Tales of Legendia Review

For RPG fans, a good deal of the attraction for this type of game involves the immersion of the gamer into the world that is unfolded by the plot, the empathy for the characters in the story, and the depth of the battle system. As all RPG fans know, the graphics aren,t nearly as important as the previously named elements. RPGs stand on their own merits; apart from the complexity of the artwork, and on this level, this genre of video game is unique in which content generally overrules graphic prowess.

Namco has entered its latest offering to the RPG world in the title, "Tales of Legendia." The "Tales" franchise will be recognized by old-school RPGers from titles such as Tales of Destiny 2 and Tales of Symphonia. As to the rest of us who have not played the series, it is an interesting look at how other developers, besides Square Enix of the Final Fantasy series, make RPGs.

Tales of Legendia starts off with a bang, instead of the tried and true, "slow boil" approach to plot development in role playing games. We find our hero, Senel Coolidge, and his sister Shirley on the high seas in the midst of a storm. As the scene opens, they are immediately thrust into a battle for their lives. They are adrift, apparently without hope until they crash upon the shores of an island. But the island is not as it appears; it is really an enormous ship, long abandoned by intelligent beings of yesteryear. The "ship" moves and goes off on its own accord, with no apparent guidance. The inhabitants of the ship-island are in anticipation of the fulfillment of a prophecy, in which Senel,s sister, Shirley, seems to be a part of.

The game has a massive amount of dialog encoded into the game. If plot and character development are your interests, you will be totally overwhelmed by the depth of the script. This, in no way, is a game where you should "button through" the cut-scenes or dialogue because this is the cornerstone of the title. Passing though dialog or being inattentive to what the characters are saying is to invite a less than satisfactory gaming experience. One great feature of the game is the "book" feature. As many RPG gamers have done, it is often necessary to have a notebook at your side to record just where and what has transpired in your last visit. Tales of Lengendia has taken on this task by providing a synopsis for each critical part of the game. All one has to do is to click on the appropriate listing and you,ll be instantly updated on the what, where, how, and who of the story.

Here, lies the game,s strength and weakness. For the RPG gamer who enjoys an involved storyline, a detailed menu system, and good character development, TOL will prove to be an excellent choice. But for the RPG gamer who would like more balance and not such a top-heavy emphasis on story; the game may appear to be plodding at times.

Graphically speaking, TOL takes a novel approach and melds the different RPG styles into one title. The opening scenes of the game lead you to believe that the game is primarily done in the stylish 2-D anime format. But as the game continues, you are treated with a surprise of exceptionally detailed and wonderful 3-D environments. Another surprise comes when these two graphic styles are interchanged with one another. During exploration, your characters are in the 3-D world. When there is character dialogue or interaction, the game switches to an anime overlay. It is an interesting, if not novel approach in presenting the story. Entering and looking around city and world environments will be a treat for the eyes.

The city of the island-ship, Legacy, operates like any other RPG city, with its share of stores, weapon shops, item shops, bakeries, and other points of interest. As you explore the world of the Legacy and exit the main city, the travels around this huge ship will lead to adventures in discovering the true meaning of the ship, its former inhabitants and the fulfillment of prophecy. While wandering over the immense territory, the game allows travel to previously visited locations via "ducts." These act as "warp holes" and take you over vast distances which would otherwise take a great deal of time. In all of the travels, you are always linked back to the main city of "Werites Beacon."

The menu/battle system is rather daunting, due to the numerous menus and sub-menus, but can be mastered through a few hours of gameplay. The manual for the game, as they say, is a "must read" if you are to master the ins and outs of gameplay. While most RPGs can be "faked through" by trial and error, the reading of the game manual is a definite requirement. The manual is colorful and well thought out and serves as a necessary guide for understanding the numerous features within the game.

Characters learn special abilities and fighting moves by collecting "eres stones." These stones, which are dropped by defeated enemies and found in the course of the game, can be combined to form new "eres" and thus, formulate new powers and skills for each character. These stones can also have various "essence" qualities unlocked in order to add certain attributes such as healing, strength or attack abilities. In the tradition of RPG games, character levels are raised through experience points obtained through successful battles.

The battles in this game are simplistic in nature, when compared to other RPGs, and take place on a battle field much like that of a "Street Fighter" game. The opponents square off with each other, on either side, and battle it out. The characters defeat each other by using fighting moves, special attacks, and eres powers. As your characters take on damage, a "climax meter" fills. When it is totally filled, the enemy can be rendered to a state of "freeze", until the meter runs out. This gives your characters the opportunity to attack without reprisal.

The fighting moves are in the spirit of old arcade fighters in which certain combinations of button presses result in kicks, punches, or special attacks. The sequence, position, distance, and type of attack by the other characters in your party can be pre-determined through the game,s extensive menus. Up to four party members can fight in any particular battle, and are switched out for other characters as the adventure progresses. The battles are more like miniature arcade fights, and somehow seem out of place in the game.

As described previously, the game has a massive amount of dialogue. The game gives the option of turning the voice acting on or off. Here stands, one very grateful gamer. Personally speaking, I found the voice acting annoying at best and completely irritating at worse. The voices are done in a very cartoony and cheesy style, and after only a half an hour of this voice "acting," I couldn,t stand it any longer and turned it off. I never even gave it a second thought as to turning it on again. This is too bad, as the production staff obviously put a great deal of time in placing voices in the game. Next time, they would do well in avoiding all the present voice talent and hire professionals who don,t sound so horribly tacky.

The soundtrack to the game is another sore spot. The remix of the music tracks were either mixed in a hurry or mistakenly done with the wrong equalization. The music is heavy with unnecessary reverb and has a very narrow and tinny sound. It,s as if the music was being played through cheap stereo speakers. In a game this immense, it is a puzzle as to why this aspect of the game went unnoticed or unfixed. The selection of music is also questionable. While there are great passages of big orchestrations during the game, there is also a strange selection of jazz and cabaret music. I,m not sure what the composer was thinking, but the odd compositions detract from the mood and atmosphere of the title. Think of this effect as likened to playing country music during a scene of Shakespeare, and you,ll understand what we are trying to describe. No offense to country music fans.

Tales of Lengendia is comprised of two parts. The first part of the game, called the "Main Scenario," is where the majority of emphasis is upon Senel and his sister Shirley. During their adventures, they meet other characters and strive to save their world from destruction. The second half, entitled the "Character Quests," emphasizes stories related to the other characters that are encountered in the "Main Scenario" of the game. The "Character Quests" segment reveals in-depth stories about the individual characters, how they relate to one another, and where the true meaning of the ending of the story is understood. This game is no lightweight, and you will easily clock in 70+ hours of gameplay.

All in all, Tales of Lengendia has brilliant moments but also has moments which bring it down from higher acclaim. The storyline is the main attraction here, with more character and plot development than you,ve seen since Final Fantasy X. The world of Legendia is massive and will appeal to those who want a good, involving storyline. However, the less-than-superior battle system, quirky music score, bad voice acting, and simplistic fighting action may bring the enjoyment level of Tales of Lengendia, for some, down to a more pedestrian level.

However, if these weak points can be forgiven, Tales of Legendia may turn out to be a diamond in the rough for those searching for an RPG that requires your total attention.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.