The upcoming Atlus RPG has a unique progression structure that isn’t quite your normal RPG.
If there’s one constant I’ve grown accustomed to through my years of playing Japanese RPGs, it’s that of the experience point. Sure, it takes different forms in some case, but throughout most games, whether it’s Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, or Bravely Default, I could bring up a menu and see how many points there were to go before the next level or ability. Experience points are a staple. They’re perpetual. They’re almost always growing. That’s not really the case in Atlus and FuRyu’s The Legend of Legacy, which is due out October 13 on 3DS.
Inspired by the SaGa series, which I only ever played under the guise of a Final Fantasy game that wrinkled my 8-year-old brain, The Legend of Legacy doesn’t feature any sort of experience points. There are levels through the three stances (attack, guard, and support) and the only way to increase them is to use the stances in battle. So, for example, in my game, the frog prince Filmia has become an attacking powerhouse because I primarily just use the attack stance with him. The alchemist Eloise is wonderful at supporting my team with spells and healing. And the elementalist Meurs has turned into a defensive powerhouse with a variety of shield abilities built up from keeping him in the guard stance. And from what I’ve heard, I somewhat broke the recommended builds for these characters, but because I just used them for one stance for a while, they became proficient in whatever I wanted. It’s very similar to a job system.
Outside of the stances, which are the closest to a traditional level this game offers, you also can build up each character’s proficiency with different weapons. When you do that, they learn new abilities for those weapons. But like the stances, it just levels up randomly. There is some rhyme and reason to it; your levels, HPs, and stats have a higher tendency to increase when you’re facing tougher enemies. Even still, you can’t necessarily predict what will unlock and when. However, when you get a new ability at the perfect time in a boss fight, it feels incredible.
The whole idea of The Legend of Legacy is about exploring an old world rife with secrets and obstacles. What better way to explore that old world than by doing it with gameplay mechanics that seem to mimic the tone and feel of the game. This 3DS RPG is very simply a nonlinear adventure with many untamed worlds to explore, and the battle system, with its seemingly random level-up system, fits wonderfully.
The best way to sum up The Legend of Legacy in advance of our full review this Friday might be like this: it kind of feels like Bravely Default if you stripped the story from it and made the job system less transparent.