By Fabrice Stellaire / January 31st, 2018
|Publisher||Another Indie, Mayflower Entertainment|
|Release Date||January 24th,2018|
Those who believed JRPGs were dying have certainly been proven wrong over the last few years. Not only are they surviving well, but they are also gaining ground every day on Steam. With Legrand Legacy, we venture into a world devastated by war, which is about to face an ancient threat. Can we face this legacy?
Our adventure starts in media res as Finn, the hero, is forced to fight in an arena. When all hope seems to be lost, he finds the strength to defeat his foe by using an unknown power. He is then helped by an old traveler, who buys his freedom and takes him on a trip. This is the beginning of a long adventure which will lead our hero to face unexpected challenges in order to face a threat even worse than the current wars the world is dealing with. We are quickly introduced to the fighting system, which uses classic elements from JRPGs. Enemies have different weaknesses and resistances, and you have to adapt your strategy accordingly. Finn, for example, uses slash attacks, and will have a hard time against enemies resistant to slash attacks, who will, in turn, be vulnerable to pierce attacks, which characters like Aria can deal. Every time you attack with weapons or magic, a small QTE circle appears, and you have to push a button at the right moment in order to deal more damage.
Characters can also decide to use the guard mode, a defensive stance which allows them to reduce damage while temporarily gaining a small bonus, like the ability to reflect damage, regenerate life, or provoke enemies. The guard mode will sometimes be almost mandatory to survive some encounters against powerful foes, in order to raise your arcana bar and deal devastating attacks. Arcana attacks are the most powerful attacks our heroes can use and will be very useful during the hardest fights. After a while you will get used to the gameplay. The first few hours can be a bit frustrating and hard, but once your team starts to get more members, you will be able to survive more easily. The game allows you to save your progress almost anywhere, except those places which have monsters, and dungeons generally have life pools that will regenerate your life when you walk over them.
When they are not fighting, your heroes generally explore towns, which provide different services like a blacksmith to craft new weapons, an item shop, or a chest to store your items. Towns also provide optional quests which will reward you with experience and useful items. Each town has a different background and different history, and you will gradually discover how the whole world of Legrand works. War, slavery and social inequalities plague the world of Legrand and you will figure out how and why our heroes want to change this situation. I will note that each character has a rather developed background and story. Aria is a noblewoman who tries to hide her emotions, Finn is an amnesiac and idealistic hero and Eris is a young, shy girl who also happens to be a Norn, a member from an ancient race of people with magic powers. There are also other protagonists that will join your team later, but I will let you discover them. One issue with many independent JRPGs is that they do not develop their characters in a satisfying way. While the protagonists of Legrand Legacy do not avoid stereotypes, they benefit from thorough work on their background and personality.
The graphics, especially environments, may seem a bit dated and you may sometimes feel you are playing an older game. In my opinion, you will get used to this, as the story and gameplay are convincing enough to make you want to beat the game. The music is well made and generally reflects the atmosphere of the places you explore, whether they are mysterious, dangerous or exotic. I noticed some criticisms were addressed regarding the art, and the character design. This is, in my opinion, a rather polarizing and subjective topic, and I will just say that I was fine with the art of the game.
It is important to mention that the game features a decent amount of mini-games that bring some variety to the adventure. Throwing knives at targets, fighting in an arena, fishing, and leading tactical battles on a map are some of the activities offered to you, and they will reward you with different items and gold. Some of them will grant you training points, which can be spent to buy rare items that can be used to raise your stats or craft new weapons. I did not expect all those mini-games and they really color the adventure.
I think that the fights in the game are rather balanced, but the player can be taken off-guard by the composition of the team. Among all the characters available, only Eris is able to heal other characters, and you will have to rely a lot on items to heal your characters. One thing that surprised me at first was how all characters had both physical attacks and magic. Because of their initial statistics, not many characters are good at casting spells, which makes investing points in magic counter intuitive and less effective than reinforcing their strongest statistics. Finn for example, could use fire spells, but even when he uses them against enemies weak against fire, his attacks are not that devastating. Fortunately, the game provides many opportunities to raise your stats by completing side quests or purchasing items, so people who want to upgrade their characters are able to maximize their statistics if they are willing to spend a lot of time on that task.
Beating the main quest took me 30 hours, and if you want to play mini-games and beat all the side quests, you will probably need an 15 additionnal hours. Legrand Legacy is a good JRPG that probably stands among the best indie JRPGs currently available. It is sold for $24.99 on Steam and $27.99 on GOG. Legrand Legacy delivers an entertaining adventure well suited for any JRPG fan looking for a new experience with traditional genre elements.
Review copy provided by the developer
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