If a release on another system fell flat and then was ported over to the Switch does it still make a sound?
An action role-playing title from a company with a long history of game development and a respectable back catalog seemed like a safe bet. Even more so since the game in question, Fantasy Hero ~Unsigned Legacy~, had been released on a system four years previously and it seemed like Arc Systems Works was simply looking for a new audience. Unfortunately, this is one game that should have been left as a one-system wonder due to its boring gameplay that is wrapped up in a mundane story.
As JPRGs go, this is your standard fare humanity is on the brink of destruction from an unknown force and it’s up to a small team of unlikely heroes to work together to save the few humans who remain. In this case the unknown force that has brought destruction to the world is a group of monsters known as the Decoders. Where the humans had learned to live in harmony with the environment, the Decoders came seemingly out of nowhere to pillage and destroy the lands, forcing the remaining human race into small hideouts where they couldn’t be found. In one of these refuges, a scout mission discovers the ability to grant humans with the power to fight back against the Decoders. These powers are named Hero Artes and they are bestowed upon four different playable characters, all with a different fighting style.
Each of the four characters has their own combat style: a swordsman, a wrestler, a mechanic that controls robots, and a gunslinger. Regardless of the choice, your method of combat is going to devolve into an attack and flee strategy. The gunslinger for example, after emptying his clip into whichever enemy is closest to you, will need to run away from battle long enough to reload his guns without getting hit. But that’s not the only issue with combat. Poor hit detection, attacks from off screen, and traps that aren’t visible until you’re pretty much in them are all major frustrations that contribute to a very poor experience.
The problems don’t end with the combat. The pause menu inexplicably doesn’t actually pause the game. When the + button is pressed, a transparent menu appears that can be scrolled through using the D-pad. However, the action behind the menu hasn’t actually stopped. While you are trying to find that item to replenish your health, you still need control your character behind the menu so they aren’t dispatched by enemies while you fumble between the D-pad and the analog stick.
As with most JPRGs, a lot of progression options are present, related to special powers and weapon upgrades. Since they don’t make the combat any easier to digest, it doesn’t feel relevant to get too detailed about them. Not mentioning that you manually have to click through endless English dialogue while listening to Japanese voice acting doesn’t really change the fact that Fantasy Hero ~Unsigned Legacy~ is a title that can and should be ignored.