Alternate Title: Meikyuu Touro Legasista | 迷宮塔路 レガシスタ
Developed By: System Prisma
Published By: Nippon Ichi Software America
Console: Playstation 3 through Playstation Network
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Classification (AU): This title has been classified as Teen by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence and Partial Nudity
Review Conditions: Playstation 3
Special Thanks: Nippon Ichi Software America for providing me with a copy of this title for review.
In a world where science has become a thing of the past, people have come to fear this ancient form of knowledge as magic spells and curses. Now a young man named Alto sets off for the mysterious Ivy Tower, which houses ancient relics of the lost art of science. He travels to the tower to find a way of freeing his younger sister Mari, who has been turned to crystal.
2010 and 2011 saw the releases of Cladun: This is an RPG and Cladun x2 respectively on the Playstation Portable. Both of these games developed by System Prisma were action RPG dungeon crawlers with a heavy emphasis on dungeon crawling… its main draw being the randomly generated dungeons and the whole games emphasis on customizing your experience from custom designed characters to even custom music through the use of ingame tools. Due for release on the 21st August 2012 by Nippon Ichi Software America is Legasista, a brand new game from System Prisma that takes many of the elements that made their PSP series so fun and brings it to the Playstation 3.
Unfortunately its Japanese release a couple of months back saw lackluster sales which seems to have reflected in the English release being only available on the Playstation Network and with a couple of localization limitations such as only including a Japanese dub unlike a majority of their release. But that slight issue aside, sales in my opinion have never really been a major indicator of if a game is good or not. Leaving the question of if this game is a worthwhile purchase? Does it embrace the Playstation 3′s more advanced visual/audio capabilities? Does it have solid customization tools? I hope to answer all these questions and more in my below review of Legasista, the latest game localized and released by Nippon Ichi Software America and Studio Prisma.
The storyline follows Alto Straiter, your run of the mill main male protagonist who arrives at Ivy Tower seeking an ancient relic which can cure his sister Mari who has been cursed into a crystal which he carries on his person. As the storyline takes place in a future where technology and science has become mythology and considered as ancient magic – he seeks an ancient humanoid weapon known as Melize who he believes can cure Mari. The only problem is once he finds her, technical difficulties occur and most of her memories are lost. The storyline follows the two of them, alongside an interesting set of other characters including the mysterious android Ms. Dungeon, the treasure hunter and “Blue Witch” Leina Mindel, a thief with a burning sense of justice Volks Zaid and a whole army of talking and jumping bean sprouts seek out data chips to restore Melize’s memory and cure Mari from her fate.
The storyline is very simple, as it was with both Cladun games but serves its purpose to give some reasoning to climbing the tower well. It is something you could very easily skip over if you wanted to and you would not miss out on much. However some scenes do prove entertaining to watch – especially when they introduce some of the quirkier aspects of the world which merited small laughs and despite being simple, as a whole it proved a fulfilling read. The storyline also serves as a means of progressively unlocking gameplay options for you to enjoy – so while you only initially have the abilities to change equipment and travel through the tower, as you find files through storyline events Melize gains the ability to create new adventurers, dig holes in the Railyard to find Ran-Geon’s and even Jukebox capabilities – allowing you to edit and listen to found music tracks.
Given the games customization system there are a few limitations to the overall design of Legasista, but aside from these you have a bright and colourful game with some creative character designs, and lots of potential if you have the time and artistic skill to produce custom characters. The Railyard which is the area you will return to after each dungeon is a wide open area and is a fairly pretty area to admire and/or move characters into. Most of the storyline dungeons are well thought out and have been designed to provide ample challenge and after every couple of levels, has a new theme to indicate a different area of the tower which helps keep things fresh.
As the game incorporates randomly generated dungeons through Ran-geons, as you would expect the game has been designed to incorporate that so none of the areas are masterpieces in terms of design. Having traversed several Rand-geons, the dungeons are generated well with no major issues and more often than I liked, seemed to lure me in to areas purposefully intended to trap me and make it hard to escape without dying.
Each character is comprised of a set of around 76 individual small images, including the character portrait, designs for each type of weapon and the characters actual appearance for all four stance directions (Eg. Head, Body, Hands, Feet etc). This leaves very little in terms of character animation or post-design customization (ie. With new weapons) to work with but the characters provided as storyline characters are well designed with solid detail on their dialogue character portraits and provide enough to work with if you plan to be a bit more creative and ambitious.
Unfortunately when creating custom characters, they give you minimal pre-created characters to work with – therefore I suggest checking out the Japanese releases collaboration website HERE, which will supply you with the image sets to bring characters from games such as Class of Heroes, Disgaea and Criminal Girls into your game. This collaboration section of the site has not been included to the English page as of yet, however screenshots indicate characters such as the Prinny will be available to download post-release.
Music and Voice Acting
Upon booting up the game you are treated to an excessively long loading screen, fortunately about half way through a rather enjoyable music track kicks in and from the get-go you are treated to a great example of the music quality within this game. Given you are left crawling through dungeons for the most of the game, you can never have enough music available to you to help set the mood and provide some auditory stimulation. While the track list is varied and some songs are better than others, I think you have a nice enough selection of instrumental tracks to work with.
Unfortunately this release only contains a Japanese dub instead of the usual NIS America decision to include both English and Japanese dubs. The Japanese dub in my opinion is nothing memorable although does a good enough job of reflecting each of the games main characters. When it comes to creating custom characters however, while there is quantity the variety of voices could have been a bit better, perhaps a few more phrases per voice would have proven nicer.
If you have in the past played dungeon crawling action RPG’s and found them to be boring or tedious, Legasista will most probably not win you over as the game is based around the whole dungeon crawling experience. Fortunately, similar to games such as Disgaea – it offers solid replay value upon completion of the game with randomly generated dungeons and a couple of other systems. The game takes place in dungeons, whether they are randomly generated or storyline-oriented and unless you have powerlevelled your characters, offers some degree of challenge. Attacking makes use of basic controls with a mix of physical, ranged and magical attacks and with the number of character classes and weapon types available to you, requires you to have variety in your party of three to survive some of the more difficult challenges.
As you will no doubt expect, monsters fill these areas – some of which are easy to take down, some have different means of attacking (From ranged to poisoning to AoE), some are different sizes albeit still as deadly and some that are invulnerable to attacks and conveniently block your path.While they can prove tough adversaries they are but half the challenge, the other half being the environment itself. Each dungeon is filled with traps which are not always easy to see and can do anything from healing you to shooting trap arrows at you to shooting up spikes from the ground around the trap. These are sufficiently implemented in numbers and while providing additional challenges, can also be incorporated into your strategy to defeat a tough enemy.
Recieve a game over? The game does not grant you re-tries at set auto-save points, but kindly takes half your collected EXP, removes all items obtained and plonks you back at the Railyard without any annoying Game Over screens or lost save data. As someone who is occasionally forgetful when it comes to saving this was a nice touch.
The game has a sizable number of built-in dungeons for you to travel through, and should give you decent gametime alone. But after you have finished, Ran-geons will take up the most of your time, being akin to Disgaea’s item worlds. These are worlds ranging in size from 30 to over a hundred levels in depth and are great places to level your characters, grab some good items and unlock some of the games tougher trophies. These dungeons give you a bit of option about how you progress through them with the use of different gates which can result in changes to the monster levels and item/title drop rates – of course even on the beginner dungeons it is possible to have a monsters level increased by 100 levels. They are a lot of fun and after unlocking them I spent several hours trying to (unsuccessfully) complete them, and similar to the Item Worlds offer a lot of potential in terms of replayability.
While dungeon crawling is easy to pick up, and you can go through the game without making too much use of the games other tools, for those who want them they are there. The ability to freely change your characters sub-class through energy frames providing access to different equipments and HP sets, the ability to send your loyal bean sprouts to find hidden dungeons and music and the ability to improve your equipment with randomly generated titles – only limited by how much luck you have to obtain great loot and your characters equipment mana. While Legasista offers nothing unique in terms of gameplay, it offers a fun experience with plenty of depth and replayability – and even having finished the game is one I will most probably go back to occasionally.
While there are a couple of limitations with this title which keeps it from being a perfect game, Legasista provides one of the most enjoyable dungeon crawling action RPG’s I have played in a fair while, and by far surpasses System Prisma’s two Cladun releases on the Playstation Portable. The gameplay is surprisingly addicting, and the design and music help draw you in. If you are not a fan of the genre then you most probably won’t find enough in this game to warrant a purchase – but if you are a fan of the genre or are just wanting a change from your millionth round of Item Worlding in Disgaea 4… this may be a worthwhile acquisition.
Storyline/Character Development: C
Music/Voice Acting: B
Personal Opinion: A
Overall Score: A-