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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Legend of Legacy

While there are plenty of Final Fantasy copycats out there, some of which have become pretty respected franchises in their own right (Shadow Hearts coming to mind), there are very few games that try to copy Square's SaGa franchise.  Maybe not the most surprising thing since it's a far less popular series, but it has been around almost as long as Final Fantasy and continues to have a dedicated fanbase so it was bound to happen eventually.  The Legend of Legacy is one of those rare SaGa clones, and it's a pretty authentic experience considering its development team has several Square Enix alumni in its ranks.  With game design by Kyoji Koizumi (who also designed several of the SaGa games), written by Masato Kato (of Chrono Trigger/Cross and Xenogears fame) and featuring music by Masashi Hamazu, they set out to make a game that felt like a '90s SaGa title and succeeded for the most part.   Set on the island of Avalon, the game features seven smaller stories in a shared setting and a focus on open-ended exploration and strategic combat. Stats and skills level up semi-randomly by participating in combat, and available techniques dependent on each character's type of weapon and their proficiency with it, randomly "Revealing" new techniques or upgrading existing ones (similar to "Sparking" in the SaGa games).  A strategic bent comes in the form of party formations chosen at the start of each turn; for example the Unicorn formation puts one person on point, and if they choose to block using a shield, they will intercept attacks directed at the allies behind them.  HP is also restored to full after each battle, though if a character is KO'd in battle their maximum HP will be reduced until they return to town to rest; further hits taken while downed will further reduce it.  Running from battle also operates differently from most RPGs in that the party will not just escape from their enemies, but retreat all the way back to the entrance of the current map.  Like SaGa, the open-ended design proves to be a double-edged sword; in the course of exploring you can easily stumble across a high-level area, get trapped in a boss fight and wiped out with no prior warning, necessitating a reloaded save and a fair bit of lost progress.  You also do have to pay close attention to clues and story beats and do a fair bit of searching to figure out what do do next, so it's not just a matter of following a marker to hit the next plot beat until you win like most JRPGs.  Still, if you like the unique and off-beat blend of Japanese and western elements that the SaGa series provides, the Legend of Legacy is one you may want to check out too.

Developer: Cattle Call, Grezzo
Publisher: FuRyu, Atlus, NIS America
Released: 2015, 2016, 2024 (HD Remaster)
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Switch, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, PC