Legend of Legacy, a terribly titled new video game that’s out for the 3DS today, is as close as we’ve gotten to a new SaGa game in a very long time. I really wish it was better.
Alas, it’s too grindy and boring for me to recommend to anyone. Legend of Legacy starts with a whole lot of promise — you get to pick one of seven characters and follow their adventures, SaGa-style — but as it turns out, all seven characters wind up going on the same journey, and you can recruit them all no matter what. There’s no real story, just a rudimentary “go out and explore, ye adventurers” hook that didn’t do much for me. The characters ostensibly have their own personalities but don’t talk enough to show anything but one-sided stereotypes.
The core gameplay is this: You enter a new map. You explore the new map. You kill a seemingly endless wave of monsters in turn-based combat. Repeat.
It just doesn’t work very well. The combat is cool enough, sure — there’s an interesting formation hook that lets you assign a “stance” to each of your three characters, setting them up to attack, defend, or support. And there’s a neat progression system — instead of traditional levels, characters progress through stat gains that should be familiar to anyone who’s played Final Fantasy II; you boost your attack stat by dealing damage, your block stat by taking damage, etc. Characters can also unlock new skills for each weapon by using old ones, SaGa style.
But it’s just so damn repetitive. There’s very little enemy variety — if you play Legend of Legacy, prepare to fight the same group of blobs and bats at least a dozen times per map. And in order to make any real progress through the game’s various dungeons, you’ll have to grind for levels, which is way harder to justify in a game that has very little else going for it. (Compare this to, say, last year’s fantastic Persona Q, which required some grinding but hooked the player with wonderful writing, music, and story-telling.)
So after a couple of hours of Legend of Legacy, I’m giving up. If you’re looking for a grindy dungeon-crawler, I’d recommend one of the stellar Etrian Odyssey games instead. Or just go replay SaGa Frontier.