Traditional turn-based JRPGs are nowhere near as prevalent as they were back in the late 90s and early 2000s but that isn’t stopping developer SEMISOFT from making exactly that. Legrand Legacy is a turn-based JRPG inspired game that pays homage to JRPG classics like Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Legend of Dragoon, and Suikoden. Utilizing an art style reminiscent of original PlayStation era games, Legrand Legacy seeks to take us back to a time we all thought was gone. Hit the jump to read on!
Note: This review is based off of a review copy provided by the developer.
Legrand is a beautiful but war-torn land that is on the brink of a world ending invasion from a force that nearly destroyed the world years ago. Unaware of the turmoil that grips the land, a lowly slave barely survives a battle against a mighty gladiator, sparking a chain of events that may lead Legrand to its ultimate destiny. After being bought by a mysterious old man, the slave named Finn embarks on a journey to save the world. With the help of his companions Finn travels around the world in an attempt to gather legendary armaments that could aid them in their quest to stop the villainous Fir Bolgs from invading Legrand and laying waste to the world. But the journey isn’t so simple, as these things often aren’t, and Finn and his group eventually find themselves in the middle of a war that is left unchecked could lead to the end of humanity itself.
Legrand Legacy features a battle system that calls back to JRPGs with timing mechanics. After selecting the actions your party is going to take, a quick time event is triggered which has the player press a button to stop an arrow within a certain area to either successfully hit and damage an enemy or miss the attack entirely. There are two success states and one fail state. If you stop the arrow within the blue area, you’ll do a normal amount of damage with a fairly good hit rate. If you land on the yellow area, you’ll 100% hit the enemy and your chances of doing a critical strike are much higher. If you land the arrow in any other area, you’ll miss the attack entirely. This system is applied to normal attacks, magic attacks, defending, and arcana attacks.
Arcana attacks can be performed once your character’s AP meter fills all the way up. Arcana attacks never miss but the amount of damage they do is highly dependent on your timing. A perfectly timed arcana attack could do around 20x a characters base attack damage.
The most important aspect of the battle system centers around identifying your enemy’s weakness and exploiting it to your advantage. There are three types of normal attacks: slash, pierce, and impact. As you fight enemies, it’s best to take a look at the information provided in game about your enemies and deal with the accordingly. If an enemy is weak to slash attacks, switch out your party members during battle and attack the enemy with party members that inflict slash damage. Switching out a party member doesn’t burn a main action but it does happen immediately, so if you switch out the wrong party member you’ll either have to attack or defend with that character until you can switch them out next turn.
Normal attack types aren’t the only attacks to consider, you also could utilize a magic attack, or grimoire as it’s called in Legrand Legacy. Grimoires work on a sort of gambling mechanic in that each grimoire has a certain percentage chance that if a character is hit before using their grimoire, the attack will be interrupted. Grimoires also have a similar rock, paper, scissors style of weaknesses and strengths as normal attacks do. So as with normal attacks, check the info on your enemies to determine what grimoire to use against them.
Another major part of Legrand Legacy is the war strategy system. At various points in the game, the player will be tasked with winning tactics style battles. These battles always task the player with fulfilling certain conditions in order to win. These conditions can range from defeating all enemies, to capturing leaders. But just like with the normal battle system each enemy has their own weaknesses and strengths, so the key to victory is determining those strengths and weakness and using them against the enemy.
Taking the things a step back, there are also smaller battle scenarios that have the player engaging in a rock, paper, scissors, style fights. When you engage an enemy you have a short amount of time to pick an action: jab, heavy strike, and counter. Jabs beat heavy strikes. Heavy strikes beat counters. And counters beat jabs. Most enemies have clear patterns, so once you figure out the enemies attack pattern, these scenarios are a breeze.
Legrand Legacy is a very engaging JRPG, but it’s not without its faults. Numerous times throughout the game I noticed dialog not matching the characters that were currently speaking to one another. This usually ended up being pretty funny in an unintentional way (imagine a giant lion man clearly saying a line that was supposed to be assigned to a female character). Other times the game hard locked which forced me to close the game via the task manager and lose some of my progress in the process. There was even one time where the player controlled character, Finn, didn’t spawn and I was forced to close the game and relaunch it before the character appeared again.
At the original time of this writing, I encountered an issue that has since been fixed by the developers. The issue came in the form of an NPC that would not spawn for me no matter what I did. About 30 hours into the game. I came across a main story quest that tasked me with traveling back to previous towns and recruiting other NPCs. During this portion of the game, I was able to find two of the three characters easily, but the third was nowhere to be found. Thinking I had gone to the wrong place, I went back to every town and spoke to every NPC and still I couldn’t progress any further into the game. But since that issue has been addressed, I am happy to say that Legrand Legacy is a fantastic game that succeeds at evoking JRPGs of the original PlayStation era. It may have a few flaws but it is overall a solid game with a traditional turn-based battle system and tactics style war segments. If you are a fan of classic JRPGs, you should pick this game up.
Legrand Legacy is out now for PC and will be released on PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch in 2019.