The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion
Review by boofinator
"The first real RPG for the PSP, does it dissapoint?"
The PSP has been struggling to present gamers in the US with a Role Playing Game since its debut. Untold Legends was the only solution for RPGers, and many don't bode too well with the Diablo scheme. Now gamers have been introduced with three RPGs in a very short amount of time, one of which being The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion' by BANDAI and the famous Falcom.
As with almost all classic' (hey, the game calls itself classic) RPGs, LoH is suitable for only one player. LoH supports only two options at the menu: Start, and Continue. This may quench most RPG players, but at this day and age Bandai should have some other quirks in the game. Another thing that irks me about LoH is that it has no side quests. When I say no side-quests I mean absolutely none. There are zero side quests in LoH. Avin (the main character) has to follow very linear mountain paths, which connect each major city. Inside these cities you will be told where to go, and if Avin tries to exit through another part of the city LoH won't let you. Bandai is confined me to make Legend of Heroes the most linear RPG I have ever played.
Unlike standard fare, LoH doesn't support Random battles. The player can see the enemies on screen; if you are close to a monster and it is a higher level than you, it will run after you. Touching the monster will initiate a battle, and the characters are transported to a battle. Your team is on one side, and the monsters/enemies are on the other. Each character can only move (and cast spells) so far, thusly leaving an option of strategy. Every character is able to attack, use magic, use a deadly (LoH's version of Limit break), skill, move, and use and item. On paper, this system looks so great. But, Bandai made this wonderful system go to waste. Bandai made a bad decision to make all random battles easy. All you have to do through 4/5 of LoH is spam x during battles. Once you realize this, you find that you don't actually have to go into battles at all; the difficulty is so small that leveling up is almost just a waste of time. Money is virtually useless, since you don't need to use any items till late in the game. Since and items are useless, why fight? Not experience since high levels aren't needed until the end of the game. Most people will give up before they reach the end, so no need for leveling up.
Despite the battling, Legend Of Heroes has one terrific story. Bandai and Falcom covered most, if not all loose ends. LoH's awesome story starts, then lies dormant. After the fourth main town, I realized that each town has something weird happen and then Avin decides to go to some random hut and meet up with a secondary character. The character joins the party, and a disturbance threatens the town. You then go to a cave, and defeat monsters in cave (with no boss fights) and then go back to town. Then Avin and Mile return the secondary character to his home and you go to the next town. Each town does flesh out Avin and Mile's character, but overall it seems Bandai could have cut down on some of those towns. Once you cross the ocean however, everything changes. The plot intensifies, and the sceneries change. The game builds up, but the battles are still X mashers. In the last dungeon of the game the battles are no longer button mashers; you actually have to think and plan your moves. Should I use Blah to heal the group, or should I just all out attack this one monster? LoH has an incredible end, with an incredible boss to boot. The characters are incredibly believable, and the plot is so engrossing most hardcore gamers should endure the boring battles just to find out what happens next in the story.
Every RPGer should know the name Falcom. If not, go play one of their games, because Falcom's audio is some of the best I have ever listened to in a game. Simply put, it's amazing. Words can't describe some of the best moments, and people shouldn't try.
Bandai shows its lack of quality though with its horrendous translation. Legend of Heroes is very reminiscent of the all your base are belong to us' days. When a game has a sentence that says, he is not the kind of person who could walk out on a girl who could use his help and keep on a journey I would think someone could, and would say something. It seems Bandai used a free translation program from the Internet and called it quits. Every time you learn a spell/skill/deadly the game says, Avin was [insert spell] mastered. One person should have realized something went awry with the translation. Although the translation does hamper the story, it adds some unintended humor. Many sentences are so ridiculously butchered that features great comic relief to the otherwise serious story.
Legend of Heroes returns to the SNES roots with a 2-D game with an above the character camera, which the player has no control over. This non-ability hampers on the overall beauty of the cities, even if each city is too reminiscent of the previous. The first 6 cities each have a weapons shop, item shop, and adventure guild building. The buildings themselves have the same color, and texture. Every once in a while a city will have water, or a factory, or some trees, but it doesn't take away the fact that the buildings are dull. The Graphics are simply stunning; at least the first time you see them. Paths that connect each city are incredibly alike. Everywhere you travel I feel I am not allowed to do anything but finish the story. No exploring the scenery, not searching for loot, no nothing. The walls look nice and the trees add depth, but the scenery gets old after the 15th time. The view in LoH makes it hard to navigate these paths, and sometimes incredibly difficult to move around cities. The story makes you backtrack a lot; thusly you see the same thing time and time again. I must say Legend of Heroes has some beautiful looking water, snow effects, incredibly looking spells, and beautiful deadlys (tis a shame a lot of the effects are reused).
Legend of Heroes will definitely please people who are only into a great story, and are able to wait for 15-18 hours until it gets decently good. These people must be able to look past the horrendously bad translation, poor town design, boring battles, uninspired countryside, many useless spells, absolutely no side quests, and no amount of customization available. While Legend of Heroes does fill the void of no turn based RPGs on the PSP, it does so in an unfashionable manner. Any hard-core RPGers should pick up a copy, or at least rent (and play profusely for 5 days) LoH.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/14/05
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.