There was no delicious tea... only DEADLY POISON.
Most fans of RPGamer are likely aware of the site's love/hate relationship with System Prisma's Cladun: This is an RPG. While many of us on the staff are retro RPG fans, playing Cladun was a struggle between loving the concept but not its execution. Going into this year's Run to the Sun, I was nervous about Legasista, considering the site's history of disdain towards System Prisma's prior offerings, but oddly the game was a pleasant surprise.
With Legasista being a spiritual successor to the Cladun series, it's important to keep in mind the game's dungeon crawling roots. With randomized dungeons and loot, players must carefully tread unknown territory in search of a cure for Alto's crystallized sister. During our chat with editor Steven Carlton, we learned the game's title is a play on "legacy" and "sister" and interestingly, the game's story plays on the importance of heirlooms, and their connection to family. With the help of the 9,000,048 hours and 19 minutes-old Ms Dungeon, Alto must traverse multiple dungeons in search of his missing heirloom, but in order to do that he must enlist in the help of spontaneous adventurers and character created companions.
Whassup, mah Lega-sistahs!
First off, Legasista's character creator is an impressive piece of work. The game sports many different options in terms of personalities and character templates. It even offers players the opportunity to import their own custom designs within the game's mainframe. Players can use programs such as Photoshop to create their own custom characters and then transfer them onto their PS3s to have a more personalized adventurer join the party. Want to create a teddy bear wielding a sturgeon? You can! During our demo session, staff member Adriaan den Ouden created his interpretation of myself, and needless to say, his efforts failed to capture my intense beauty and prowess. For the record: I do NOT breathe fire and should NOT have had such a low constitution score.
The second part of the fun in Legasista comes from its frantic action-based combat. Players can jump, attack, and use various spells to knock back and slaughter the enemies they encounter along their journey. Even better is the ability to swap in party members as necessary, and even use their support abilities when times look rough. Changing characters at the right moment is key to success, so it's important to make sure that every character is fit and ready for battle. The penalty for failure is as steep as most dungeon crawlers, with the player losing half their experience as well as any items found during the current dungeon romp. One funny thing is that while traps are plainly visible, it's not as easy to avoid them as one might think. Not all traps will go off, but more often than not, the chances for disaster clearly do not favor the player.
NIS America has stated that Legasista is definitely a more accessible dungeon crawlers compared to the Cladun games. However, one cannot go blindly into the game's randomized dungeons without a bit of preparation and strategy. With its luscious HD graphics and quirky design, Legasista is a dream in motion, and it seems to be shaping up to be quite the experience for those craving a new dungeon crawler on the market. Legasista is expected to release August 21, 2012 on the PlayStation Network at the price point of $29.99. While it's hard not to associate the game with Cladun's reputation, Legasista certainly has its charms, and if you're looking for a more mechanics-based role-playing experience this may be up your alley, even if your experience with this genre is minimal. It'll be interesting to see what the consensus here at RPGamer will be when the game releases later this month.