Review by TBranford
"This is proof that Sony CAN make RPGs.."
Role playing games have always been one of my favorite kind of game, ever since I first played the original Dragon Warrior a few years back. I do not know why, but I have usually preferred the more traditional turn based role playing games to the real time battles of some of the role playing games out there (like Legend of Mana). However, I will admit there has been a recent lack of innovation when it came to battles in turn based games. Now, games like Final Fantasy 8 and Star Ocean: The Second Story have tried some new things and succeeded, so Sony decided to try new things in their latest role playing game, called Legend of Dragoon. I will be the first to admit that they did try a bunch of new things, and most of them paid off in the long run. The battle system is very unique and leads to some entertaining battles, although it does have problems. The storyline is probably the only major flaw in an otherwise great game that deserves to be mentioned in the names of the classic role playing games.
Granted, the storyline in this game is really not that bad. It is actually rather interesting, and you will want to follow it throughout the game. However, there are three major problems with it. One, there seems to be way too much stuff going on at once for you to keep track of. At least, I had problems with keeping track of the storyline in the game. The main character, Dart, is out to avenge the destruction of his town, Neet, against the ''Black Monster'', who destroyed his hometown 18 years ago. Along the way, he meets a variety of characters like Lavitz (imperial solider) and Shana (a childhood friend who he has not seen in five years.) The second problem is a problem also encountered in Star Ocean: The Second Story. The dialog is simply terrible and sounds very robotic, same with the voice acting. I wish there would have been more emotion felt in the storyline of the game. The third problem is the fact that it doesn’t quite have the same feeling as a Final Fantasy 7 does. You never really feel like you are part of the game, and there is really no emotional attachment when it comes to the characters. Regardless, it is still decent. The storyline is the only major flaw of the game. Overall, the storyline is decent but suffers from some major problems.
This is definitely one of the best looking games ever made for the Sony Playstation. Everything about the game looks incredible, from some of the backgrounds to the battle scenes to the full motion videos. First off, I have to talk about the full motion videos in the game. If you thought the videos in SquareSoft’s games could not be beaten, then you were wrong, because these videos are a lot better than the SquareSoft produced ones, if you can believe that. Everything in the videos look crystal clear, and the quality is simply amazing. Then there are the backgrounds. The backgrounds in the game are well varied, especially some of the ones featured in the towns. They look amazing also, as you can make out individual details in some of the backgrounds in the game. Just look at some of the waterfalls, etc. in the game, they look beautiful. Character designs in the game are great, although they remind me too much of that other game (especially Dart, who basically is Cloud Strife of FF7 fame, with a red outfit instead of a blue and black one). Enemy designs in the game are awesome, as well, as there is a wide variety of enemy designs. However, I did notice something about the battle graphics in the game. Is it just me, or do they look an awful lot like the battle graphics in Final Fantasy 7? I mean, with the character shadows and everything? Overall, the graphics in the game are simply amazing and this is one of the best looking Playstation games ever made.
Music and Sound Effects (8/10)
One of the most important factors in determining the quality of a role playing game is the quality of the music in the game. The music in Legend of Dragoon is wonderful, although not perfect. The battle music is great, and I noticed that there was a few different battle themes in the game. They all sound great, even if I did expect something a tad better (will anything ever beat the FF7 battle music?) The victory music is awesome too, although it does sound a lot like the battle theme. The victory and battle theme music run very smoothly together, as you hear the battle music, then when you win you hear the victory music, then you hear the battle music again when you gain your experience points, gold pieces, etc. It definitely is an innovative idea, and it sounds great, although it does sound too similar. The battle theme can get to be annoying after a while, however. The rest of the music is pretty good, I especially like the music in the castles, it sounds awesome and is the best music in the entire game. There is definitely a wide variety of music, and it sounds great. Now, onto sound effects. The sound effects are great, and the coolest thing about the sound effects are that there is voice acting featured! Unfortunately, most of the voice acting is not up to par (it doesn’t sound like it should in terms of what scene the voice acting occurs) but the voice acting during battles is good. The only voice acting you really hear during battle are when the character calls out the name of the Addition you just performed. Otherwise, the battle sound effects are pretty basic. Overall, the music is not the best ever but is decent enough, and the sound effects are great and include decent voice acting.
Gameplay and Control (7/10)
Legend of Dragoon is one of the most innovative games I have ever played in terms of gameplay and control, although it does have some problems which I feel I must discuss. First, let me get the problems out of the way. The main one is the rather innovative battle system can prove to get quite annoying after a while, which means the battles soon become tedious and rather boring. I mean, it is fun to push X at a certain time, but if you get out of the rhythm you may not gain it back, and soon you get frustrated because you are not performing the Additions regularly. So right there is a major flaw. Also, there are some control issues, and the magic system is not up to par.
Battle System: This is one of the most innovative battle systems I have ever seen in a role playing game. Battles are turn based, which means that you attack your enemy, then it attacks, etc. However, sometimes the basic pattern gets thrown off balance, which gets rather annoying. Anyways, the battle system is a lot like Final Fantasy 7’s, just subtract the limit breaks and add a new system called the Addition System. When you attack the enemy, a blue box appears. Hitting the enemy at just the right time unleashes a powerful attack, called an Addition. You can take care of the additions in the menu screen. There are some problems with the battle system, however. The battles soon becoming tedious and rather boring, because you will soon tire of it. I mean, it is fun to push X at a certain time, but if you get out of the rhythm you may not gain it back, and soon you get frustrated because you are not performing the Additions regularly. I remember I had to quit the game at least six times because my button timing had fallen apart, and that is just not right.
Other Stuff: The cool thing about the battle system is the fact you can turn into a Dragoon after you earn the power, all you have to do is use your attacks enough and soon you will reach the potential to be a Dragoon. As you raise your levels, you raise your Dragoon level, which is important because you can use your Dragoon more the higher your Dragoon level is. To gain new additions, you simply gain levels. Every few levels, you gain a new addition. You can also raise Addition level by using them enough times.
Overall, this is one of the most innovative role playing games I have ever played, but it is not without faults, as the battle system can prove to be quite fun but soon gets tedious and boring after a while. This is the only reason I am giving the game an only decent score instead of a higher score.
Replay Value: Above Average
This is a fun game, and it is a role playing game, so automatically it will have good replay value. The game is quite long (four CDs!!) which means you will be busy for a while. So, you will definitely want to play through the game until you see the wonderful ending. Once you beat the game, you might want to go through it again to get all the secrets you missed (like collecting all the stardust) but you may remember all the tedious and rather boring battles you had to go through in order to complete the game, you might think twice before wanting to complete the game again. So, bottom line is this: you will want to play through the entire game once, then you may think twice before deciding whether or not to play through the entire game again. Overall, the replay value is above average for a while, you will want to play through the entire game once, then you may think twice before deciding whether or not to play through the entire game again.
Challenge: A Little Above Average
I really did not have that much trouble completing this game. The most challenge I had was trying to raise my various levels and Addition levels, as you have to go through many tedious and boring battles just to gain enough experience and use your additions enough to raise the various levels. Leveling up is vital, however, as there are many tough boss battles in the game, and plenty of long dungeons. I advise spending a lot of time battling (as much as I know it is boring and tedious) in order to be strong enough to win some of the more challenging battles in the game. This is really a challenging game in certain areas, but mostly it is pretty simple for role playing game veterans, as there is nothing really new here in terms of challenge, besides the leveling up and boss battles. Overall, this is a decent challenge although it is tough in certain areas for all the wrong reasons.
Overall, this is one of the most innovative role playing games I have ever played, but it is not without faults, as the battle system can prove to be quite fun but soon gets tedious and boring after a while. This is the only reason I am giving the game an only decent score instead of a higher score. The graphics are outstanding (especially the full motion videos, those are amazing and rival SquareSoft), the music and sound effects are great, and the gameplay introduces some new ideas. This may not be the perfect role playing game in any sense of the word, but I am sure you will enjoy this game, especially if you are a big fan of role playing games. It does have problems but overall it is definitely a good game.
Would Terra Branford buy this game?
After renting it, I decided to buy it, because it is rather long and is pretty fun to play. If you are not a role playing game fan, this game is not going to change your mind, and is worth a rental at best.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/22/00, Updated 07/22/00
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