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[PSN Review] Legasista

When science becomes mythology… people have come to fear technology for being ancient magic and curses. For over a thousand years, no one has dared to enter this mysterious tower. That is, until today, when a youth is about to step inside. After a desperate search for clues, Alto Straiter finall arrives at this ancient ruin. Now called the Cursed Ivy Tower by those who avoid it, it was once known as the Railyard, a scientific research facility built by an ancient civilization
“With the magic that lies in this ruin… I might be able to turn my sister back to normal”.
Alto, pinning all his hopes on the unknown power that sleeps within these ruins, ventures far into the wilderness…

You start all by yourself, and must be very careful in the beginning to avoid being killed, because if the enemies you’ll find inside each dungeon don’t get you, then the traps definitely will. The more enemies you defeat, the bigger the experience boost you’ll get after you complete a floor of the dungeon. Plus, you must constantly be looking for the items the enemies drop, along with the pieces of equipment said enemies (and the treasure chests) provide you with. You can’t equip them until you’re back on the Railyard (with some few special items that skip this restriction), because pretty much all equipment you find is damaged or broken and must first be repaired…

Thus, what you have on you when you enter a dungeon floor is what will protect you until you’re back to safety. Be careful, though, because if the equipment you CAN equip while in a dungeon is destroyed, you lose it forever. Also, if you are killed inside of a dungeon, you forfeit all equipment found while exploring, and you will only obtain half of the total experience points you would have gotten otherwise.

Equipment is interesting because each one has a durability stat that is unique, even between two similar pieces of equipment. Why would you care about a high durability piece of equipment, if they’re instantly repaired when you go back to the Railyard? Because each character has one or more Hit Point (HP) bars, and it also has slots for equipment… and durability is treated as your extended health bar. All characters can unlock several different configurations for their “energy frame,” which is a fancy name for what equipment type they can put on and were, how many proper Hit Point bars they have, and if there are any boosts or restrictions placed on said equipment, in order to balance each character.

Let’s say that one frame has 3 HP, but only 4 slots for equipment. You would want to equip some VERY HIGH durability equipment into those slots, and you would make the most of your 3 HP thanks to healing traps. Yes, there are trap squares with a huge red heart that actually heal some of your lost HP, and using them would allow you to maximize your chance to make it out of the dungeon in one piece.

Eventually, you’ll be allowed to form a team of adventurers to make each trip into a dungeon a bit easier and more diverse; you must plan carefully to decide what role each team member will play. Only one of them is “active” on the actual dungeon and the other two are waiting to be brought into action, but you can still use their abilities as long as they have enough Magic Points to activate them. If the characters available in the game’s story mode are not cutting it for you, there is a chance to create your very own adventurers to join the fight, and you can customize them from the start with specific traits, as well as provide them with the potential to unlock amazing abilities if they gain enough experience and are taken for the ride until the end.

Here are some of the characters you’ll be able to use in your team:

Nice tie, right? Anyway, dungeons start with only one floor, and you must find the exit panel in order to unlock the next floor or, eventually, the next dungeon area. Once dungeons have more than one floor, you must find the gate that takes you to the next floor until you find the exit panel. You don’t have to worry about story dungeons being too long, because they tend to be 2-4 floors each at most, and are there so you can get used to how the game works, and to get the story going. The story side of the game should take you about 14-20 hours to complete, depending on how good you are at customizing your team, and how much experience you’re gaining per dungeon. The meat of the game is random dungeons (ran-geons for short), which are a staple of Rogue-like games.

Ran-geons can wipe your entire party by the 4th floor, and you must CAREFULLY check your current stats while deciding if you should touch that exit panel on floor 8, or if you want to test your luck by entering that demon gate on the right of it. That’s right, a demon gate. Unlike regular story dungeons, each floor in a ran-geon can have more than one gate to take you to the next level and, depending on the gate you chose, you might be slaughtered as soon as you step into a new floor.

Say that you’re doing an easy ran-geon. Enemies are level 1 and you’re easily destroying all of them without a problem. You get to a corner of the floor and find an exit panel, but decide that you will go forward to floor 2 since you’re doing great… except that the only gate available are a random gate, and a monster gate. The random gate can turn into any other game in the game, and monster gate will always increase the level of the monsters in the next floor and on. You figure you will pick the random gate since you can get an angel gate, which recovers all your HP, MP AND revives any fallen members of your team.

There’s the chance that the gate can turn into a demon gate that ends up taking enemies from level 1 to level 10, and lowering the drop rate for random items, which completely invalidates the main reason why you’ve decided to go into a ran-geon for rare and unique loot in the first place. The items you find in a ran-geon will almost always be better than what you can find in a regular story dungeon, and the higher the rare item drop rate, the higher your chances of finding amazing equipment that will help you in other ran-geons or in the story mode… IF you can exit the ran-geon while at least one member of your team is still breathing.

You will need to find keys to unlock doors in each dungeon that can lead you to more riches, harder enemies, or the glorious path towards the exit panel. There are Bronze, Silver and Gold keys that enemies carry with them, and which you must retrieve after defeating them and, contrary to what you’re used to from other games, Bronze keys are actually the rare ones. Silver keys usually open doors after a mid-boss fight against a big or powerful foe, and Gold keys are, for most of the time, the ones that unlock the doors that bring you to the final room in a dungeon floor.

Therefore, Silver and Gold keys are REQUIRED in order to exit a floor, but Bronze keys are optional and 99% of the time they lead to rare equipment that is being guarded by insanely powerful enemies. If enemies in the current floor are level 10-20, don’t be surprised if opening a bronze door brings forth a small but deadly enemy that is level 40 and beyond. Size isn’t everything, so be sure to ALWAYS check the level of the enemies around you.

And I haven’t even talked about jobs! Each character starts with a specific job that relates to their personality or goals (for example, Alto starts as an explorer since, well, he IS exploring the ruins looking for a cure for his sister), but if you gain enough levels from your adventures, you can change jobs at the Railyard. Just remember that when changing jobs, you’ll start back at level 1, so you should set said characters as a support character that doesn’t directly battle enemies, unless you do some grinding at the early story dungeons to bring him/her/it up to speed.

The game allows both normal and experienced players to enjoy the adventure, but in order to fully understand everything the game has to offer, I suggest you check the game’s manual (in handy PDF format right here) so that you are well prepared. Remember, the more you know…

Legasista is a well designed game that brings Rogue-like and Action-Adventure games together under one roof. The amount of content available here is amazing, and you will spend dozens of hours customizing, improving and upgrading your characters until you find the perfect team to take on even the most grueling and taxing of Ran-geons. NIS America has given us another ‘can’t miss’ game that is also exclusive to the PS3.

[review score=”92″ pros=”Great mix and match equipment system.
Unlimited replay value
Solid art style” cons=”Demon-geons will have you crying in the corner in 5 seconds…”]


This review is based on a PS3 copy of Legasista provided by NIS America.