I was a pretty big fan of ClaDun on the PSP. The classic style dungeon crawler was fun, addictive and simple to understand while still having complex RPG elements. Now, you may be wondering why would I be mentioning a PSP game when I’m reviewing Legasista. Well, to answer that, Legasista is essentially ClaDun on the PS3.
Made by the same developers as ClaDun, Legasista is an action RPG in the same vein as a simplistic version of SNES Zelda. You move around in an isometric view slashing swords, casting magic and avoiding traps while killing as many enemies as possible.
In the distant future, technology has all but destroyed mankind. You play as Alto, a young adventurer who has come to an old place known as the Ivy Tower in order to find a relic that may be able to reverse a curse that was put on his younger sister. Here, he meets monsters as well as old androids that guide him on his trek through the tower.
During your run through the randomly generated dungeons, you may come across loot in the form of armor, weapons, attack buffs, defense buffs and many other stat boosting trinkets that you can equip to your characters. This is where the addicting part comes into play. When equipping a new item to your characters, you must meet the MP requirements for that item. Not MP as in “magic points” used for casting spells, but for the slots you have on your character to allow for items to be equipped.
When roaming around in a dungeon, you will take damage usually from the right to the left when looking at all your health bars. Every piece of equipment you have equipped has a health bar. When that bar is depleted, you can no longer use that equipment until you return back to the hub world. After all your equipment is broken, your actual health meter will begin to deplete when hurt. When you lose all your health, you return back to the hub world and lose all the loot you had picked up in your run. It’s a very interesting concept that you have to keep in mind when equipping items. After leveling up characters, you can change grids (the game’s loadout system) so that other equipment can be used. So choosing the right grid for your play style is key. If the grids you’re using are becoming boring, you can change the character’s class all together after they reach level 20.
If you have more than one party member with you, you can switch out characters on the fly with a simple push of the right stick. So if you’re having trouble beating a guy with a sword, switch to your mage and shoot some fireballs.
There are also hazards to avoid or activate in the dungeons. Traps can do a number of different things from setting off explosions and shooting arrows to healing characters. Advanced players will learn to use these to their advantage, since catching an enemy in the crossfire could be the best way to take them out.
Eventually, you will be able to go into random dungeons that never end but have exits at set levels along the way. Here is where you can get the best loot and higher experience bonuses. You always have to remember that it may get tougher, and if you die, you lose all your loot. Keep going though, and you might be able to find even better loot.
There is a full character creator that allows you to make your own avatar with options for class, look, voice and behaviors. You can even upload pictures via a jump drive and have your very own you walking around taking out monsters in the dungeons. It’s impressive what you can do with the creation tools.
The game can be a grind-fest. This can become bothersome when you get stuck and pretty much forced to level up and get better loot. Some may see this as part of the fun, while others will likely just want to get past a boss.
The story is there, and it can be engaging, but for some reason, it does not have English voice actors. This is totally fine, and I know some players prefer the Japanese audio. I just think it would have been a nice feature, especially seeing how good NIS can be with voice talent.
The game does a halfway decent job of explaining everything to you, but still, I found myself lost with some mechanics. I often resorted to trial and error before understanding the whole package.
Legasista is one of those games I have to recommend players play in small chunks. There’s a reason why this concept worked so well on the PSP. ClaDun was very much a pick-up-and-play game. Legasista is no different. If you try to power session this game, you will get burned out on it pretty fast. Since dungeons take all of about 2 to 5 minutes to complete, you should have no trouble playing three or four levels and being done for a bit. When played like that, you will probably have a decent time with the game.
Action RPG fans will have a very good time with Legasista. There’s enough hardcore elements with the stat tracking and upgrading to keep any hardcore RPG players busy for a very long time. If you’re looking for a quick RPG to play in between different game sessions, you may have just found your game.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.