Growing up during the PlayStation era, there were many new changes with the JRPG genre at the time. The 3D polygon characters were mind-blowing back then, however, after just a few years, they can come off as pretty dated. Still, the adventure and imagination that was put into these games raised the bar for the genre and pushed it to the limits of what JRPGs were capable of.
What’s happened to the genre since then has led to the disappearance of this classic style of game design. That is until developer Semisoft emerged with their debut title Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds, an ode to PlayStation era JRPGs that pays homage to a number of titles that came out back in the day. Most importantly, however, Semisoft seems to have found a good balance of new and old features that truly make their old-school style JRPG great, even though it suffers from a couple of speed bumps along the way.
The story of Legrand Legacy is centered around Finn, a mysterious protagonist who is suffering from amnesia and finds himself enslaved and fighting for his life in a tournament. Luckily, a mysterious man, Geddo, is in need of a guide to help him through the desert to deliver medicine to his sick daughter, Eris. However, after a mugging, Geddo is murdered and Finn must deliver the medicine on his own. Upon meeting Eris, she takes the medicine and is able to travel to the desert to free her father’s soul, but she ends up meeting her father’s killers and getting revenge.
Legrand Legacy puts a lot of focus on these crucial paths that the characters take and most of it revolves around them confronting their anger. With that said, the message gets a little confusing later on when it comes to sparing the life of a bad person. You see, Eris succumbs to the pressure of killing a person, whereas a known murderer like Azzam, chooses another path, which is totally out of character for both of them. It feels like there are so many messages that the developer is trying to tell the player outside of the main story that it can get confusing in the later hours of the story.
The bigger picture of Legrand Legacy is that Finn and his party are special. Throughout their adventure, they discover just how crucial their mission is to the fate of the world. The story puts a lot of time into the characters through many conversations that expand on their personalities. What’s good about the cast of characters is how they don’t even see themselves as heroes most of the time and mainly have one goal that ends up getting larger as they learn more about their situation. In the end, they did grow on me even if you can classify some of their actions as cliche. However, the story becomes more clear as the game goes on, but the conclusion ends up feeling pretty anticlimactic, which makes this game truly about the journey more than the destination.
Legrand Legacy’s battle system is one of its shining features, but it sadly casts a few shadows. During a battle, players will input actions and then based on the character’s speed, the actions will play out alongside the enemy’s actions. Skills are called Grimoire and are elemental attacks unique to each character. To unlock more Grimoire, players will need to put points obtained through leveling up to their stats. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy at all. Even though you have the option to distribute your skills anywhere, the game shows you beforehand where you should put your points if you want to get stronger attacks, and they don’t make getting to those attacks easy. This is just of the iceberg of the difficulty that involves the battle system. Executing an attack or guarding is met with a quick time style button press. Miss the button press, and you could suffer a missed attack, which usually happens during the most crucial of times.
Battles can be epic, especially the boss battles, but prepare to play through these bosses multiple times because of the difficulty spike between normal grunts and the boss of a dungeon. I can remember even after changing the difficulty level, I still had problems with the last fight in a tournament against the hard-hitting lion, Azzam. Similarly, acquiring high-level healing potions are rare and expensive and I never seemed to have them when I needed them or they weren’t one of the four items that I had equipped. Furthermore, there is a max weight that your character can carry, which I encourage you to turn off in the options because it’s unnecessary. However, through all of these hoops, the battles never get boring because you’re always planning the best approach. The challenge of the battles makes you set personal goals for yourself, and as the player and I found it quite enjoyable.
The hand-drawn backgrounds of the towns, overworld map, and dungeons are beautiful and never ceased to amaze me. I loved traveling to a new area just to see what kind of theme the next town or dungeon would have. This also ensures that dungeons don’t feel like repetitive asset flips that you’d see in other games today. I should also point out that the music is awesome and every track is great.
To be honest, there is so much to do in Legrand Legacy that I’m surprised I didn’t get distracted from the main story more often. With side missions, mini-games, and even a separate tactical RPG battle system where you go to war with other regions, there’s a lot that you can do outside of the game’s story. Although nothing is really explored as deep as the main battle system, these quick breaks from the story are like a breath of fresh air.
Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds cannot be put in a box, which makes it hard to even properly explain in this review because there’s just so much to share about the game. What should be mentioned is that every mechanic featured in the game works, and the game runs great on the Nintendo Switch. The developers set out do to something extremely ambitious and it shows in all of the systems that they introduce throughout the story. Basically, it’s as if they loved so many different PlayStation era JRPGs so much that they wanted to combine them all into one game, and for the most part they did.
I had a great time playing through Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds and I want to share it with so many gamers who, like myself, miss this era of games or maybe haven’t experienced it at all. I never felt bored throughout the adventure, even when I died a handful of few times at the hands of the same boss. Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds brings you back to a time where you have to slow down and invest yourself in a vast world filled with unique characters. I appreciate the lengths that Semisoft went through to put this all together, even if it can get a little messy at times. It’s easy to recommend Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds to all JRPG fans who want to rediscover a simpler era of gaming and there’s no better way to do that than to play this game.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.