Review by Zhou14
Square doesn't have to make every good RPG in existence.
About 7-8 years ago Sony took a very brave step forward and crafted an RPG. They wanted to show the general gaming public that Square aren't the only decent RPG creators. For the most part they succeeded in this endeavor. Although it might seem rushed in it's development due to a somewhat messy translation, Sony worked to their deadline very well.
FFVIII's graphics were just a tad better than LOD's. For the most part they seem somewhat two-dimensional, but the backgrounds are very impressive. Character sprites might not be too excellent, but some battle animations were exceedingly good. There are many FMVs in this game, and they are all fairly impressive for this point in time. Thankfully Sony managed to a decent job here.
Hmm... this is where the game tends to falter. Most tracks tend to get very repetitive and aggravating. There are a few diamonds in the rough, but just a small few. Voice acting was used in a few areas of the game, but the voice acting wasn't particularly good. The sword strikes seemed somewhat unrealistic also. Sound which went along with battle animations did fairly well however.
Although it may appear flawed, this game will really lure you in and entertain you. Although some ideas may not have gone down particularly well, Sony thought of many original ideas to add to the battle sequences. Firstly, Additions. This battle system tends to let you interact more with the battle, in that you must time attacks correctly to achieve more damage. As you level up, you will gain more unique, more powerful and more difficult Additions to execute. You must choose which Addition to use, as they each offer different tactical advantages. Next is Dragoon Transformation. After accumulating a certain amount of Spirit Points by continiously using Additions, characters may use their Dragoon Spirits to turn into higher beings, Dragoons. Dragoons have unique attacks, and deal more and recieve less damage. Quite frankly, Square has thought of few ideas which outstrip this neat system. Another positive thing about the gameplay is that it is next to impossible to powerlevel. This is because monsters give you very little EXP, but Bosses give you a lot. Which means the game practically controls your level through the entire game, and you must rely on strategy to see you through difficult fights. From Disc 2 onward it takes you about 30 minutes or more to gain one level. Each character has many assets in this game, and you must watch the development of your characters in order to prevail. This game also has bosses rivalling the difficulty of some of FFVII's too- especially in Disc 3. Be prepared- if you've only played somewhat easy RPGs such as FFVIII you may find it somewhat difficult to proceed here.
Easily the strongest point of this game. Square has made very few plots which outstrip this one. It is entwined with a lot of myths and legends, which you must piece together yourself to gather the story together. The story tends to interact with you, and you will gain many shocks as new revelations are revealed to you. It starts out practically an empty story too, which is added on very frequently. You can also view many optional scenes, and across each Disc is a kind of story arc, all leading up to the final Disc where the arcs intertwine.
One critical point I have to make about this game is that it offers very little replay value. There are very few sidequests to be done, and the game proceeds in quite a linear way. However, you can find it very cheap, and it will provide you with about 50 hours of very fine entertainment. If Sony ever decides to create another RPG, they just have to tweak a few points and they'll be capable of rivalling or even beating Square! Let's hope Sony decides to build on what they did 7-8 years ago.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: The Legend of Dragoon (US, 06/13/00)
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