Dungeon crawlers are a rare commodity these days, especially if you passed on theClaDun titles released on the PSP due to their niche nature. NIS America, hoping to entice newcomers to the dungeon crawling genre, has made subtle changes to the classic formula with Legasista. Combine this with an endless supply of randomly generated dungeons and we are have a dungeon crawler that can ease in newcomers to a dying genre.
As we begin, our hero Alto, who can be best described as your stereotypical JRPG character, ventures forth on a quest to break the curse that has crystallized his sister. Sounds awfully familiar to another JRPG doesn’t it? Only an ancient weapon has the power to break the curse, so the natural choice is to head to a long lost Forbidden Tower. Before even finishing the tutorial dungeon the search ends as the ancient weapon appears before Alto, although it does try to kill you.
Before Alto is vaporized into a million pieces, the Ancient Weapons – who happens to be a young girl-droid – loses her memory and when she comes to, she has no knowledge about being a weapon of any sort. Yes, I know yet another amnesia story in a JRPG. Exploring the dungeons, you must find “data” and feed it to the her to restore her memory little by little. Along the way some very unique characters will join your party and provide some humorous dialogue. In typical JRPG fashion, the story progresses through dialogue scenes static characters appearing on screen. Hopefully you don’t mind reading; as all of the voice work is in Japanese.
Looking past a rather ho hum story and the stereotypical main character, Legasista has one of the deepest character customization and inventory systems imaginable. Jobs can be changed on a whim and equipping items will have a positive or negative on specific characters stats. For those who aren’t looking to spend an entire night going through each and every item, there is an auto-equip that will select the best items that are available.
Dungeons themselves are quite basic and simple in their design with each floor only utilizing a few different blocks giving everything a clean, but boring appearance. Th combat plays out differently than in any other RPG game that I have played previously. Once you lose all of your hit points, your armor will begin to take damage. Once your armor hits zero, it breaks and won’t be able to be used ever again, while you will be sent back to the entrance to the tower known as the Railyard. Combat consists of figuring out how to exploit enemies so that you can hit them and they will miss every time.
With its randomly generated dungeons, Legasista seems to have an unyielding amount of content to offer players along with tons – and I really mean tons – of character customization. The story carries on the tradition of using overused cliches and the combat is simplistic at best once you figure out how to attack each enemy, but there is something still enjoyable about Legasista.
Note: The Legasista review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.