Legaia 2: Duel Saga

Review

posted 12/6/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
At its core Legaia 2 is just an amalgamation of the console’s most widely popular RPGs. You’ve got portions of Star Ocean, portions of Final Fantasy, portions of Suikoden, portions of Harvest Moon and of course, portions of the original Legend of Legaia. From the opening sequence to the game’s menu system, much of the elements are highly recycled and make the game exude that feeling of déjà vu that has often been associated with writers who have run out of ideas.

In case you’re wondering why a Sony made game is being published Stateside by Eidos then the obviously haven’t experienced the series. It will only appeal to a very niche audience, namely those who are interested in Japanese RPGs. In short, if you’re a fan of games like Duel Hearts and Tales of Destiny then this game is right up your alley.

The storyline is pretty straightforward, you assume the role of Lang, your generic hero with the clichéd “mysterious past.” His village is attacked by an equally mysterious stranger who steals the Aqualith, the stone that provides the town with water and sustenance, so of course Lang makes it his duty to retrieve the stone. You’ll soon discover that the stranger and Lang have a common trait in the form of a birthmark, one on his chest and one on the stranger’s hand. Thus we have the foundation of your generic run-of-the-mill RPG plot that doesn’t deviate very much from the mold and thus, does very little to intrigue the gamer. It’s the same recycled plot that we’ve seen replicated numerous times in previous RPGs.

Perhaps the largest attraction of the first Legaia was the excellent battle system that incorporated some fighting game elements into the mix. Thankfully the sequel continues this tradition by incorporating the same system into the game’s battle sequences. If you need a good reference point think back to Final Fantasy 8, remember Zell’s special moves that required you to input a set of commands in order to pull them off? What’s nice is that as you progress you’ll learn more and more maneuvers, many of which can be chained together to form more powerful maneuvers. The only thing that truly separates Duel Saga from the competition is the excellent battle system that is initially excellent, but eventually loses its impact as you realize that the game too heavily relies upon it. In the end the system is a great addition but the overuse of it waters it down so heavily that you can’t help but grow tired of it. By the 2nd or 3rd hour of gameplay I found myself using the included ‘auto battle’ option that puts the control of the fight in the hands of the computer while you go make a sandwich.
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