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A few days ago, I updated my 3DS and found a demo for The Legend of Legacy developed by FuRyu. After downloading it and playing through twice using two different characters, here are all the little things involved that make this demo what it is.
Atlus provides players the opportunity to play through two dungeons in the game starting as any of the 7 leads, with a “Thanks for Playing” message given on attempting to access the third. If players do happen on the “Thanks for Playing” message by accident, the game allows them to save their game and even go back to the world map if they’re not done exploring the demo yet. The content available gives players a preview of the game’s writing and narration, as well as an opportunity to experiment with the combat system, character progression, elements, cartography, and exploration. Should this demo convince the player to buy the full game, they can import save data from the demo to the full game, provided they have a spare demo play. On that note, like most 3DS demos, Legend of Legacy’s trial only allows players to boot it up 30 times. The amount of game available in the demo is rather short (though exploration, experimentation, and even a bit of idling gave me 3 hours not counting the time lost to game overs), but it’s still enough to let players know what they’d be getting into should they decide to play the game.
Players can sense the jubilation from the Frog Prince “He Who Befriends the Whispers of the Night, Who Beharkens the Starlight, and Who Besnares the Sparrow and the Lightningbug” (Or Filmia, if you prefer) in his salutations to the world after burrowing out of the ground. The atmosphere of Baron Owen’s discussion about an assassination mission also helps players get a feel for how the Mercenary’s years of experience has shaped his casual attitude towards these types of jobs.
Following this is a mystical woman’s narration about the game’s setting: A giant island called Avalon, named after an ancient continent where gods walked among men. She then touches on the island’s dangers before giving a synopsis of the lead’s current actions: To join up with other adventurers and explore the nearby Forest Ruins. There, they find themselves facing a giant bird monster. After felling the beast, the lead and his/her posse receive a vision from a rock that sings about the elementals, their fleeting lives, and names the leads as their rulers. After coming back to reality with a chunk of the rock materializing in the lead’s pockets, the group heads back to town to talk with the King of Adventurers, ruler of the island’s only town called Initium. With some words of encouragement, he sends the lead’s party out to do some more exploring. That’s about it for story in the demo. While seeming straightforward enough, I have no doubts that there will be curveballs thrown in as the game progresses.
Should players opt against watching the opening scenes, they’re sent straight into a forest with a map courtesy of the town’s guards. As the player traverses the area, features pop up and back down in a pop-up book style while their empty map fills up with detail. Explore enough, and the map becomes “100% complete” as the rest of the blank spots are filled in. Unlike random battles stereotypical of RPGs, enemies are out and about and will pursue the player should they catch sight of them. Different sound cues tell player what just popped up in the nearby area, allowing them to plan their routes before leaping in head-first. Players can examine a slew of areas to get items, flavor text, commentary from the point character, new areas to explore, or some combination of the four. Sometimes, people can evven be found walking about, ready to give the lead group rest, items, tips or even new formations. However, when the vision around the Lead goes purple, watch out. Monster strength triples under this condition while a powerful Shadow Lich roams around the area, ready to destroy any party arrogant enough to challenge its presence.
Back in town, players can sell their map information to the local shop for money and to increase the merchant’s available wares. However, the amount of money they receive for their maps depends on the completion of the map, and players can only sell maps once.
At the shop, players can buy access to new dungeons, as well as a regularly changing assortment of goods based on the map information sold. Players can also hire trading ships to receive stock from other players via StreetPass.
Out and about town, other potential Leads can be found walking about, ready to be recruited by the player, and they can switch them out in the Inn. At the inn, players can also rest to bring their party’s max HP back up to full should any of them have fallen in battle.
Legend of Legacy limits the player to 3 characters when they’re out exploring. In battle, each character can assume 1 of 3 stances independent on those of the other two characters: Attack, which boosts their attacks, Support, which increases their speed and heal rate, and Defense. Defense increases a character’s defense, as expected, but it comes with one more benefit: When a character in the Defense stance uses a skill, they will defend the other two characters when they get targeted by an enemy attack. To put characters in these stances, players must create formations of characters in their desired stances before battle and select those formations in battle before choosing their actions. The party is restored to max HP after each battle, but death reduces a character’s max HP temporarily, and if all 3 characters die in battle, then the player is kicked back to the title screen. While resurrection is as simple as using an HP-restoring skill on an unconscious character, enemies can also beat on an unconscious character to further reduce their max HP. Some attacks consume a variable amount of SP, which is restored at a rate of 1 SP per turn (Not including accessories). Unlike HP, SP is not restored between battles unless a player uses an item.
There is no Character Level in Legend of Legacy. Instead, a character’s stats increase every now and then based on what happened during battle. For example: If a character’s HP dropped during battle, their Max HP may increase permanently.
After the first boss battle, the party receives an accessory that allows your party to attune with little whisps called Elementals. Elemental Spells can be found in the form of accessories by talking to statues. Taking a turn and consuming 1SP to contact the elementals grants the party end-of-turn benefits based on the element (eg: Fire gives you an attack boost, Water regens your HP, etc). Additional turns increase the element’s influence, which players can observe by pressing Y in battle. Another option to influence element distribution is to activate relics strewn throughout the various dungeons. Contacting the Elementals is also necessary to use magic based on the element. The strength of your benefits and spells is dependent on how prominent your element is in the area. However, enemies can take advantage of the elements as well, which may turn some battles into an elemental tug of war.
Standard attacks are done away with in this game. Instead, each character has a range of skills and spells available based on which accessories and weapons they have equipped. Each skill and spell has different power levels based on which stance the character is in when they use it. Just like stats, skill and spells get stronger when a character uses them more often. Using a certain weapon or element also unlocks new skills for the character to use and in the case of spells, allows the character to use it without needing to equip its accessory.
The in-game menu, accessed by pressing Y, allows players to create and edit formations, check out skill information, read up on the world’s lore, equip their party members, and mess around with the sound. There is one more option that players cannot access until after the game, so as of right now, I have no idea what it does.
I’m hoping that it allows players to speed up dialogue, because the game’s current text crawls are slow enough for the average game tester to read with no way to auto load the dialogue. While I had little issue with this at first thanks to the game’s charming writing, I can see how detrimental this can be on repeat playthroughs. This, coupled with the fact that players can start the game with different main characters makes this factor a high concern.
Another little detail to watch out for is frame drops. Even without using the 3D, my New 3DS experienced some frame drops while running in a dungeon when too many things are happening on the screen at once. However, no crashes have occurred in my 7 boot-ups, though, so at least players don’t have to worry about suddenly losing their progress because their game decided to disagree with them.
On that note, Legend of Legacy provides a button shortcut to make on-the-fly quicksaves (L+R+X), as well as the ability to take in-game screenshots using the Start or Select button. As a matter of fact, the screenshots featured in this article were taken straight from my New 3DS.
For me, the writing with the occasional whimsical narration is solid enough to keep me engaged, and the mechanics presented leaves me curious enough to want to see how far the devs will take them as the game progresses. The few framedrops I got made me raise an eyebrow and the inability to speed up the sluggish textboxes raised red flags in my mind, but I’d be willing to set those aside for at least one playthrough.
NIS America will be bringing The Legend of Legacy to Europe in Q1 2016, but for now Americans will get to explore the rest of the island of Avalon on the 13th of October of this year.