Legend of Legaia Review
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Legend of Legaia

Publisher: Sony
Developer: Contrail
Genre: RPG
Origin: Japan
Number of Players: 1
Dual Shock: YES
Release Date: 03/17/1999
Peripherals: Analog,Memory Card


Story

Story: 20% out of 25%
The world of Legaia is shrouded in an evil mist, causing madness, rage and death to whomever it touches. The mist, which plays a big part in
determining which enemies you'll find in which area, has settled across the landscape, turning humans into psychotic slaves to the Serus (magical ornamental creatures which had helped humans) that they wear. The Serus themselves have also gone stark raving loony, attacking any humans who happen to wander too closely to the Mist. But after saving his own small village from the encroaching threat of the Mist, Vahn discovers the power of the legendary Genesis Trees. The trees not only banish the Mist in the immediate area, but some of them also harbor mysterious Ra-Serus, which are unaffected by the Mist and seek to aid humans in destroying the source of it.
Equipped with his own Ra-Seru, Vahn sets out to revive each of the Genesis Trees scattered throughout
the kingdom. Along the way, Vahn joins forces with two other wandering souls who have been called by the Ra-Seru within the Genesis Trees: Noa and Gala. Noa, a young girl raised by a wolf and Gala, a powerful Biron monk, both have questions of their own that can only be answered by following their mission to the end, where they must face off with the evil
which created the Mist in the first place.

While the storyline in Legaia is adequate, it is nowhere near an epic plot. The characters in Legaia lack an endearing personality, that usually helps the gamer be drawn into the story and feel for the characters.

Gameplay

Gameplay: 42% out of 50%
Legend of Legaia implements the traditional random combat battle, but has varied the experience by putting in place an unique type of battle system based on real fighting games. When entered in battle, each of the three characters in the game (Vahn, Noa, Gala) possess a bar or gauge which measures how many physical moves they are able to execute during each turn. The moves consist of different "strike zones" on an enemy: Left Arm (Weapon), Right Arm, Upper, Lower. Therefore, if an enemy is hovering above ground, a lower leg attack is rendered useless.

The character commands are entered manually, dictated by the directions on the controller (i.e. Right Arm attack = press right on the D-pad or analog stick, etc.). Commands can be strung in to create killer combos and multiple hits on a single enemy. On occasion, a special combination of moves in battle will result in learning a new "Arts" move, which will not only increase the amount of damage inflicted to the enemy, but also deduct a set amount of Art Points (or AP) from the specific character’s AP gauge. This makes Legaia almost a part fighter and adds a nice change to the RPG genre. But, this battle system makes most battles arduously long, even against the basic enemies.

The magic system, though very conventional at its core, does provide a little flexibility in its management. Because of how the game’s enemies are divided throughout, certain foes will harbor special abilities that your party can learn in battle. In order to do this, one of your characters must defeat the specific monster during a fight without using any magic to deliver the final blow. Then, your character has the chance to absorb the power of the fallen enemy. Afterward, the character who learned the spell will then be able to wield it during battle.

The spells range from healing types to destructive single enemy blows,
which can decide your fate during a grueling boss fight. The spells,
themselves, can also gain levels throughout the game with repeated use. With each new level a spell gains, the magic becomes stronger and possibly takes on new qualities that increase your powers in battle.

Overall, the battle system is a welcome change and provides for more interaction from the gamer, but falls a little short of perfection.

Graphics and Music

Graphics: 23% out of 25%
The world of Legaia is illustrated in completely in 3D. The game's polygonal characters and environments are very similar to a game you might have heard of, FF7. On the world map and in towns the characters are cutesy and superdeformed. The character designs only come to life during battle, when their proportional couterparts enter the picture. Overall, the environments and characters are bland, but acceptable.

Music: 23% out of 25%
Like most of this game, the music is not a breakthrough, but it is respectable. The music carries the mood well and helps keep the game flowing, but it is nothing to write home about.

Overall: 83% out of 100%
Legend of Legaia is a well made, but not spectacular game. The storyline is good, but the characters lack that endearing personality. The battle system is a nice change, but ends up making battles arduously long. Legaia isn't a breakthrough in the RPG genre and you might want to rent this one first, before you by it.

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