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Legend of Dragoon - Retroview

Stop The Endless Heroes!

By: Zachary Lewis


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 3
   Interface 4
   Music/Sound 4
   Originality 1
   Plot 3
   Localization 3
   Replay Value 2
   Visuals 5
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

40-50 hours

 
Overall
3
Criteria

Title Screen

   In the middle of 2000, RPGs had reached the small pocket of calm before the holiday storm. So it was that Sony - who had never taken a very active interest in creating first party software for their PlayStations - brought us the spectacularly average RPG, Legend of Dragoon. But, excepting a few of the graphics, a good song or two, a cast of unmotivated characters, some attractive disc art, and a plethora of clichés, what did the development team really deliver to us?

   As far as the battle system is concerned, not a lot. By combining a lot of turn based and agility driven components with a tiny helping of real time functionality, it could be argued that we got something we had never seen before. The traditional turn based menu gives way to the 'addition system', where the majority of the characters can turn a single attack into a flurry of stikes, ultimately resulting in a much higher level of damage. Unfortunately, practice doesn't necessarily always make perfect, as a few of the characters have very bizarre timing to their additional attacks, or - in some cases - have additions that aren't worth learning at all because of their minimal damage returns. Although this system makes combat a bit of a challenge, later on in the game, all of your characters gain the ability to transform into super powerful Dragoons. As Dragoons, actual magic - rather than single use damage items - is also made available to you, if still not showing any large amount of power.


Makes You Pine For Home... Almost...
Makes You Pine For Home... Almost... 

   As with virtually every other aspect of Legend of Dragoon, the score to the game is a mostly below average lump of songs with a few widely dispersed good themes. With the attempt to make the battle themes have an actual 'ending' upon your victory, the score has at least some creativity put into it, even if the sound effects are all-in-all not that remarkable. Even the voice acting that takes place during the movies is overrated and bland; as again strikes the menu system. While not unusable, the interface of Legend of Dragoon is certainly also not stunning. And, with the exceptionally offensive restriction on carrying items, a number of areas in the game are rendered extremely ineffective or ultra difficult by the interface menus.

   Thankfully, at least one area of the game doesn't suffer too much. The graphics in LoD were absolutely amazing by 1997's standards. Alas, the game was released in 2000. While typically only the same quality level as those found in Final Fantasy VII, the moving water, clouds, and a few of the battle animations are phenomenally well done. Most of the character models are laughably bland, and low on the poly count, however. The good news about that is that you'll likely get to spend a fair amount of time looking at the graphics, as the game can take upwards of 50 hours to complete, especially if you want to try and complete the single semi-side quest in the game. Thankfully, your time will probably not be spent swearing in fury as you are slain time and again in some particular part of the world. The difficulty is generally rather low, with obvious exceptions, one being the final boss.

   The plot is your typical save-the-world scenario with a little love story, a bit of vengeance, and a sprinkling of flashback tossed in for good measure. In other words, nothing new. The game is cliché piled on cliché with only a small semblance of actual originality to be seen across the 4 disc saga. The plot is thankfully not hurt by the mediocre localization the game received. Although through major parts of the many of the character motivations are lost, literally, in the translation.


It'd Almost Be Pretty If I Knew What It Was...
It'd Almost Be Pretty If I Knew What It Was... 

   Which brings us to the area where the game takes the greatest nose dive in the history of RPGs. Creatively speaking, Legend of Dragoon is utterly horrible. It is merely a mish mash of concepts from other, earlier titles that have been packed together to form what is likely the most cliché ridden game in the history of mankind. And, because of this fact, there is really no reason to play the game more than once.

   Although Legend of Dragoon is nice and shiny on the outside, it falls far short of the game people saw in the commercial advertisements. Admittedly, seeing Lloyd get his head knocked off by Dart wouldn't have saved the game, but it might've helped.





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