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Legend of Legacy HD (Switch)

Legend of Legacy HD (Switch)

Written by Ross Locksley on 18 Mar 2024

Distributor NIS America • Price £49.99

First appearing on Nintendo's 3DS way back in 2015, the game was the brainchild of several big names in the RPG industry; director Masataka Matsuura, designer Kyoji Koizumi, promotional artist Tomomi Kobayashi, writer Masato Kato, and composer Masashi Hamauzu. The game met decidedly mixed reviews, with saying the story was slim at best, grinding was a chore and that difficulty spikes were completely out of left field. It did lead to a sequel of sorts, The Alliance Alive, which was far more favourably received. Has the HD remaster fixed the issues and created the game that all fans can enjoy?

Well I'll start off by saying I missed Legend of Legacy on the 3DS, despite having a pretty large collection of titles sat on my shelf for that system. The handheld had quite a large library of such titles, and therefore Legend of Legacy didn't really stand out to me.

Going into the game, everything looks suitably polished, though it's clear that these are older assets given a fresh lick of paint. The chibi character designs are quite charming, but it's the illustrations that bring the characters to life. You'll start the game by picking your main adventurer, with seven to choose from ranging from seasoned bounty hunters, femme fatales and frog princes, all of which have different starting stats. I plumped for the oldest character since that best reflected me as a player (though it was hard to resist alchemist Eloise on a quest for immortality). The game will then select 2 more characters to round out your party, though you're able to select the others later once you come across them in-game. Best to do this early though as you'll want to be levelling everyone up as soon as possible. 

Legend of Legacy HD
Bounty Hunter Owen, Holy Knight Garnet and Frog Prince Filmia, my first squad.

My initial team consisted of bounty hunter Owen, Frog Prince Filmia (the only resident of the mystical isle we'll be discussing later) and Garnet, the Holy Knight. Owen is contracted to search the recently discovered Avalon for false Gods, the rumours of which have offended the church and must therefore be found (if true) and eradicated. Garnet is on the same page, and Filmia is trying to find his lost clan. 

Our first task was to map the Forest area, with enemies stalking certain areas - should they see you, running is an option, but any contact, intentional or not, will lead to a turn-based fighting screen where you'll take on whichever creatures were lurking within the enemy avatar.

Combat is pretty straightforward - you can take different formations which grant buffs to certain stats depending on your choices. Early on I often opted for a defensive stance, with Holy Knight Garnet blocking incoming attacks which, over time, increased her defensive capabilities greatly. Select an attack or defence for each member of your party and let the combat begin, with each round allowing you to alter tactics as you see fit. There's a lot of "samey" fights even early on, which makes a lot of fights a chore. The appearance of a few tougher enemies makes you think a bit more tactically, and is certainly more exciting, but you'll have to suffer the less interesting and more frequent fights in order to build up your party.

Legend of Legacy HD
Choose a formation before battle

Another aspect to battle is the elemental system. Each area will have a certain affinity toward an element, and fighting in these areas with party members that have an affinity to that element will make them stronger. As you progress, you'll find this is increasingly important, though it does have the unfortunate effect of forcing you to choose certain party members for each dungeon, otherwise the fights become much harder. 

Speaking of, another mechanic is that your party is fully healed after every battle, but should you have to revive someone, they'll take more damage in subsequent fights unless you return to the inn for a kip. 

Success in battle will see random upgrades assigned to characters - hit points, stamina, guard etc - or even unlock new attacks for certain weapons. This is quite satisfying, though the random element means you can't use tactics to unlock desirable abilities, you just have to keep fighting until it happens.

The game also has a ridiculously warped sense of humour. If you keep an eye on things, you'll find the fights quite easy on the whole, then the game will just throw in an opponent so unbelievably tough that you'll get wiped out very quickly. The false sense of security that you'll be lulled into as you fight through a dungeon is quite dangerous considering something ferocious and deadly could just drop out of nowhere. Frustrating as that is, it does add a layer of tension.

When you're not fighting, your wandering will fill in the map as you discover new areas. Fill the map to 100% (a good way to make players explore every nook and cranny) and you'll be able to sell it to the merchant at the hub town of Initium, along with any treasures or items you uncover along the way.

The hub town is where you'll meet the other party members, with Meurs the elementalist and Liber the adventurer showing up pretty quickly. You can swap your three main party members at the inn, as well as save your game progress, so it's worth returning often.

The graphics have a charming hand-drawn feel to them, with each area drawing in detail as you move around. I assume this was done to save resources in the original game, but here it remains part of the stylistic choice made by the developers despite the increased horsepower at their disposal.

There are elements of the game that make it feel its age. Despite the fact that monster avatars roam the land, you get no bonus for approaching them from behind as you do in modern RPG's. You can't jump down from ledges, so if you take the high road and want to drop down to reach an exit, you have to navigate all the way back around the map to a point that allows you to get to where you were, just slightly lower down.

From what I've read about the original game, I can't really see that FuRyu has done very much to change anything fundamental that would have made improvements to the underlying game. Greater variety in monster types, tougher battles or tweaks to the upgrade paths would have been most welcome, as well as fixing some of the things that made the game feel its age. Instead they've added an encyclopedia, allowed you to skip the initial cut-scene and made the map easier to manage (given that there's only one screen for everything as opposed to the original 2 on 3DS, this is a welcome update). The lack of substantial updates do make it feel like kicking the same IP into the current generation of consoles to make what money it can. 

Legend of Legacy HD is best played in short bursts to minimise the repetitiveness of the gameplay, which is actually a boon when played infrequently as there isn't much to forget between sessions (and the encyclopedia helps if you do need a refresher). The characters are likable enough, though the lack of story means there isn't really an awful lot to remember them by. If you're a dungeon-crawling fan with a penchant for old-school mechanics and don't mind a bit of grinding, you'll find Legend of Legacy HD a pleasing distraction.

A review code was provided for this game, with thanks to NISA.

It's not a revolution in dungeon-crawling RPG's, but it's entertaining and has some charm providing you don't mind the grind.

Ross Locksley
About Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time. You can read his more personal articles on UKA's sister site, The Anime Independent.


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