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The Legend of Legacy (3DS) Review

by Neal Ronaghan - October 9, 2015, 12:00 pm EDT
Total comments: 11


Can a no-nonsense gameplay-focused adventure work in a story-filled genre?

Story is a huge aspect of what we all expect from RPGs. Looking back on genre classics, it’s what I best remember, whether it’s the opera scene in Final Fantasy VI or the various major reveals in Xenoblade Chronicles. The new Atlus 3DS RPG Legend of Legacy doesn’t really have those moments. The story is threadbare, and the entire weight of the game’s quality relies on the combat and gameplay. The mechanics nearly make up for the lack of an intriguing plot, but at the end of the day, the game’s novel level-up structure and interesting battle mechanics can’t carry the full load.

The Legend of Legacy stars seven unique characters and at the outset, you pick one to be your main character. The rest of your three-person party is filled in by two of the others and can be switched as you randomly meet other characters in the game’s only town. Each of these would-be heroes features wonderfully written dialog, but outside of a beginning and an ending, they’re limited to an occasional line of dialog and nothing else. While every character has a distinct motivation, everyone’s task is the same: explore the world of Avalon to uncover secrets. And that’s the plot. Naturally, you eventually find secrets, but those secrets don’t really feel like they mean anything.

For the most part, the game triumphs past the glaring absence of meaningful story. One of the big reasons for that is the spectacular soundtrack from former Square Enix composer Masashi Hamauzu. I’d argue that the soundtrack is the most important character in the entire game. The other reason The Legend of Legacy succeeds without story is because of the engaging exploration and turn-based battling.

As you enter different areas, you have to explore every nook and cranny to complete the map, which can then be sold for money to buy new gear and items. While the cartography isn’t as deep or integral as Etrian Odyssey, it’s still fun to do, as filling in maps often leads you to discover off-the-beaten-path areas. Unfortunately, sometimes you might miss an exit or an object in an area you thought you 100% completed because the map doesn’t show it (ProTip: there is some debris you need to hop over in the Forest Ruins).

The turn-based battle system is pretty standard, as you use different weapons and special abilities to attack enemies. How you upgrade your stats and get new abilities is interesting, though. You don’t go up levels in a traditional sense; instead, your characters randomly power up and earn new abilities through using weapons or skills. For example, the more you use a short sword, the more abilities your character will learn for it. Additionally, the more you use a specific short sword ability, the stronger that ability will get. The combat also uses three different stances (attack, guard, and support) that upgrade as you use them. Place a character in the attack stance, and they’ll hit harder; in guard, they are ready to defend; in support, they’re best for healing. On top of all this, you also have to deal with various elemental abilities that can also be upgraded. The amount of different variables and stats can be overwhelming, but it’s also freeing. No character is really locked down to a certain build, as you can make them whatever you want just by using them. For example, I used the character Meurs and he became my shield-wielding defender; his natural build is that of support.

While upgrading your characters can be fun, what isn’t fun is getting surprised by a shockingly hard random battle that knocks out your party, requiring you to go back to your last save. The Quick Save option (an optional save method where you can save anywhere) is imperative to use throughout the whole game, especially during the various difficulty spikes. In new areas, regular enemies can one-hit kill your party. I had many frustrations early on, but as I grew to understand what the game expected out of me, I started to play more conservatively. If you’re the kind of player that likes to go in guns blazing, this isn’t for you. But, if you’re down for laying down shields and buffs regularly in battle and strategically planning out your attacks, this combat system might be perfect for you.

It took me around 25 hours to play through the story once, and while a New Game + option exists, there isn’t much incentive to replay it. You can pick one of the six other characters to head your party, but all that really changes is the beginning and the ending. The New Game + doesn’t even make it that much easier on you to replay it, as your gear and abilities don’t carry over.

I’m torn on The Legend of Legacy. Even in the absence of story, I occasionally lost myself in the vibrant world listening to the amazing music, slowly powering up my preferred trio while I explored new maps. Too often, though, I was brutally struck down by a surprise boss encounter or a demonic random battle. The Legend of Legacy is an enjoyable RPG with a variety of unique concepts, but without a story to back it up, it frustrates just as much as it delights.


  • Good writing when it's there
  • Intriguing leveling-up/experience system
  • Spectacular soundtrack
  • Brutal difficulty spikes
  • Minimal story


TOPHATANT123October 09, 2015

I welcome lack of story over a bad or boring story.

JonOctober 09, 2015

Agreed. I actually prefer a light, unobtrusive story. Really happen to hear this fits the bill

JonOctober 09, 2015


OedoOctober 09, 2015

It's kind of a bummer about the story. My standards for RPG storytelling aren't as high as most people's (for reference, I liked Bravely Default's story) so I would have taken a serviceable story over no story. But if the combat, music, and aesthetics are that good, I'll be keeping that pre-order. The game is holding up really well to reviews in general in spite of the minimal story.

EnnerOctober 09, 2015

Ah, so the Saga developers have made another systems-heavy RPG.

My only experience with anything close to the Saga series is The Last Remnant (PC). That was a RPG that was light on story and heavy on atypical battle and growth systems. The thing with The Last Remnant is that the game is gentle to players who learn its opaque systems and is punishing to players who expect to grind to a brute force victory.

Corroborating with Siliconera's impressions, it looks as if The Legend of Legacy has "F U" moments whether you could or couldn't avoid the level grinding.

Evan_BOctober 09, 2015

Hey, if you liked Bravely Default's story, in which nothing happens in the last 30% of the game, just imagine that times three with Legend of Legacy!

Loved the battle mechanics, and I'd rather have a game that appreciates my time actually playing it rather than something with constant cutscenes interruptions and something so unbalanced they built in skip features to offset the grind. While I'm a fan of Etrian Odyssey, which has some of those elements, I never skipped through a fight, and I like the complex relationships of combat atop a good story, not one element awful and the other "redeeming" it.

Triforce HermitOctober 09, 2015

Hearing about a weak story is disheartening because that is why I like to play JRPGs is narrative. I'll file this under "will get later" catergory. Still looks interesting and maybe the gameplay would make up for the lack of narrative for me, but it isn't a risk I'll take at retail price.

So, let me get this straight.

We have an RPG birthed by Final Fantasy 2 (Famicom)'s insane opaque progression system that's balanced on RNG that rolls based on things that happen in combat.

We have Final Fantasy 13's paradidgm shift syste, which served to very much constrict the player's actions under the guise of giving them the ability to shoft party formations mid battle.

We have Romancing SaGa's borked and unbalanced difficulty, 8 uninteresting hero split 'storytelling' with party members who join your party after literally 2 text boxes after meeting them, and pertant for teaching you new abilities on an RNG that you can very easily lose and never learn again should you bump into a boss who is not difficult until it uses it's random party wipe attack, and then you load your save to never get the RNG to give you that particular ability again...

and this is all wrapped up in a visual bow meant to cause use to crave Bravely Default (a tactic that strangely paralells what happened when Akitoshi Kawazu was no longer banished to the Game Boy and could finally develop for the Super Famicom https://i.ytimg.com/vi/lXBlIsjvoG4/hqdefault.jpg)

This game appears to me like it is history repeating itself in a way that I can't get behind. Folks like Guillaume Veillette  are folks I'm happy for. at the same time I want to mail him a box with Unlimited SaGa, a Reproduction cart of Final Fantasy 2's fan translation, and Sonic Chronicles to him in the same way that James Jones got his magical box of horrors.

Evan_BOctober 11, 2015

Oh Clex, I see you and I are disagreeing on a number of things as of late.

I think FF2's character progression system is simply a different and appealing type of RPG for different folks. I do wish the the paradigm system offered more roles, but I don't think it's less complex or limiting because weapons and attacks can improve within stances, and considering the number or equipment and spells that can be an interesting balance. I also think that an RPG with bare-bones characters isn't a bad thing, and I'd rather a game respect me in that sense rather than giving me overly wordy characters throughout a narrative yet all function similarly within combat. In a game like this, it's crucial to create roles rather than boost across the board.

But, I'm glad you are happy for other people like me.

I'm glad I have someone to talk to with differing but respectable opinions!

And... I do admit that I respect what Kawazu's games try to do... particularly Unlimited Saga, which tried to be what Crimson Shroud would eventually do better.

I do have one question about Legend of Legacy though; does it have SaGa Frontier's scaling system where the game keeps a hidden counter of the number of encounters you've been in, and if you've been in X number of battles, the enemies all get stronger for no reason?

Evan_BOctober 12, 2015

Is Crimson Shroud good or what? I wish they'd continue that story, universe, or gameplay in some way.

I don't know if Neal would know the specifics of the encounter system, or if it's even known in Japan, but that could have likely been something that changed with Atlus' rebalancing for the Western release.

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Game Profile

The Legend of Legacy Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer FuRyu

Worldwide Releases

na: The Legend of Legacy
Release Oct 13, 2015
RatingEveryone 10+

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