Reviews: Legend Of Dragoon

Don't take it too seriously

Just as in the case of Super Mario RPG (which happened to be my first RPG, fyi), SCEI got the point that timed button combos are a cheap and easy method of making RPG battles more interesting. Successfully performing a special move is always rewarding, as well as nerve-wracking, since they are sometimes critical against a boss. Plain combos are just pointless busywork, as Xenogears later demonstrated; you're still just mashing buttons, with the same result.

The Sentai-like gimmick of switching to Dragoon mode is irresistibly cheesy, especially once bad guys start pulling that trick. LoD is, above all, a ride. The story doesn't let canonical crap like "purity of heart" get in the way of mass-murdering dictators becoming Dragoons, or the heroes slaying a dragon in a volcano.

As a fan of terribad localizations such as Breath Of Fire, this game was right up my alley. In spite of the cliche writing and bad translation, this game still has class — mostly due to Rose, the most gorgeous set of pixels since Nina in Breath of Fire II. In fact, I think Rose's polygon model is prettier than her character artwork. What I mean is this: despite graphical handicaps, you can still sense the worldliness and quiet elegance of Rose just by her clothing (awesome), the way she holds her sword (doubly awesome), and her body movements. She's Obi-Wan to the bland, straight-up JRPG hero Dart Ziegfeld. Even more amusing is how all of her exposition is total nonsense, thanks to the localization. I once compiled a list of "Rose's Lies", which is gone now. But they are numerous.

It's a linear game, especially in the last chapter — which suffers from Plot Twist Fatigue, in my opinion. It's just frustrating to be dragged along on a leash and chasing these flat bad guys, whom you know are always going to reach the goal before you do. On the plus side, at least it feels finished. Nobody likes diving into a four-disc game if the budget ran out on Disc 4.

I think a lot of people are passionate about this game, and while I don't think it ranks higher than a cult classic, it was probably one of the first JRPGs guys my age ever played (coming off the heels of FFVII, which featured pretty much the same engine). It remains one of the top 5 JRPGS on the psx.