Developer: Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
Publisher: NIS America, Inc.
Platform: PlayStation 3
Legasista is a fairly standard dungeon-crawling RPG. Go into a dungeon, kill monsters, get loot, equip the best drops, and do it all over again. While most dungeon-crawlers lack a story that drives the game, Legasista does not. And at a glance, Legasista appears to be an updated version of Cladun for the PS3.
In Legasista, you initially take the role of Alto Straiter, an adventurer who comes to the Ivy Tower searching for a way to return his sister (now a crystal) to her human form. After meeting Ms. Dungeon and poking around the Ivy Tower, he eventually comes across Melize, an ancient weapon with a humanoid form who tries to kill Alto. It turns out that Melize’s memory is corrupt, she reboots with no memory of prior events (or even her own functions) and joins Alto to try and restore her memory.
The thing that initally stood out about Legasista is that it is entirely in Japanese with English subtitles. I normally skip over the dialogue but this was an exception because the voices fit the characters so well and the intonation was great. The voice acting is pretty good, so I can see why this decision was made. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. In this case that means sticking with the Japanese voices.
I’m a fan of the character designs in Legasista. Melize is soft-spoken while the witch Leina is aggressive. The difference in personality is reflected well in their attire. Leina is more showy in appearance while Melize’s clothes are more conservative. It’s these changes in design that make the characters more diverse. Also, it’s refreshing to see a cast in this genre that isn’t entirely composed of big-breasted, nearly-naked women and overly-muscled men.
The combat is similar to that of Cladun. It is not turn-based and is pretty simple at face value. Hit Circle to whack things and X to jump. The simple combat quickly changes from smacking things until they die into making use of the layout of the floors. That includes luring enemies into the line of fire of traps laid out in the dungeon and leading them away one by one for easier kills. While the combat is action-oriented, I quickly grew impatient. I chose to ignore timing my attacks and trying to just muscle through encounters. Of course, I wasn’t able to sustain that tactic forever. The dungeons rapidly grew harder and I would find myself trapped in corners. You’ll need an eye for strategy to survive in this game.
Another interesting thing is that instead of a health bar, your equipment takes the damage until it breaks. This means that you lose the stat bonuses that item grants you as you sustain damage. Don’t worry though, your equipment will be as good as new once you exit the dungeon. If all of your equipment breaks then your character faints and you exit the dungeon, losing everything you picked up while inside. Thankfully, you can form parties of up to three characters so your health pool is pretty large. Of course, who you choose to stick in your party determines how you attack. Alto is able to equip bows and daggers, allowing him to be fairly versatile. While I had the choice of bows, I decided not to use them because you have to wait a while between shots. Powered up shots do more damage but take longer to fire. Melize was my go-to for physical combat because of the high range of her spears, despite the attacks being slightly weaker.
There is also a mana bar that you use for spells but I chose to save my mana for healing and tight spots. Aiming spells was too much of a hassle when enemies kept running around or hitting me every time I got in range to cast. I felt physical attacks allowed me to be more mobile.
One of my biggest complaints is that Legasista is exclusively on the PS3. Nippon Ichi and NIS America missed an opportunity for Cross Play with Legasista. I feel like porting the game to my PS Vita would allow me to enjoy it more in general. It’s simply better suited for on-the-go play. Because the dungeons are so short, you can easily sit down and complete one or two floors during a 10 minute break. You could even complete an entire dungeon while commuting. Even when I did find the time to sit down with my PS3, I was only able to play Legasista for about an hour before I wanted to move on. This game is incredibly repetitive.
All in all, Legasista is your average dungeon-crawler. If you’re near a PS3 more often than not, then you can rest assured that this game is a safe buy. However, if your life is more on-the-go like mine, you may want to pick up games like Cladun or Unchained Blades instead. That’s assuming you have a handheld of course.