An Underrated, Overshadowed Game.
Legend of Legaia is a game that I have fond memories of. It's not quite a Cult Classic
, but it did have the unfortunate timing to be released right after Square Soft
's wildly popular Final Fantasy VIII
. Nonetheless, it's still a fine RPG in its own right.
The story is nothing special and is a bit dated. The Big Bad
has taken over the world via the Mist, which turns the symbiotic Bond Creatures
called Seru into brainwashed monsters that seek to possess and control humans. The protagonist, Vahn, along with Noa and later Gala, embark on a quest to destroy the Mist by reviving Genesis Trees and destroying the Mist Generators.
The game is perhaps most noted for its unique battle system, shared only by its Spiritual Successor
/ In Name Only
sequel, Duel Saga
. Instead of simply choosing to attack, you form combinations of up, down, left, and right, not unlike a fighting game, and certain combinations will trigger Arts, Hyper Arts, Super Arts, and one's Miracle Art, for increasing amounts of damage. While novel and fun at first, it does make battles drag on, especially in the late game. You can also use magic, gained by absorbing Seru monsters
Let's not mince words regarding the difficulty: It's Nintendo Hard
. Xain and the Berserker in particular will wreck you unless you Level Grind
, and will still wreck you anyway if you don't master the battle system. Bosses have lots of health and outdamage you, and even normal enemies can wear you down quickly. MP and item management is critical.
The minigames are few, but not bad. The Fishing Minigame
in particular is noteworthy, if frustrating at times. Graphics are dated by 2013 standards, but were decent by 1999 ones, especially the battle graphics and the CGI cutscenes. Finally, it's my view that the music is among the best of the best. I often find myself listening to the overworld theme for hours on end.
In short, Legaia has its flaws, but the story is good, if cliche, the battles provide challenge, if not monotony, and overall, the game has a level of charm and atmosphere that seem hard to come by in the days where games are focused more on gimmicks and graphics. Is it for everyone? No. But I still recommend that you try it if you have some time to play through it.
Overall, I give this game an 8.5/10. Not perfect, but a fine game overall.