The Legend Of Legacy Is One Hard JRPG

The Legend of Legacy Is One Hard JRPG

Over the past week, I've been spending a lot of time with the new 3DS RPG The Legend of Legacy. If you long for the days of unforgivingly challenging JRPGs, then this is the game for you.

The Legend of Legacy is the brainchild of several people who definitely know their ways around JRPG classics. The story is written by Masato Kato, the author of Chrono Trigger, and the visual design and game design come from Tomomi Kobayashi and Koyoji Koizumi, respectively — who previously did those same jobs for the SaGa series.

So with creators like that, it's no surprise that The Legend of Legacy feels like a blast from the past despite being on the 3DS. And it is in its gameplay where The Legend of Legacy proves itself to be most like the JRPGs of old.

The Legend of Legacy Is One Hard JRPG

The Legend of Legacy is both difficult and unforgiving. If your party dies in battle, it is simply a game over and all progress since your last save is lost.

[Update: Originally, this article stated that a scarcity of save points added to the game's difficulty dramatically by wasting potentially hours of time with each defeat. However, as helpful commenters have pointed out, I overlooked the specifics of the game's quick save feature and have been torturing myself for no reason. You can technically use it to save anywhere.]

While I am only ten hours into the game currently, death has already happened to me several times — mainly thanks to the surprise mini-bosses that appear out of nowhere. These mini-bosses are far stronger than the random enemies in the area; and if you are not prepared for them, you are likely doomed — especially as they are the one enemy type I have encountered that you cannot run away from.

The Legend of Legacy Is One Hard JRPG

To guard against sudden deaths, your only hope is, of course, to level up. However, levelling up in The Legend of Legacy is one heck of a grind. Similar to Romancing SaGa 3, instead of levelling up normally, you level up your characters' individual weapons and skills by using them in battle.

In addition to that, each character can be assigned a role in battle — attack, defend, or support — and those roles also only level up by using them. This means, of course, that any party member who does not participate in battle does not level up at all.

There is very little hand-holding in any facet of The Legend of Legacy — even when it comes to exploring the world. There are no waypoints or even specific quests. It is up to you to go out, map the world, and discover what you need to do.

The Legend of Legacy Is One Hard JRPG

Personally, I've found this game more than a little frustrating. However, if you are one who enjoys difficult games — and specifically difficult JRPGs — you might want to keep this one on your radar. Because you will likely enjoy it.

The Legend of Legacy was released for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan on January 22, 2014. There is currently no word on an international release.


    I don't mind hard turn based JRPG if the combat and leveling system is interesting.

    I just started Shin Megami Tensei (3) Nocturne (Lucifer's Calling) this year and it is extremely challenging but it never feels cheap.

    I'm 20 hours in and there's always been a strategical way to beat the boss and if it's normal doods killing you often, then you've wandered off too far.

    Would love if this came to the west. Having a ball with Fantasy Life and Bravely Default.

    Lol so death and game over is now considered unforgiving. When did the gaming society fall so low now.

      It's a matter of the mechanics and style of gameplay.

      A game in which death is sudden and unpredictable, on the one hand, and costs hours of play time with every death, on the other hand, could reasonably be described as unforgiving.

      Nobody is going to worry too much about dying in a game like Super Meatboy where a death only costs a minute of your time. They won't be too concerned about tough boss encounters in JRPGs when there's usually a save point shortly beforehand.

      I spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours a few years ago playing classic roguelikes such as Moria, Angband and Larn. The classic(ally bad) death in Moria was a triple poison breath from offscreen by an Ancient Multi-Hued Dragon, an event which could kill any character in the game, regardless of equipment., even at maximum level, instantly - and in such games death is permanent, you restart at level 1 with no advantages.. The game is balanced so such events are very rare and almost always avoidable by smart play.

      This sounds like a case where unavoidable deaths are moderately common, and if you don't take advantage of quick save are very costly in time. That's as unforgiving as a Hockey budget.

    I'll buy this in a heartbeat! But how is the world exploring and puzzles? Anything like in that in terms of Golden Sun?

    I'd have to hear more about this game before I can decide if I'm excited or turned off. It sounds like the sort of thing that could easily fall into the realm of false difficulty through extra HP and forced grinding rather than challenging the player to be strategic and ready for anything. There's appealing to old-school hardcore gamers and there's using old mechanics that died out for a reason.

    I got back into playing the J-RPG from Tri-Ace from a few years back, Resonance of Fate. Now that has one of the cheapest first boss fights I've ever experienced in an RPG & the game does very little to explain weapon upgrades, combat or other things.

    I don't mind old school style games with a nice challenge but hate games that feel cheap or like they're intentionally hard through poor design & to pad out the short game length.

      You're better off with Star Ocean: The Last Hope. I put at least 150 hours into it. It's like best Tales of Combat with party members which have the best real time combat AI, which act so close to real people. Just remember to switch to the party which the boss is chasing so you can dodge which is a dodge unlike like in the Tales of Series where it's back-step. Oh and you can free run without having to hold down a button. I don't understand why we have to hold down a button in Tales of Games to free run, it's stupid.

      Last edited 08/02/15 12:29 pm

        I played & finished it years ago. Enjoyed it for the most part but some things bothered me no end. Combat was fine once you figure out the dodgy & combo tricks. Might pick up the PS3 version for the Japanese dialogue & bonuses, as well as getting the full ending because I missed a couple of relationship scenes.

        I've got a few of the Tales games too & enjoy them as well.

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