Review by Mizumon

"Not good enough for a legend..."

I love Japanese myth, the medieval ages, the arts of magic, and the works of J. K. Rowling and the authors that work for Wizards of the Coast. With such an interesting bunch as hobbies and activities that I enjoy in my resume, certainly enough one would expect me to be a person who dressed in costume to line up for the Lord of the Rings movies (of course, that is not suggesting that I did). However, it's plausible to say that this game was one of the first RPG's that sparked an undeniable love for dragoons all around the globe.

STORYLINE: 8/10 ''What are drag-goons? I'm not sure I understand what this game is about, buddy...''

By the time most of us had this game, I'm sure we can all agree that by some standards we all knew what a dragoon was; somebody or something that rode, fought, or dressed in the intricate ways of the mystical dragon, a powerful reptile with huge wings and (in most cases) a mouth that can breathe fire (and I mean the blow out breathe, not the breathe in breathe). When I bought this game, I looked at the colorful drawing of the main character I would soon meet, Dart, in a orange-and-red armor that seemed to be the essence of glowing fire. Being the ever-interested-in-mythology one, it was obvious to my friends why I had gotten this game - if it had dragons, swords, magic, and a good storyline, I was sure to buy it. And sure enough, it had all of those things.

The storyline of the Legend of Dragoon is probably known to the RPG community as the common rerun found on television; it focuses a lot on revenge, and more often that not, the gamer will lazily glance at the screen and say, ''Yeah, what else is new?'' Sure, this storyline may not be the best one in an RPG in a long time, but we have to consider the material itself; indeed, this type of story may best be labeled as 'tried and true', but it certainly hinges on a GOOD 'tried and true' story. I would hate to reveal more, but for the first time in a long time of RPG's, somebody... well, you'll find out eventually.

However, to those gamers who love character development and interaction, I would advise you to not come to this game; each character hardly seems different from the rest until the final few hours of the game, and even then the slight change in the characters are so late in the game that you honestly wouldn't care. Even Dart, the main character of the game, displays the same emotions throughout the entire course of the story over and over again, causing a creative cast of characters that all have interesting backgrounds, but sadly also all have monotonous personalities.

The game first throws us into a camera view of a woman standing on a rock cliff staring into a forest below, as a seemingly calm scene suddenly erupts to a sudden dramatic tune as an ugly dragon, as the game states, pokes its head above the tree line and screeches a rather odd roar. The woman, alert, seems to have been searching for this oversized lizard, and leaps towards the forest. The scene soon switches over, however, to a young man running in the forest, seemingly blind to the fact of the noise around him caused by the dragon. In a hair breadth's time, the mysterious black-clad woman rescues our hero from the roaring onslaught of the green dragon. As the mythical creature disappears, so apparently does our female warrior. As the young man continues his journey towards his home village (his goal for this entire time, apparently) he finds the place in ruins, caused by soldiers in search of the man's childhood friend. The story pretty much continues on from there, and if by now you find yourself yawning, don't worry; the story does pick up a bit more after a while, and although it may not amaze you as RPG's once did, it will certainly last you long enough for you to watch the game from beginning to end.

GAMEPLAY: 7/10 ''Darn it, why won't you double-slash! Come on... just about... NOW! Oh no, I missed AGAIN...''

The above quote may seem familiar to new players to Legend of Dragoon. Old school RPG gamers will realize that the battle system in this RPG is quite different to those we are all familiar with - rather than us just giving the command to attack, the game forces us to actually help our characters strike the enemies vital points in order to do damage. We either go along or have a very difficult time with this game. I remember a time when I played this game I had such difficulty with the system I nearly threw my controller at the screen out of frustration; there will certainly be times when your finger and your dexterity won't save you into pulling off massive and large-damage combos in this game. When you attack, a small box focused on the enemy will blink at certain times (or for people who can't react to this box, there's a symbol of the X button at the corner of the screen that, at the moment the box flashes, will look pushed down) and at those times, we gamers are forced to press down on the select button in order to deal damage to the enemy. At first, you will only have access to a small amount of combos you can perform, such as Double Strike or Tornado. However, as you progress up in levels, your characters will learn harder and more powerful combos that, if not trained carefully, you will probably neglect and forget about in a few hours' time.

Moving around is simple enough, if at times a little frustrating; there are sometimes puzzles in areas that require careful presses on the X button that are quick to anger RPG gamers with little patience. Not only that, non-playable characters often get in your way if they are even present in this game, and some passages and hallways are made so narrow it seems like a chore to simply press in a perfect direction to navigate through rooms.

I honestly don't remember any mini-games present in this game, other than probably a few small few that honestly have no large impact in the game for other than some small, petty prizes that really don't matter. To those gamers who look to mini-games for a break from the story, you honestly won't find any interesting ones here.

In conclusion, the only good thing that probably came out of Legend of Dragoon was probably the battles, and the battles alone probably kept me going throughout the game. Albeit the storyline was quite interesting in some parts, it would take, in my general opinion, a strong determination to finish this game.

MUSIC AND SOUND: 5/10 ''It's okay, bro, just leave the radio on; in fact, I'll even mute the television.''

There are SOME moments in Legend of Dragoon that shine through the game music-wise, such as some parts of the battle music, but otherwise most of the other songs in Legend of Dragoon are honestly boring and have the effect of a lullaby, but sadly sounds much worse. I honestly couldn't care much for the music in the Legend of Dragoon; it was all so monotonous and boring that I always muted the game and put on more interesting music such as the radio.

As for sounds; well, the characters do talk during battle and noises such as sword slashes and other things are represented in this game, and I guess surely enough they are done well enough to make the game realistic. In fact, I would have to say at times the sounds going on around you sounded better than the music ringing in your ears most of the time.

CONCLUSION: 7/10 ''After spending forty hours on this game... I guess it wasn't so bad.''

In conclusion, the Legend of Dragoon isn't as bad as most players put it, but it certainly has major flaws and faults that can make even the most dedicated and interested of players put down their controllers and turn away from this foul game.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/04


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