When Legrand Legacy went on Kickstarter, it somehow flew over my radar. After getting a look at it on Steam, however, I realized that it had the potential to be something I have been waiting for, which has been sorely lacking from my Steam library. Legrand Legacy is a game that pays homage to the history of JRPG’s that aims to take the turn-based action and turn it on its head with modern ideas and conventions.
Not only does Legrand Legacy utilize the turn-based combat elements of old school JRPG’s, it also uses tactical warfare elements found in games like Suikoden to showcase large-scale battles. At times it will be your party fighting alone, and other times it will be your allies leading larger battles against other armies. The first thing I noticed when I began playing Legrand Legacy, was the cinematic nature of the game. With rich graphics and FMV sequences, one might question the indie nature of Legrand Legacy. It looks and feels like an AAA JRPG one might see from Square or another AAA developer from the JRPG golden age.
Legrand Legacy’s environments are hand-drawn, but they look fully rendered. That, combined with the design of the characters gives the game a very rich look and feel.
In Legrand Legacy, you begin as Finn, an amnesiac slave captured and forced to fight in a gladiator style match. After mysterious events lead Finn to manifest powers that decimate his competition, it leads Finn on a journey that will ultimately determine the fate of the world of Legrand. Finn will find himself meeting many people over the course of his journey, and you will be able to undergo both important storyline quests, and side-quests that will provide many rewards.
The combat in Legrand Legacy is deceptively complex. It seems simple enough at first, with turn-based action that requires you to use the ACT system, to time your button presses at the right time to execute powerful attacks. This system is similar to Shadow Hearts, in that you have a circular spinning wheel that has 3 different fields to it; A normal field, a good field, and then a smaller “perfect” field. If you execute attacks (or defense) in the perfect field, it will be a stronger attack or guard, while the good field results in standard attack/guarding and normal field attacks/guards are less effective, and result in lowered critical or evasion chances.
As in most JRPGs, party members can be placed in the front or the back row. Putting stronger allies with a higher defense in the front row allows them to protect the back row from everything beyond ranged attacks or magic. Melee fighters cannot attack in the back but have a higher attack in the front row. This encourages you to be careful how you manage your party and approach battle.
An improvement over the RPGs of Yore is that in Legrand Legacy, you can save at any time as long as there are no enemies around. This allows you to do the tried and true “save early and often” method, in case you get in over your head. It also helps if you are going to be facing environmental traps you’ve never dealt with before, or if you forgot to equip items for battle prior to entering a new area.
If an enemy approaches you from behind in the field, you are unable to act on the first turn of battle, letting them get free hits on you. Luckily, you are extended the same capability if you hit an enemy from behind, so try to be careful when you approach enemies out in the field. Enemies also have a variety of “types” and attack capabilities based on Legrand Legacy’s version of the weapon trinity of Impact, Slash, and Pierce found in games like the Persona Series. The Elemental composition also matters, a concept taken from many RPG franchises over the years.
Strangely, all these different moving parts and tactical options work very well together and provide an interesting combat experience that feels like a mixture of Persona, Shadow Hearts, and Final Fantasy in the best way possible.
Legrand Legacy is by no means easy, but it is a difficulty that encourages practice and isn’t unfair. It harkens back to the days of RPGs where if you were having trouble, it meant you needed to level up and grow stronger, not adjust a difficulty setting.
The progression system of Legrand Legacy is easy enough to understand, as you level up you accrue AP which you then put into one of five stats, each character utilizes different stats for their abilities, and slowly gains new abilities/spells over time. The other half of the progression system involves gaining crafting materials and using them to create items through alchemy, or gear to enhance your characters’ capabilities.
Part of the difficulty curve of Legrand Legacy is making sure you grind out items to enhance your gear. Without proper gear, your stats will not be high enough to progress. This can be frustrating, as it means you have to spend a lot of time grinding, however, once you get used to it, it isn’t all that bad. Sadly though, with the constant Quick-Time-Event element of the combat, grinding isn’t a quick affair, and neither is combat as a whole. Boss monsters FEEL like colossal titans that you must overcome, but from time to time the combat does begin to feel like a chore. The writing for Legrand Legacy’s dialogue also feels a little odd at times, but most of the time you won’t notice it too much.
Another problem that I’ve found lies in the fact that at times if you don’t have more than 2 hours to sit down with Legrand Legacy, you won’t get very far. Legrand Legacy isn’t a game you can breeze through, just to digest the story and enjoy it. With that being said there is a lot to love in Legrand Legacy, and fans of old-school RPG titles will most likely feel right at home. It is also a game with a lot of moving parts, a lot of quests, side quests, and content that will keep you occupied for hours and hours of gameplay. Things like tactical war battles, rebuilding Dumville Castle, and a ton of other things make Legrand Legacy a massive RPG experience that shouldn’t be missed.
If you are a fan of RPGs that challenge you and force you to take your time and grow familiar with its mechanics, then Legrand Legacy is for you. The world that the developers at Semisoft have created is interesting, dark, but beautiful all at the same time. This is a game that shows the power of Kickstarter, bringing fantastic experiences to PC and hopefully other platforms. Don’t sleep on Legrand Legacy, despite its problems (namely the QTE’s) it is a game I am glad to lose hours in.
A Steam Review Key for Legrand Legacy was provided by Another Indie for the Purpose of this Review.