Review by Comfortably Numb
"A great game in the lines of more recent Final Fantasy titles"
Now The Legend of Dragoon hasn't been getting too much respect, mainly because of the awful translation. Now, I wouldn't know about translation, since I don't sit around and play Japanese imports for a living. But look behind that, people! The Legend of Dragoon is a great game that every RPG fan should love.
Even more impressive than Final Fantasy 8's in every aspect. The pre-rendered backgrounds are beautiful, in dungeon or forest, castle or town. Notable are the water effects. You'll see them in the prarie, if you've just began to play this game, and it looked amazingly realistic. Realistic enough, that the first time I saw this game in action, I thought it was an import PSX2 title. I can't say the same for the character designs. They look blocky, and very plain in battle. It was the only real step down from perfection, actually. Otherwise, it has the best full-motion video in any game I've ever played (even Resident Evil: Code Veronica). Excellent, but they ARE just graphics, if still remarkable.
Sound effects are never an important part of a role-playing game, because besides the average voice acting, it's same-old. But music always is a great aspect, and either someone at SCEA screwed up, or someone thought that the music was good. With the exception of the title screen music, the music ranges from average to unbearable. The clinic theme is down-right disturbing, and the boss music is a bit, well, goofy. Let's just say this: If I had to pick between a soundtrack for Legend of Dragoon or Breath of Fire III, I'd pick Breath of Fire III's elevator music.
The battle system may be frusterating at first (I spent an hour practicing) but when you get the hang of it, the 'additions' system is the most fun you'll ever have in random battles. You'd actually want to spend time running around dungeons fighting, not even caring for leveling up. The addition system is used by pressing X at the right time (the tricky part which I spent most of time working on) to cause an addition. You start out with one, and you gain more as you progress. Some better additions require you to press X at the right moment several times before you can dish out a powerful addition. I always stayed with my original addition until I maxed out it's levels, then began practicing with another. Some battles require you to do additions to actually hit an opponent, which I easily mastered, bwahahaha...
Eventually, you'll get Dragoon powers so you can use magic, and be more powerful, ect. I spent lots of time 'dragooning'.
NOTE: Some characters can't do additions, and that makes them dull to fight with :(.
While exploring, icons will appear in certain places, including over the main character's head. What do they mean? Well, they help a lot during gameplay and even make random battles less frusterating! The icon above the character's head means what kind of danger he's in. Blue is safe, yellow is caution, red means battle, so you can expect battles coming if you're not prepared. You can't avoid them, but the fun battle system helps out in that area. Other icons mean areas you can go. Green is mainly anywhere, yellow is an Inn or hospital, blue is a shop. Pretty convienient, huh? In fact, it is, and helps in times of trouble. Very nifty, indeed.
The story is nothing spectacular, but RPG par. In the beginning, the divine tree created a load of races. These include Dragons, Humans and Winglies. Winglies inslaved humans, and the humans weren't too happy about this, so they called the dragons for help. Humans gained magical powers and became Dragoons. They defeated the Winglies, and more began to happen after the war...
Dart, the main man, comes home from a still unfinished adventure to find it destroyed by the evil empire, who has taken Dart's friend Shana prisoner. Dart goes to save Shana, and the plot thickens from there...
The dialouge in the game is very bad, which ranges from confusing to stupid. I'm also a bit tired of 'like brother and sister' relationships in games. It's a bit sick, developers! Of course, this game doesn't dwell too much on that (I think...). Good story, bad dialouge.
The Legend of Dragoon is truly not revolutionary (besides in the visuals departments), but a great RPG that would go well in anyones collection. Besides the dialouge and music, Dragoon is mainly a great game, with little originalities sprinkled here and there. Thumbs up to Sony!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/17/00, Updated 05/02/02
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