Today’s JRPGs are of an entirely different breed than the one of the 90’s and early 00s as now they are part of mainstream culture and try to cater to everyone whereas in the bygone era they catered to their core audience and because of that we had the golden age of JRPGs of which I had the fortune of living through and loving. Classics such as Chrono Trigger, Grandia, Breath of Fire, Final Fantasy, Phantasy Star, and even Sony’s own Legend of Dragoon where mainstays in the minds and hearts of JRPG gamers the world over and are still with us today. Those games told magnificent stories of conquest, love, discovery and more and truly put an emphasis on bonding with the characters and making them into living breathing people/creatures that you cheered on or hated. Now that I am done going down my nostalgia trip of the golden age of JRPGs the question now is does this new title developed by SemiSoft called Legrand Legacy: Tale of The FateBound for the Nintendo Switch live up to or exceed the bar that’s been set by the legacy of those games I mentioned and take risks along the way or does it fall flat and play too closely to nostalgia without creating something new, memorable, and original? Let’s dive in!
Legrand Legacy is stars the amnesiac Finn and opens up with him in a battle coliseum not sure how he got there or why he has to fight and you see him losing to another warrior of whom gives him his signature scars especially the ones covering his left eye and bridge of his nose as well as the large crossed shaped scar on his chest covering his left pectoral. You are then greeted by an old man who ends up buying you and making you his servant/slave and is in need of you being able to help him travel to meet his daughter as he will need protection going forward. Now I could go into more of the plot but there is a lot that occurs in the first 2 hours of the game let alone the first 30 minutes so for that you’ll need to experience it yourself as while it may not come off as the most original plot it is in my opinion very engaging none the less and entertaining.
Like most traditional JRPGs, Legrand Legacy is a turn-based game that evokes a lot of Legend of Dragoon and even Final Fantasy IX in many ways from its graphical style to its town exploration and especially the overworld map of Legend of Dragoon when traveling to new locations. Like games from that era it’s important to make sure you speak to everyone and seek out new equipment and items for your journey. One of the aspects of this game I love and it shows that while the developers were staying true to old school gaming they also saw the need to modernize the formula by adding in the ability to quick travel to previous locations.
When it comes to the battles it really shows how inspired by classics such as Legend of Dragoon as you have the option of having button prompts after selecting an attack or magic ability to boost their effectiveness, in essence it’s a quick time event which can be set to a standard same button press ala Legend of Dragon and Lost Odyssey style or can be set to randomized button inputs to keep you on your toes guessing. If command prompts aren’t your style then you can also just turn this off to just focus on what attack, magic, or items that you want to use. You’re given a 3 party member setup going into battles with a focus on positioning and timed attacks: if your character is in the front lines you take on more damage but also dish out more as well just as if you are in the back row you would take less damage and also deal less damage if you’re a close ranged fighter however if you are a ranged fighter then your best bet is to put them in the rear ranks and fire away as they will take less damage yet dish out the same regardless of the distance unless you using buffs for stat boosts or afflicted with debuffs. One of the cool things I like about the battles is that you’re able to interrupt the enemies attacks so if they were about to hit you with a devastating attack and you timed it right and hit them then you just canceled their turn, in like manner enemies can do this to you as well so do keep that in mind.
Graphically the game looks drop dead gorgeous and really makes every local look and feel distinctly different from the previous and the next. Each character has a great look to them and are animated very fluidly showcasing their personalities in stance of the games lack of voice acting as in with Finn you can tell his naiveite and pure heartedness based on his expressions where as you can see the regalness of Aria. The subtle animations in the close ups really bring life to the characters in a way that I wish we had in the previous eras as you really get to see a broad range of emotions from the characters in these close ups. Now when it comes to enemies or rather the black ball of energy that floats around until you approach them and hen enter battle, well that’s another topic entirely. It doesn’t at all bother me but I have seen and heard others complain about the blandness of the designs of the enemies and of the backgrounds in battle not being much to look at but again to each their own as it doesn’t bother me as im from the era where this was a norm.
I’m only going to say of the OST that I LOVE it and leave it at that, go look it up on YouTube and I promise you wont be disappointed.
What are some downsides to this game? Well the only one I’ve seen is the lack of voice acting as I;ve grown used to hearing characters speak in video games and it is a bit of a step back to go back to reading however I find it to be a plus because it allows me to interpret how they should or would sound with my own imagination versus having to just accept what is coming out of a characters mouth based on a voice actors take on a character. Other issues are the load times into and out of battle which again to me aren’t an issue however for many they may find it to be such as RPGs these days are very snappy into and out of battle and often don’t even transition away from where the characters are to get into a battle. It’s an acquired taste for the newer generation to get used to these old troupes but for us old heads it wont bother us or if at all.
All in all I have to say that I find Legrand Legacy to be a truly stunning return to form of the JRPGs of yesteryear as I thoroughly enjoyed my time in this world and have come to cherish and love the characters, settings, and the story. If you’re looking for a great new JRPG with a solid story and epic gameplay, then make sure you pick up Legrand Legacy as it is truly one of the modern day gems that you should not miss and that any JRPG fan would love. As a fan of RPGs from the golden era of gaming I must say that this is simply a MUST OWN game. The story, characters, OST, and setting deliver on a level that would make Hironobu Sakaguchi proud! Legrand Legacy is KASANOVA APPROVED