new skills and upgrading the damage output of the skills in question. Another good reason to attack the enemy, other than to not perish, is that your character’s general attack can also increase making all of their abilities that much more viable in the oncoming encounters as nothing ever gets easier.
As there is no leveling up, Hit Points (HP), and Special Points (SP) will randomly increase at the end of the battle. At this current point in time I have yet to see a mathematical reasoning as to how it actually increases other than randomly, so more encounters were better to take on than not in order to become better prepared for the next fight. This is where some people may lose interest as The Legend of Legacy requires the famous and dreadful words of “grinding”. For players that love a challenge as well as dungeon crawling to explore every square inch of a map, the idea of grinding is a miniscule detail against the exploration of a monster infested frightening new land that has yet to be colonized by the rest of the world.
Like the standard mode of say an Etrian Odyssey, Legend of Legacy uses the exploration of dangerous locations to tell the story of these characters and their exploits. There are NPCs that can be talked to in town as well as dialog driven cutscenes that happen, however the bulk of the experience is in the exploration and the uncovering of each map. Every area’s map has a percentage counter that details how much of the map has been uncovered as the party roams each location. Now a good reason to explore the map and all of its areas to completion is that the vendor in town will buy your map from you but he has a catch. He will only buy your map once so be careful as to when you sell it. A fully completed map comes with a decent amount of bonuses making it much more lucrative as you will need the money in order to buy the basic map locations of the next areas to come.
To really spike up the difficulty, sometimes the element of darkness comes out to play blocking just about all visibility making what could already be hard, that much harder with powerful beings that come out to play that normally wouldn’t be seen otherwise. Not only is visibility blocked off, but the map on the bottom screen becomes useless as nothing can be seen upon it. If you’ve already been out in the field for a bit and have done a decent amount of exploration and item acquisitions then honestly the best course of action would be to run and to save because the Game Over screen truly means “Game Over”. There is no restart from before the encounter, restart from checkpoint, or trip back to the Inn at the cost of half your gold. Game over for the first time in a little while in an RPG really means tough luck, try to do better next time!
Finally the last little feature that the demo included is the ability to transfer over any save data into the final version of the game as long as the thirty uses of the demo have not expired. This not only made the demo viable in order to get used to the various systems, but it also gives players a bit of a head start on the final version as what they’ve just experienced they would have had to redo anyways. Allowing the progress is a real nice touch as the demo is a true reflection of the final product that is releasing in early October.
The Legend of Legacy is looking good and is a must for any lover of the harder RPGs that allow nothing to be taken for granted and punish those who aren’t careful. The demo all depending on how much experimentation with weapons, party members, and level of exploration that you wish to do should clock in around a good three or four hours before reaching the end of the available content in regards to advancing the story. Going back to fight strong monsters is a whole other matter all together! If you haven’t had a chance already, boot up your 3DS and hop onto the eshop to try it out before its release on October 13th in order to get a head start and some leveling in!
Article by Pierre-Yves