Review by Careful_Crab
""An unforgettable adventure""
What do you do when there's a game that doesn't do anything right?
If past reviews are any indication, I love playing RPG games for their deep immersive stories, complicated character development and fun battle systems. Some games score well in one or two, and the very special ones master all three categories. But Legend of Dragoon doesn't really offer any of these. The story, the characters, everything seems to be either poorly conceived or flat out boring. What boggles my mind is that many video game players love this game, including my friend who purchased this game for me.
And what makes Legend of Dragoon a hard pill to swallow is that it's four disks long. You have to ask, "Is it worth playing a bad game over not one or two, but four disks?". Even worse is the game initially looks to be a great game. On the back cover, the box proudly proclaims that the game has been in the making for 3 years with a development team of over 100, and it's an unforgettable adventure. Too bad the game never lives up to any expectations. The is the worst game I have ever played.
The most important part of an RPG gets botched.
I imagine a bunch of Dungeons and Dragons players at Sony were playing Final Fantasy and said to themselves, "We can do better than that". This is what I honestly believe, because the plot and characters feel like they were taken out of a D&D game. We have the damsel in distress to start the game, and our hero Dart goes off to save her. What follows is a very poorly conceived plot of dragons returning and our hero off to stop them. And just about every RPG cliche is in here. You have your prison level, forest level, water town, and everything you've seen before. And you also have the hero with a dark past, the mysterious dark guy, the mysterious dark girl who's really an ally, a female childhood friend, a hyperactive cutesy girl, a fist fighter, and a big guy with a bigger axe. There is literally no original ideas when it comes to the plot or it's characters. This makes me cry. The remaining cast is no better. There's the king with a servant who plans on overthrowing the king, the big bad prison manager who gets angry and hurts his henchmen, and really evil guys that are really evil for no good reason.
Another problem is the game has no outlet or humor to relive the bad story. Everything here is dead serious all the time.
What really hurts the game and makes it unplayable for me is the horrible dialogue and translation job done here. There are typos everywhere in the game. Now, an RPG usually has a lot of dialogue and I can forgive most games of having a few mistakes. But even Final Fantasy 7 is not as bad as this. What's worse, the dialogue is completely bland and devoid of any voice. Everyone sounds almost robotic. There is no character or emotion to anything. Unlike recent games (or even Working Design's translation jobs), all the text is delivered in flat, boring and uninteresting ways. You can even predict what characters will say.
To summarize in one word: Horrible.
The graphics are a mixed bag. Like many Playstation titles, this one has 3D characters over 2D rendered backgrounds. The 3D looks awful. Characters are very jaggy and the character designs are very boring. The animation is really bad; nothing looks fluid. Combine these and you have a painful watching experience. The only saving grace might have been the 2D backdrops, but no, most are confusing as hell to really enjoy them.
And there's no style in this game! Everything, even the character designs, are monotone. The game's various locations are boring and deserted. There's very little color use here too; most backgrounds are either green or brown. Yuck.
I have good news and bad news about the FMV. The good is, what's offered here is, admittedly, great. It's obvious this is where most of the designer's focus went into, because the engine running this stuff is impressive.
Ready for the bad? The FMV is used for really boring parts of the game. Instead of having a FMV of our heroes escaping or doing something exciting (a la Final Fantasy 7), we get a monologue on how the world began. Seriously. It's a real kick in the balls when the game has us watch impressive history videos. Unfortunately this makes up 3/4 of the FMV used. There is so much untapped potential here, it's really sad to see it go to waste on something incredibly boring.
To summarize, the game makes my eyes bleed.
--Battle System/Gameplay-- 2/10
Here's where the game actually redeems itself a bit. In the battle system, you press X at the right moment to attack, and if you're successful, you can do it again to inflict more damage. You can also turn into a dragoon to do more button timing and cast magic. This is admittedly pretty fun, taking a page from Super Mario RPG. But even here there are flaws. For one, why does it take so bloody long to load a battle up? The game slowly moves to the battle site where the camera zooms and swoops, then we finally battle, and afterwards take a good while to load back up. And even in-battle, the game takes a good 5 seconds longer than it should determining who goes next. This makes playing through the game very slow paced. And what's up with the experience points? You hardly gain anything from battle. Unlike other games where everyone earns the same experience, characters here share what they earn. If you beat some monsters and got 21 exp, 21 divided by 3 characters gives everyone 7 exp. This is the only game I can think of that does this, and makes leveling up a real chore.
Let's go back to timing battles, shall we? Unfortunately there are more problems. The timing is very tough; you need to hit it at the exact moment. The game doesn't offer much leeway if you make a mistake. And some combos you can execute go so fast, you can never react if a different command comes up, which causes you not only to fail, but take damage as well.
Outside of battle is not much better. Battles are random so you can't avoid them, and most dungeons boil down to exploring the place for a log time until you figure out where to go.
To summarize, whatever fun is here is bogged heavily by annoying issues.
The sound effects here and music sound like throwaways from the 16-bit era. Bad 16 bit music is the perfect way to describe the game's soundtrack. It's pretty bad when I can't find a single piece of music I like in the game. The sound effects don't fare any better. The menu sounds and clicks are supposed to be soft on the ears, which is a far cry from the buwooom and CLICK my ears get treated to here. There is some voice acting in the FMV, but it's mostly forgettable stuff.
There's nothing good here either.
Despite all the negative things I feel about the game, I actually finished the entire thing. Mostly to say I could. All the while, though, I was hoping it would open up to something better than what it was, and that never happened. Even still, there are a lot of people out there that love this game, and it's an opinion I can't see eye to eye with, because there's absolutely nothing original or exciting within this game. Due to the differing opinions of RPG players, you may want to read some more opinions about the game before making a play it or don't play it decision. As for me, I would highly recommend that everyone avoid playing this game.
Reviewer's Score: 1/10 | Originally Posted: 12/04/08
Game Release: The Legend of Dragoon (Greatest Hits) (US, 12/31/01)
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.