Atlus has been one of the major players in getting unique and interesting RPGS onto the various Nintendo handhelds over the years: From the recent side stories of Shin Megami Tensei, to my personal favorite, the Etrian Odyssey series. However, not all of them can hook me, and today’s game Legend of Legacy is a case where thinking outside the box proved to be its undoing.
Legend of Legacy starts out as most JRPGs (Japanese role playing games) do: Mysterious setting, hidden treasures and a group of heroes on a quest, but the game quickly changes things up.
You can choose one person to be the main character at the start of the game, quickly meeting and teaming up with two other characters with the option to swap party members at anytime from the starting town.
The story is just a loose reason to go exploring, and the game allows you to skip cutscenes if you so choose. Similar to Etrian Odyssey, the main point of Legend of Legacy is to explore and build an effective party.
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In my previous post on Etrian Odyssey, I spent the majority of my time examining what the series did to revive the dungeon crawler genre, and attract a new generation of fans through the use of mixing modern and classic game design. By the time this post is up, the second game in the Etrian Odyssey Untold series will be out, and I wanted to take a look at how Atlus is giving old and new fans a revised take on the series.
Previously, I talked about how the Etrian Odyssey series was reviewed very harshly by most critics for the first couple of installments; the reason was that a lot of people didn’t want to play a dungeon crawler, and were hung up on the series’ hardcore difficulty. And to be fair, their complaints had some merit, due to the quirks of the series.
While Etrian Odyssey did make a lot of allowances compared to older dungeon crawlers, this was still a series that forced you to find the enjoyment in it. Enemy stats were scaled very high, and all it took was one bad battle to wipe out your party and lose all progress from your last save. While party composition wasn’t as complicated as previous series, a novice could still mess up early by not understanding good party compositions, and the game’s use of harvesting field points for items/money.
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This may surprise some of you after my love letter to Etrian Odyssey, but for the longest time I didn’t like the RPG genre. During the mid 90s to early 00s, I was stuck between the grind-heavy traditional Japanese RPG (JRPG) design, and the number-crunching computer RPGs of the day. There were exceptions of course, such as Earthbound and Knights of the Old Republic. But it wasn’t until I found the Shin Megami Tensei series that I fell back in love with the genre.
Change is Coming
Shin Megami Tensei has been a Atlus staple since the early 90s; the brand has gotten so big that I have to split this examination into two parts, with this one covering the main branch titles.
The Shin Megami Tensei series has several staples that exist between all the games, with “change” being the principle theme. In every title, the protagonist is either a part of a cataclysmic event, or will be the one that changes the world forever by causing one. Aiding him are a changing stock of demons that the player can recruit through different means; usually by talking to them.
Demons belong to different families and have varying stats and powers. What’s important about the series’ design is that your party is never the same for long due to two things. First is that exploiting enemy weaknesses is vital to having any chance of beating a SMT game. (Later titles, such as Nocturne and Shin Megami Tensei 4, actively punished or rewarded the player for keeping track of element resists, but more on that in a minute.)
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