Tales of Legendia

The PlayStation 2 era was hardly a golden age in North America for Namco’s Tales series, given the crapshoot of which games would see English releases and which would remain in Japan. In 2005, it was announced that the Namco team of “Project MelFes” was developing another installment of the franchise as opposed to the main Tales Studios, the title ultimately given the moniker Tales of Legendia, which would indeed receive an English localization, and provides an experience on par with other games in the series.

The basic battle system is not unlike that of other Tales games, and though the game is three-dimensional, fights retain two dimensions like most of Legendia’s ancestors, with a random encounter rate increasable or decreasable through the use of Dark or Holy Bottles respectively, alleviating the tension that tends to come with traditional random battles. The game has much in common battle-wise with the 2-D Tales games as mentioned, with the additional ability to throw enemies with certain skills depending upon their weight, and a Climax Mode where the player can freely use normal attacks and skills against enemies while they’re frozen. There isn’t really much to complain about aside from finicky A.I. at times, but the gameplay definitely borders upon perfection.

Control is mostly decent, with an easy menu system, good direction on how to advance the main storyline, and the ability to cut voice acting short if the player would rather read than hear the dialogue, although dungeons lack automaps (yet are typically easy to navigate, given their largely linear dispositions), save points can be far apart at times, and cutscenes are unskippable.

Story is Legendia’s strongest suit, with a well-developed cast of characters and a unique setting of a moving continent, the game’s epilogue mode adding more depth to the characters. The translation also helps the game well, despite some occasional glaring grammar errors, but otherwise, the plot and localization help the game far more than hurt.

The aurals are another strong point of the game, with the soundtrack consisting of several remixes of central themes, with some nice vocal tracks as well, not to mention superb voice acting. The epilogue mode is devoid of voicework, but otherwise, the sound also helps Legendia more than hurts.

The game utilizes fully three-dimensional visuals with a chibi style that generally looks pleasant, with gorgeous scenery only occasional tarnished by bland textures, not to mention superb character artwork that narrates some cutscenes and plenty of anime sequences.

Finally, completing the main quest of the game takes around twenty-five hours, although the extra character quests can easily boost this time to seventy-five hours. In the end, Tales of Legendia is mostly on par with other installments of the series, given its fluid combat, excellent storyline, and superb musical and visual presentation, although there are occasional hangups in the area of interaction. Those that can look past its flaws, however, will likely enjoy the game, the franchise come the next console generation having experienced something of a golden age outside Japan.

The Good:
+Solid Tales gameplay.
+Excellent story and translation.
+Superb music, voice acting, and graphics.
+Great replay value.

The Bad:
-No pausing outside battles.
-Unskippable cutscenes.
-No in-game maps.
-No voicework during character quests.

The Bottom Line:
On par with the other Tales games.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation 2
Game Mechanics: 9/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 10/10
Music/Sound: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Localization: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: 25-75 Hours

Overall: 9/10

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