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marysonnie's Legend of Dragoon Game Review

Legend of Dragoon Legend of Dragoon Screenshot Lloyd Legend of Dragoon Screenshot Shirley Legend of Dragoon Screenshot Albert Legend of Dragoon Screenshot Damia

Legend of Dragoon game Review

Story & Playability

The main protagonist of the game, Dart Feld, lost his parents as a young boy in Neet, a small village in the country of Mille Seseau. Despite suffering such loss, Dart is rather naïve about the strong allusions to history he relives as he searches for the Black Monster, the creature responsible for destroying his former hometown. This quest for vengeance leads him all over the world, and he realizes that he has been called upon to help save it.

Dart's power as a Dragoon is almost immediately foreshadowed. He's a little dense and rather bland sometimes, but fairly easy to get along with, which is why he is nominated as group leader. Rose, a beautiful woman introduced very early in the game, is immediately suspicious, as she has an answer for everything that begins to happen around him. I can understand why most of the others are reticent to push for more answers; Rose is unapproachable, but I don't think she's unkind. She is unaccustomed to spending a lot of time around people, so her interactions with party members are stilted.

As in all good stories, the characters become more interesting and varied as the game progresses. Shana is found to be caring and sweet (though like her love interest, Dart, a little on the bland side as well). She seems to have some mysterious powers also, though they don't quite run in the same vein as Dart. Lavitz, a knight to King Albert, almost instantly befriends with Dart. These early characters have a sort of bond and intimacy that I don't really sense later when the party expands.

Albert eventually replaces Lavitz, and shows a slightly sly side when he intrigues Princess Emille with the tale of the mermaid and the king. Haschel has a slightly hidden agenda, and Meru is flat-out harboring a huge secret. Kongol joins the party because of Dart's supposed charisma. And Miranda is forced on the group when Shana's Dragoon Spirit rejects her. Miranda, it's worth noting, is more complex than several other "main" characters, but her abrasive personality makes her immediately unlikeable.

To me, character development IS the story. Rose is developed consistently throughout, much more so than any other character. Dart, eventually, is developed, but his love interest (Shana's appearances are intermittent and disjointed at best) is not. Albert, Lavitz, Meru, Haschel, Kongol, and Miranda are touched upon in a perfunctory way on the moon. Lloyd, Savan, and the original Dragoons are all deserving of more screen time. I really think the creators could have done a better job with this, but the plot seems to take precedence. This is a very linear game, with few opportunities for divergence.

The storyline, in my opinion, is fairly good. It's got a lot of familiar qualities you'll find in an RPG; floating cities, a race that's skilled with magic and that lives longer than humans (be them Yason, Elves, Viera, et cetera), and a villain that wants to destroy the world. This is a very sneaky villain whose true agenda is actually well-hidden until the right moment, though the villain's reasons could have been explained better.

Rating: 7

Graphics

As an RPG, players will be looking for eye candy. Ever since FFVII showered us with artwork, it's something we've come to expect from RPGs, for better or worse. Despite the game's release being over seven and a half years ago, the artwork in this game stands up fairly well. The location artwork for cities and dungeons are as well-done as any Final Fantasy game. Furni and the Moon have wonderful designs. The Black Castle and the Valley of Corrupted Gravity were sufficiently confusing dungeons. The world map is pretty and the music changes on every disc. All the themes are very well done, too.

The character art is very well-done, especially Damia, Rose, and Shirley. The real beauty of this game, however, is in the Dragoon forms. Shana, Lenus, and Dart all make spectacular Dragoons. Dragoon Shana and Dragoon Miranda look very different (despite both possessing the White-Silver Dragoon Spirit) and I think it's a nice touch. There's continuity with all of the Jade Dragoons carrying spears and all the White-Silver Dragoons shooting bows.

Since it's a supplement to the game, I'll mention the artwork in the Japanese guide to this game. Inside are very rare pictures of Miranda, Damia, Syuveil, and Charle Frahma. Every main character has CG renders, Dragoon renders, and several colored sketches each. Additionally, the guide has illustrations of cities, area maps, and a bestiary, all things that are missing from the horribly incomplete American guide. The Japanese guide showcases a lot of rare images that would have helped push publicity for this game.

Rating: 9

Sound

The written script for this game is far from pretty. Whoever was responsible for translating this game didn't consult well enough with the person localizing it. Almost no care was given to a character's background affecting their dialect. Rose is sarcastic yet dignified, but barking "You want a knuckle sandwich?" at the woman who is arguably her best friend is way, way embarrassing to witness. It's character sabotage. The line still makes me cringe. Rose simply shouldn't say things like that. Knuckle sandwich? That's going back even for a game published in 1999/2000.

Overall, the spoken voices are hit or miss. When they recite the name of Additions, they're usually fine. There's a small discrepancy with the whole "Blossom Storm" versus "Rose Storm" Addition, and the "Fury of Styx" versus "Flurry of Styx" Addition, and while these aren't a big deal, they should have been caught. During FMVs, the music is either too loud or the voice actors speak too fast to properly hear what's going on. The sound quality of the voices isn't great, almost muddled, and Shana's voice actress is flat out BAD. Damia's voice actress sounds more mature than Rose's voice, even though she's a fifteen year old girl. I know some of my criticism is minor, but I find myself getting distracted by these things.

There is a heavy synth influence in nearly all the game music; I'm going to liken the affect to a lot of music in FFVII, as I find the two similar in many ways. I found it odd that the official soundtrack is only one disc (of nearly fifty tracks, too!) since the game itself is four discs in length. A lot of great music from the game is not included on this OST, and that which is is only looped once so the resulting tracks are almost all nearly 1:30 minutes or less.

While some may argue the style of music doesn't complement the game, I find it does. The electronic sounds in the music somehow resonate with the Winglies, because they used their skill in magic to build ambitious flying cities. Even when exploring Wingly ruins you can see traces of their cherished technology, which is oddly alien-looking. There is almost a science fiction-like atmosphere in some of the cities.

The ending theme of the game (which ironically appears as the first track on the OST) is sweet and light, but rather unmemorable when compared to some game themes. It takes several listens to appreciate. Shirley's Shrine is one of the most prominent missing tracks. It's also noteworthy that not every character has a theme song.

Rating: 6

Fun

Before this game was released, it was thought to be a possible "Final Fantasy killer," and I can assure you that's not the case. I am extremely fond of this game, but it has a healthy share of faults. While I think it sufficiently rewards the player loyal enough to it, getting to the end takes a lot of dedication. Sony spent more than three years on this, but there's plenty they could have vastly improved if they'd only had more patience or more insight.

I personally love doing Additions, but towards the end, Albert's Additions were especially difficult to learn. The loss of Lavitz as a party member (and all of his progress) hits very hard, as often a player could be halfway through his Addition list, only to have to start all over. Counterattacking is something encountered more frequently towards the end of the game, where you're using the most complex Additions. Successfully countering an attack and finishing your Addition is nearly impossible at this point. And Shana is made so weak in the beginning (she has no Additions) that it's nearly impossible to level her up at first. I've been very successful using Miranda later, but only after equipping her with expensive armor.

Armor is almost necessary for certain characters in this game, and the best stuff isn't cheap. This isn't Final Fantasy; there's no sneaky way to farm Gold. 10,000 G for the Armor of Legend (high physical defense) and the Legend Casque (high magical defense) takes a MIGHTY long time to acquire, and when several characters are severely lacking in specific areas, making sure they're well-equipped is going to take many hours. Even after leveling these characters up significantly, Rose still has low HP, Kongol's only going to get one turn to Meru's three, Miranda's a sitting duck against physical attacks and Albert's a sitting duck against magic.

Another very big detriment is the inability to carry more than thirty two items at one time. You can't stockpile MP and HP replenishing goods in case of an emergency. You have to carefully consider what items you buy because if something better comes along after a battle, you might have to chuck it. It's hard to prepare and plan ahead if you're about to embark on a dungeon. It is perhaps this condition that makes it necessary to include Shana or Miranda in the party, as they can remove status afflictions. There simply isn't room in the inventory for items that remove Fear, Poison, Confusion, and the like.

I'd be careful recommending this game to anyone seeking immediate gratification, because the gratification is far from immediate. I have played and completed this game several times, if only because I find the very best parts to be simply amazing. It's not an RPG that you can breeze through, and at four discs, it's a pretty hefty time investment. I found it worth it, and if you're willing to try out a nostalgic RPG, you should give it a shot.

Rating: 7

Final Verdict

7.17 (above average)

Reviewed by marysonnie, Oct 13, 2007

Comments

  1. Kukuru Dec 07, 2007

    Nice review Marysonnie - thanks for sharing your thoughts with us :)

  2. gountessg Dec 14, 2007

    that seems to be a pretty fun game

  3. kfire Feb 11, 2009

    I played this game, one of the best of PSOne games.
    Dart and Rose combine a lot, she will take a little of piece of him, yr heart ;P
    Kidding =)

  4. ryanwho Mar 29, 2009

    Under appreciated comes to mind.

  5. SchRita Aug 24, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  6. nainoi Sep 13, 2009

    thank you for review.

  7. SchRita Oct 31, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  8. Fanatik007 Nov 03, 2009

    good review

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