Is Legasista a worthy entry to the dungeon crawl genre, or is it just another warrior that needs food badly?
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: System Prisma
Genre: Dungeon Crawl/RPG
Rated: T for Teen
Once upon a time, the dungeon crawl genre was cranking out hits right and left. Titles like Gauntlet and The Bard's Tale served as examples of how much fun this genre could be. The games sort of drifted away as games became more advanced, but started to experience a bit of a revival on handheld and mobile devices, thanks to games such as Orcs and Elves. Now in 2012, games such as Legasista come along and don't get a lot of attention for carrying on the proud tradition of dungeon crawlers.
Legasista is pretty straightforward in its approach. It's a top down view, characters are roaming through dungeons of various color and theme, there are lots of traps and enemies to deal with, and characters are looking for an exit. The game is very accessible; gamers with any experience in the RPG or dungeon crawl genres will be able to pick the game up and start playing immediately. For those gamers who may not be as familiar with things, though, the game absolutely bombards you with information by way of a "Tutorial" dungeon that features 10+ floors. While this got a bit frustrating for me, I would imagine that it would be helpful for young gamers.
The combat system is straightforward as well. The x button jumps, the o button strikes, the square button defends. Back buttons such as L1, L2, R1, and R2 cycle through magic/abilities and items. The game does a thorough job of walking players through every command, so there's little chance of being in mid-battle and not knowing how to access something that you desperately need. Unless you skip through part of the tutorials due to impatience. Which I may or may not have done initially.
My favorite part of the control scheme was the method of switching characters. There's no need to go into a menu and switch things over, there's no cumbersome scrolling through pictures and then hitting an x button. Should you have a piece of equipment break for one character and need a switch, simply flick the right thumbstick and you're done. It's amazingly fast, amazingly convenient, and helps keep the pace of the game quick.
The "puzzles" are also pretty self explanatory, as well. If you see a golden door, you're going to need a golden key to unlock it. If the door is red, you're going to need a ruby key. If the door is bronze, you'll need a bronze key. See how that works? Jill Valentine would not be needed in the Legasista world. If you see a blue obstacle, you need to find a blue switch to turn it off so that you can continue through the maze. This applies for red, yellow, and every other color of obstacle, as well. The switches do get mixed up a bit, though, as the number of switches you'll need to trip for each obstacle varies greatly.
As you solve puzzles and navigate through the dungeons, you'll come across treasure chests. Treasure chests don't require any special items to unlock them, you just need to attack them. The chests are placed pretty liberally, even in the early going, and you can quickly amass a horde of items that make navigating the menus a little cumbersome, though Legasista does include a function that automatically equips the strongest item for you, should you choose to use it.
The menu system in Legasista is really the only thing where the game fails to be easily accessible. It's also the only part of the game that doesn't receive a thorough walkthrough in the beginning levels, leaving gamers to figure things out for themselves at times. The "Titles" system, which is the name given to the system where weapons, armor, and trinkets enhance or grant certain abilities, isn't hard to grasp but takes some effort to really master.
Combat can be tricky on the game. Getting the characters to face the proper direction and line them up for an attack can be frustrating at first, but once you learn where the kinks are, you can adjust for them pretty easily throughout the game. Combat is real time, not turn based, so be prepared to make use of the items that are stored and keep shields at the ready. As with any dungeon crawl game, being able to hit and move successfully will be essential for survival. Minibosses and bosses of dungeons are distinguished by being larger than everything else that you fight. It's not the most imaginative method of distinction, but it is effective.
There are a few things that players should be aware of before jumping into this game. The first is that the game's audio dialogue is entirely in Japanese. The text has been translated, otherwise the game would be unplayable for the vast majority of the American audience. If you're looking for quality voice acting, or even English speaking voice acting, to avoid having to read a lot of text as it relates to the story, then you're out of luck. You're going to have to read.
The character models are simplistic and feel dated while the action is occurring, but the cut scenes are your typical Japanese animation quality. There's even a lady that appears to be dressed as an eggplant that has absurdly large breasts that jiggle to imply emotion during a few cut scenes. No, seriously. That's her on the right.
As the story goes, the main character is Alto. He's carrying around a crystal that contains his sister Mari, who has been cursed. The only way to free her is to explore an ancient facility that used technology, and find something that will break the curse. In Legasista, the world has moved past technology and into an era of magic. On his journey, Alto finds helpful sentient bean sprouts, an ancient weapon that looks like a teenage girl, and encounters some general baddies, like the aforementioned busty eggplant lady. Like the rest of Legasista, the story feels sort of cookie cutterish.
-Easily accessible, with a thorough walkthrough
-Quick paced combat
-No obvious glitches
-Menu system can be overwhelming
-All Japanese audio dialogue
-Nothing innovative to be found
There's nothing groundbreaking about Legatista, but there's nothing offensively bad about it, either. If you're a fan of the dungeon crawl style of games, then I can comfortably recommend it. If you're not, then I don't think there's anything here that's going to make you want to run out and start collecting past titles from the genre.
The monsters and the dungeons look fine. The characters that the player controls...not so much.
Nothing glitchy, nothing broken, nothing freezes. That's a minor miracle in this day and age.
I'm docking it a half point for the all Japanese audio.
There's a good chance that I'll not come back to this game. However...
I'm going to keep playing it until I beat it. It's a nice timekiller and a great fit when you need something quick to sit down and play.