The other day on Steam, I happened to come across a neat indie title, called Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds. This title is being developed by Semisoft, a small video game development company based out of Jakarta, Indonesia. Legrand Legacy is being referred to as a love letter to all time favourite JRPGs, with a fresh take on turn based combat. There’s a pretty good demo on Steam that I tried out the other weekend, and I must say I will be keeping my eye on this one. I wanted to bring this one to light, as I feel this is a title that can cater to that urge to play something similar to classic JRPGs of the 90s.
Legrand Legacy is exactly what it’s described to be. I personally feel it reminds me and captures a charm of early 3D JRPGs for the Playstation One, that most games seem to avoid. It features some neat visuals where you explore beautiful hand drawn environments. The characters are 3D models imposed on 2D hand drawn back grounds, much like what you would have seen in Final Fantasy 7, 8 and 9.
Back in their time, the early 3D final fantasy games emitted a lot of charm from their visuals I found, despite them being kind of dated even for their time. Even now, I look at those games and they still look good to me. They may be dated, but they utilize a wide variety of colours and keep things very vibrant. I am also a sucker for the way they took the 3D character models and imposed them onto the pre-rendered back grounds. Something about running around as a 3D character with an interactive “picture” so to speak looks and feels great to me.
There are many JRPGs to choose from these days, whether it’s big AAA titles or smaller indie games. They usually implore a full 3D approach, or retro 2D style visuals. I love that Legrand Legacy is somewhere in the middle. The hand drawn back grounds are beautiful and full of nice details. The 3D character models are also done very nicely and are detailed and the colours are all around very vibrant. During dialogue, the games shows you a 3D portrait of the character speaking, which looks great. In addition to the portraits, even the character models in the back ground do those basic, cheesy animations that we saw from the past, such as having a drink without actually having a cup in their hand and proceeding to gulp it down. This may sound like a bad thing, but again, it emits a charming element that I can only experience with the early Final Fantasy games from the Playstation One era.
Besides the visuals, it also promises a fresh take on combat. I personally don’t think the combat used in the demo was anything ground breaking, but it still felt fun and battles never felt like they dragged on too long or occurred too often. Enemies are seen in the environment, and you can choose whether to fight them or not. Approaching them from different directions will lead to the battle starting under different circumstances.
Combat can be a bit simplified, but I find it works and can be exciting. During battle, you can select from attacks, items, grimoires, misc, and info. Attack and items are self explanatory. Grimoires are essentially your spells or special abilities. Here you can cast magic, or do magic based physical attacks. Magic has no stock or MP, so you can cast them endlessly. Misc gives you control over your characters position or movement. Here you can choose to guard, flee or move. There also different element associated to each enemy, so by matching certain magic attacks against enemy types will allow you to deal more damage.
Being able to move your character around adds a strategic element to your party placement. You can move a character behind someone so that the party member in front takes all the damage, until they are defeated. You can use guard to boost your defense. I believe there are some moves that will attack the character in the back row, but I’ve yet to explore this more in depth since this was just a demo. On the flip side, enemies can do the same, so you’ll need to break the first line of defense in order to take out things like spell casters which are typically in the back row.
The special twist, or mechanic to the combat that makes Legrand Legacy stand out is its combat wheel. When ever you execute any attack or even guard, a wheel pops up on the screen and a pointer spins around it once. In the middle of the wheel, a button is shown, and as the pointer spins around, the goal is to press the corresponding button once it falls into the highlighted area. By landing it in the desired area, you gain a boost to your damage dealt, or take less damage depending on the command used. Think of it kind of like the QTE that pops up in Xenoblade Chronicles. It adds a nice dynamic to the battle and helps things feel more interactive but does not hinder the pace of the battles at all. If anything, it adds a nice dynamic, as the camera shifts in and out of the action while this happens.
What makes Legrand Legacy promising for me is it’s story and writing. Having a good combat system is one of the keys to a good JRPG, but without a decent story and writing, what’s the point? Legrand Legacy’s story starts out action heavy, but shrouded in mystery, as your main character finds himself as a slave, and is stuck taking on a menacing gladiator in an arena death match. By chance, he discovers he has a hidden power which puts him into an uncontrollable rage as he makes quick work of his foe.
After the battle when you come around, you discover someone has purchased you as slave. You then learn of your new masters quest and aid him in his adventure. Your character suffers from amnesia, so he is unable to recollect the events from his past. The first bits of the story had me engaged, and the demo being quite lengthy, unfolds a few more twists and another character later on that help keep things moving along nicely.
To compliment the story nicely, the writing is also pretty engaging. The game features no voice acting, so you are reading all the dialogue. Thankfully it’s all written nicely, and I never got bored during any of the dialogue segments. I’ve played my fair share of games where text based dialogue was quite abundant, but also uninteresting. So this I very much appreciate that this game made reading all the dialogue quite enjoyable for me.
Legrand Legacy started out as a kickstarter campaign, and reached enough funds to make this all possible now. Those who have backed the project have access to the early access version of the game, which I’m going to be getting into very soon. There is no set release date as of yet, but Semisoft indicates that the game will be complete by the end of the year, but most likely see a release sometime next year. Until then, all I can say is if you are a fan of the early 3D JRPGs of old, I highly recommend checking out the demo of Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds.
Have you heard of Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds? What are your thoughts? Are you planning on trying out the demo? Let’s get chattin’ in the comments!