Legasista on the PSN is $30 not $15 as listed in the review. I wonder if that oversight would have affected the final score?
There's a robust dungeon crawler buried beneath Legasista's typical anime-style trappings.
- Engaging dungeon exploration and looting
- Clever, challenging enemies and traps
- Lots of customization options for existing and player-made characters
- Fantastic soundtrack.
- Cheap-looking cutscenes
- Customization tools are a pain to use
- Dialogue errors make certain gameplay elements confusing.
At a quick glance, Legasista looks like a typical Japanese role-playing game: anime-styled characters, some plot bits about an ancient society with long-lost weapons, and lots of complicated statistics and systems to keep track of. But Legasista's outward appearance is somewhat deceiving: this is actually a challenging dungeon crawler with many layers of depth. Players familiar with NIS's Cladun series for the PSP will immediately feel at home here, as the animations and core gameplay of Legasista are based heavily off of those games. However, Legasista has some key differences from the Cladun adventures, and it's those differences that ultimately make it a superior game.
Legasista follows young Alto, whose sister has been transformed into a small jewel. The only way to reverse the spell is through the power of an ancient weapon which has been sealed away in a tower. Alto gets more than he bargained for, however, when he finds that the weapon is a humanoid female named Melize who has lost most of her functionality. The artifacts containing her abilities need to be found in the tower, but there are a few other treasure hunters and opportunists who are raiding the tower for themselves and don't appreciate Alto's meddling. It's a simple story, but effective and engaging enough to keep you going. Its presentation through crudely animated character artwork, however, looks cheap and awkward.
As you advance through the story, more dungeons open for you to explore, and each completed dungeon yields more plot twists and potential party members for your exploration troupe. Base controls for exploration are pretty straightforward: a simple strike attack, a jump, a dash that increases speed at the cost of defense, and shoulder-button controlled magic spells and item use. Certain equipment can change these controls: for example, bows and hammers can be charged by holding down the attack button, while equpping a shield replaces the dash move with a guarded trot.
Most dungeons are short affairs with a few traps and treasures to claim, while others are laden with damaging gimmicks and tricky puzzles that can leave careless players in a bind. Still others feature (sometimes optional) bosses that test your ability to dodge, guard, and use your weapons and magic effectively. To make this a bit easier, you can take up to three characters into a dungeon and swap between them as you wish. Each character has his or her own set of equipment and special skills, some of which can be useful in particular situations: mechanical characters, for example, can't be poisoned, but also can't use any healing items since they don't eat food.
In Legasista, energy frames are the primary means of character enhancement. These easy-to-understand frames work as simple, single-character equipment arrays that offer distinct benefits and disadvantages. As you soon discover, equipment arrangement is very important in Legasista. Each item you wear has a durability rating, and taking damage decreases the durability of the item furthest to the right in your gear display. Once the durability hits 0, the item breaks, and you lose its benefits and stat boosts until you either fix it or leave the dungeon (in which case it repairs automatically). After a certain amount of gear is gone, attacks deplete your green health bars, and once all of your HP is gone, that character is kaput.
The keys to managing your equipment are the aforementioned energy frames. The energy frame a character uses determines precisely what gear and enhancement items they can equip, as well as the order in which your gear and HP is likely to break. Multiple energy frames are earned over time for each character class, and learning to pick and outfit a good frame for the situation is vital. Is it better to use a frame that puts most of your HP bars to the right and protects your special augmentations, or are you willing to sacrifice your armaments to survive? A limited amount of item pickups can also be equipped mid-dungeon, but their maximum durability upon leaving will be reduced as a result. You'll need to take a lot of factors into consideration, as losing vital items like magic spells mid-dungeon from a fierce assault can be hugely detrimental.
True japanese RPGs are weirdly cute and not rarely make anime-style design choices to add to it. But I don't know... I think I've played this kind of game a lot...
I used to buy discs only, but PSN and mostly Steam have now turned me in a digital-only freak! Haven't bought a boxed game in 2 years! O_o
@alien33 well, for collector's like me, I will suicide if boxed games were no longer available.
@alien33 Same for XBLA arcarde. There's a lot of great small games out there. Like ExplicitMike said, making a disc version would bump up the price.
A lot of downloadable games are a better value than full retail games!
@kiramasaki If this was on disc I bet you it would not be 15 but 60 bucks. Do you really wanna pay more? Sometimes DL only is good. Unless your internet is crap. Then I am sorry for you.
@kiramasaki ... Really?