Review by Gbness
"It all clashes together, but not without some flaws."
When I looked at this game on some website I thought, ''Wow! What an awesome game this looks like...''. And so with that $25 gift certificate I got from winning Review of the Month, I tried to get it on Amazon, only to find that I couldn't. I couldn't buy it used, I just wasn't allowed to do that. Needless to say, I was slightly disappointed when I found this out. So out of total surprise, my mom bought me this game for only $10! How pleased I was. I then happily inserted Disc 1 into my PlayStation, and was shortly blown away. The only problem is that not every thing reaches excellence.
Legend of Dragoon was a game that wasn't really hyped to much extent. Several reviews on this very site gave it a 1-2/10 and there were also a lot of reviews that were from 4-5 out of 10. These scores here, I don't think the game deserves. But that's not saying Legend of Dragoon doesn't have any bad points. For one thing, the addition system is fairly troublesome, the storyline appears to be rather unoriginal, and some parts of the game were tedious. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed Legend of Dragoon but not as much as I would have hoped for.
The storyline in the game is pretty complex, but it is something like this: 10,000 years ago, there was a large war. It was between the humans, the dragons, and the Winglies. The humans were very weak, the dragons were extremely dangerous, and the Winglies were overpowering the humans. So what could the humans do? They took control over the dragons and became dragoons, and then they slaughtered the Winglies. The main character Dart just happens to have some of the power of the dragoons... but I'm afraid I can't tell you any more because that would be a huge spoiler. Overall I enjoyed Legend of Dragoon's story, but the more I went through the game, the more I believed that I had found it in one or two of my other games...
Legend of Dragoon has its fair share of good characters and bad characters. First of all, it features the main character, Dart. He, like a lot of other classic RPG heroes, has golden spiky hair and a nasty sword. He also has very little personality. Cloud from Final Fantasy VII, anyone? Two characters you get quickly afterwards are Lavitz and Shana. Lavitz is a knight and Shana is Dart's sweetheart. Some other characters are a king named Albert, a dark, cold, and rather mysterious woman named Rose, an old fighter named Haschel, a retarded girl named Meru, a giant from a race called the Gigantos, Kongol, and a stubborn maiden named Miranda. Unfortunately though, the game focuses most upon Dart, Rose, Shana, and maybe a couple other characters, so these three basically have much better development.
The gameplay for Legend of Dragoon is pretty good, but right now I really have to get one thing off my chest: the addition system. I have to admit that some people seem to think it's much worse than it really is, but that's not saying that the addition system couldn't have used some improvements. When you have a character attack, a square appears in the center of the screen, and an X or O appears on the right. If it's an X, that's good. When some light gets to the square, you have to press X. With your first addition, that's all you need to do. However, if you fail to do this in the beginning, Dart attacks for about 2 damage, but does 5 or 6 damage if you time this correctly. Most enemies don't have very much HP, though. So it appears to be like Final Fantasy VIII, huh?
Unfortunately, the addition system really starts out perfectly, but it doesn't get too great a little later on. Each character learns different additions and it gets much more complex with them. With some of the later ones, anyway, your timing skills go to work. You first press X... and then press it again really quickly. Do this five times, and you get a perfect attack. It's okay doing this at first, but when you have to do it perfectly a lot of the time, it gets nasty. There's also the O that occasionally appears when you do the addition. This means that red light will appear, and instead of tapping X, you must tap O. If you fail to do this, you end up with little damage done to your enemy, and even with a little damage to yourself! If you hate the sound of this system so far, I wouldn't recommend the game.
Now let's get on to the good points. Most of the Final Fantasy games featured Limit Breaks. Legend of Dragoon has a similar little thing that you can do, once you reach a certain point in Disc 1. At this point, you are allowed to morph into a dragoon. You don't turn into a dragoon by just letting the enemy hit you though. You turn into a dragoon by attacking the enemy and gaining SP. When you get 100 SP or something like that, your character turns into a dragoon. This is actually a very good system, and even better than the way of getting Limit Breaks in some of the Final Fantasies. But of course, not everything is good because when you reach this great power, you reach a large amount of complexity.
The dragoons have two options: attack or magic. Attacking is cool, but it's not everything it's cracked up to be. Sure, the attack is FUN to do and it does a huge amount of damage, but there are some holes. One thing is that the additions still come to use here. Fortunately though, additions as dragoons are easier to use than those used by humans. What happens is that a circle appears on the upper right side of the screen. There is a light on the top of the screen. So you press X to start this. A little light goes around this circle, and when it gets to the light at the top, you hit X and then it does this again. Do it four times and the attack is unleashed with super power, about twice as strong as the normal attack. Fail it and the attack still hits, but to far less damage. So it's not as bad as the regular Additions.
Magic for the Dragoons is also pretty good and doesn't require any real X pushing. Although if you do it 2000 times it'll get annoying, but at first it's awesome, and since you'll most likely use Additions with the Dragoons instead of Magic and it's not like you get the Dragoon power every battle, it's mostly great. Regular magic is used by items, but it's a little different. An X appears on the right of the screen and you have to go tap, tap, tap and mash down the X on your controller to increase the damage. It's judged by a percentage, and every hit at the X button increases it by 2%. And there's not much room for error. If the strength is at 110%, it does about 15 damage, while at 200% or so, it does close to 50 damage. So if you don't like all the X tapping needed for the game, it's up to you whether or not to buy the game, although it does have other good points.
The game itself is pretty fun to go through, if you don't end up in a lot of battles. And if you do, basically all you have to do is have the basic, easy Additions on the characters. The dragoon system used in the game is pretty addictive, so most of the game is excellent. There's only one problem though: the game is quite linear. The world map doesn't offer very much freedom; it is all in one yellow line. Almost all of the game you'll be forced to go in a basic straight line through it, but it clashes together pretty well. I mean, linearity and a lack of difficulty go together perfectly. So this will bring me to the game's challenge, however small it may be. If you aren't put down by the Addition system, there should be very little challenge in the game.
And thus I come to the game's graphics, which are a little of a mix. Legend of Dragoon has some of the best graphics I have seen in a Sony game or even a PlayStation game, and they are better than Final Fantasy VII's graphics to say the least, but the characters aren't extremely detailed. At times, the bodies are pretty blocky. This is the only bad point; the backgrounds more than make up for the occasional blocky characters. Tons of them are beautiful and very well detailed. Enemy designs in the game aren't as bad as the characters, and most of the bosses look excellent, particularly a large snake one. Overall, Legend of Dragoon has very good graphics.
Legend of Dragoon is one of the few RPGs that I have played with voice acting, although the voice acting only takes place in battles. When the character does a Dragoon spell or an Addition, they even say the name of it! This was very cool... the other sounds like fire, sword slashing and all that are excellent. Even though the music is really nothing that special, I found most of it quite enjoyable to listen to. For some strange reason, Legend of Dragoon was gifted two battle themes and two boss themes. One of the battle themes is nice and sounds like an outdoor theme. This is my preferred theme. Both boss themes are great. The menu theme (yes, you heard me) is a very good song as well, and the world map theme also rocks. Overall, Legend of Dragoon has very good sound.
Overall, Legend of Dragoon had a lot of bad points. The addition system is really confusing, the game is a little too easy, the storyline is fairly unoriginal, and it's also rather linear, seeing as how the world map is a straight line. =P A good thing is that all the bad points and good points are very balanced, and while the game holds the bad points, it holds good ones like the nice graphics and sound, the addictive Dragoon system and spells, and the occasional fun game and storyline. Overall I was forced to give Legend of Dragoon a 7/10 because it is flawed deeply in several places, but it maintains with a good game in it. Nice job, Sony. I am happy to admit that I enjoyed Legend of Dragoon.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/31/03
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