Legasista falls into an over-crowded market of different types of RPGs and dungeon-crawlers, most with much higher budgets than that of this smaller download-only title. Is that going to make a difference for this Survival Action RPG or will this title show us that sometimes even smaller titles can provide great experiences?
I didn’t know what to expect going into my first session of Legasista, Role-Playing games have never been my favourite genre for the sheer amount of time they take to complete which is time that I simply don’t have. After seeing a few trailers and screenshots of Legasista I quickly became interested and knew I had to download the game. Legasista has a simplistic charm to it. The art style, the dialogue, the gameplay, it all just molds together so well to create a very solid gameplay experience.
The game places you in the shoes of a young guy named Alto. Alto is desperately seeking a way to restore his sister from a crystal form that she currently is in back to a human form. I know, it sounds kind of quirky but, trust me, it’s not as mundane as you think. To restore his sister, Alto has to get to the Ivy Tower and find an ancient weapon in the ruins that can reverse the crystal effect. This ancient weapon isn’t quite what you’d think though and that’s where things definitely get interesting.
The cast of characters you meet provide interesting set pieces to the story. You come across the overseer of the ruins, Ms. Dungeon and the ancient weapon which is actually a robot who has lost all her memories. There are a couple more characters such as a stone robot and the bean sprouts. The sprouts provide tremendous comedy over the course of the story as they’re always trying to get you to eat them for nourishment and always wanting to help. The story really is just about a siblings doing whatever they can to help each other. The story is generally pretty good but, it’s nothing mind-blowing.
The gameplay is actually quite good. I would liken the combat to an old-school Zelda game with a bit less variety. Each dungeon has different traps and monsters to defeat and they’re generally pretty quick to get through if you know what you’re doing. Traps can even be used against your foes to help you get through the dungeon quicker. Each dungeon seemed to have a certain theme to it which is key to moving on. Most new things are explained through the use of signs in-game so you never feel like you’re too lost. After you complete enough main dungeons, then you can move on to the ran-gens to get some rare items. These dungeons don’t vary much from the main ones and are similar in length.
Combat is quite easy to pick up with only one weapon available at a time plus magic. I did find it somewhat annoying at times to attack as the character movement can be kind of wonky. It’s nothing too bad but, it was noticeable. You can have three players in a party at a time, only one can be active at a time though. The great thing in this game is that the active character can still be supported with magic and abilities from the two inactive characters. It was very nice to be able to switch them in and out with the right analog stick though. Strategy is everything in dungeons and it made it so much easier to be able to quick-swap to the best member of the party right away.
Traps, which I touched upon a bit earlier, really change the whole strategy of a floor. Not only are there many different types of traps, you can’t see them until you get close unless you have a lantern to light the way. You can get poisoned, hit with spikes, arrows, and a few other death traps. This sounds like a bad thing but, more often than not, you can use them to eliminate your enemies. Add to that all of the items and pick-ups that you can grab to progress your character or help you in the heat of battle and it really creates a different atmosphere and a lot of different ways to complete the dungeons.
The customization is where this game really stands out. I don’t remember a lot of Dungeon Crawlers that have used this successfully yet, it was pulled off here. Each character can equip a single energy frame. This affects how many equipment slots and health bars you can have. The weirdest thing to me was that after your health bars deplete, your durability bars for each equipment piece deplete. After a piece of equipment breaks, you can’t use it again until you go back to to the town. It’s a weird concept but, it’s nice to have the extra durability bars once your health reaches zero.
Each character also has a set job assigned to them., This job can be changed at level 20. Each job has specific job-related skills assigned to them. Leveling up also gets you Job Points, which you can use to unlock things. The game also offers a character creator that lets you do things your own way.
The graphics are very well done for a smaller title with vibrant characters and vegetation. The menus pop and the contents of them are very straight-forward and easy to understand. The soundtrack is pretty good and definitely sets the mood nicely. The one downside is that the game’s dialogue is completely in Japanese so you’ll be reading a lot of subtitles if you’re not fluent in that language.
I really enjoyed Legasista and it was a very nice game to play through this past weekend. This is a very polished Dungeon Crawler with a great identity. It does get a tad bit repetitive but, that comes with the genre. Legasista will give you a great amount of gameplay for about half the price of a normal game and you can’t argue with that. Check it out today on the PlayStation Network!