"The Legend of Legacy looks to be an RPG to keep eye on if you're in the market for a beautiful, challenging experience."
When discussing Atlus' The Legend of Legacy, "pedigree" is an important word to keep in mind, and I'm not referring to pet food. Developed at FuRyu, responsible for titles like 2012's Unchained Blades
, The Legend of Legacy has more than a couple names behind it you may recognize. Chrono Trigger's writer Masato Kato is here, along with Masashi Hamauzu on music duties, who worked on the SaGa series, and brought us the excellent Final Fantasy XIII-2 soundtrack. In fact, there's several folks behind this title from the SaGa series, along with Masataka Matsuura directing, who worked on the acclaimed 999
The "tl;dr" version is that The Legend of Legacy has a bevy of experienced JRPG people behind it.
The first thing to notice about LoL (that acronym...) is the colorful art style. Character designs are reminiscent of Bravely Default, but the world has a painted storybook feel to it that's quite inviting. As you explore map areas, you'll see trees and other landmarks sprout into view, which contributes to making the world feel very alive. Which is probably a good thing, as The Legend of Legacy is designed to be played more than once. Seven times, as a matter of fact, echoing the SaGa pedigree I spoke of earlier. Each of the seven characters has their own story and motivations for embarking on their adventure, along with unique endings, making each play through different based on your lead.
Said adventure takes these seven brave souls to the island of Avalon to search for treasure, finding the god of the island, and more. Of course, when the party stumbles upon a singing stone that evokes phantasms of Avalon's past, things get a little more interesting.
We didn't get any time to experience the story at E3 — the downside of an event with 52,000 people filling a convention center — but we did spend some time with the battle system, and it shows promise.
We explored an early area, culminating in a boss fight with a winged beast. Character and enemy formations in battle are on a 4x3 grid, as you can see in the first screenshot. There are several formation types, and they're deeper than "take less damage in the back row." One formation that we saw placed our adorable amphibian knight Filmia in the front row, with the other party members behind. This allowed Filmia to cover damage that the others would have taken. Other formations will have different effects in battle, as well. Since formations can be altered between every turn of battle, we're sure to see some challenging battles that require an ever-changing strategy, similar to paradigm swapping in Final Fantasy XIII. The strategy aspect seems vital here, as mashing "attack" seems like a sure-fire way to lose. In the boss battle we fought, we weren't yet fully accustomed to the system, and barely survived, literally with one HP left. Post-battle, any living characters will have their HP filled to max, but characters who fell in battle will have their max HP reduced until resting in town. Suffice to say, you don't want to finish battle with dead party members!
As a result of feedback following the Japanese release, The Legend of Legacy is being re-balanced for its Western release. Atlus hasn't shared any details yet, but it doesn't look like this adjusted balance is going to make the game a walk in the park.
Coming to 3DS this fall, The Legend of Legacy looks to be an RPG to keep eye on if you're in the market for a beautiful, challenging experience. And who could say no to that?