Legasista is NIS America’s latest from developer System Prisma. If that doesn’t ring any bells, they’re the dev responsible for the Cladun series, which provided some of the best dungeon crawling and character customization the PSP had to offer. Cladun x2 in particular was so cool it was just ported over to Steam, a commendable first for NIS America. Shockingly enough, Legasista is a…dungeon crawler. But seriously, the real surprise here is that unlike its predecessors, Legasista is frankly pretty boring.
Legasista is, in a nutshell, the Cladun formula ostensibly expanded from a handheld game to a full console experience. Instead, it comes off as a lazy cashgrab that doesn’t have anywhere near the style or intrigue that the Cladun games have. A soulless clone, if you will. Everything feels phoned in, cheap, lazy, and otherwise dull.
Visually, Legasista resembles a flash game. Characters are little superdeformed, limbless anime sprites that are unnaturally animated and float around like a Newgrounds game that is heavily reliant on motion tween. The background of the hub world has lots of interesting detail, with a few things to interact with, but once you go down into a dungeon, the style of the game is robbed of all life as you spent your time running through corridors that all look the same save for some color differences. Most of the enemies are ripped from Cladun, but without the goofy pixel look lose most of their charm and come off as uninteresting blobs at worst and unoffensive at best. New enemies are present as well but they’re just as creatively bankrupt. Most of the bosses, especially early on, are just bigger version of regular enemies, attack patterns and all. The music also seems a lot more sterile and flavorless in comparison to Cladun.
It may seem unfair that I am (and will continue to) compare Legasista to Cladun throughout this review. After all, each game deserves to be held up by its own merits, right? Unfortunately Legasista makes no effort to separate itself from Cladun whatsoever. Unless you count adding tons of micromanagement and unnecessary menus as a unique and worthwhile addition. The game handles exactly the same as Cladun, but faster and less polished. Most of the enemies move faster than you can, making trying to do anything other than sticking and moving more effort that it’s worth. The support system is back and twice as complicated, adding your equipment to the mix, ending up with an enormous segmented health bar that severely lowers your stats the moment one of them is hit once or twice with no way to recover. That said, the game is never really difficult as long as you stay on your toes, but it feels awkward the whole time and isn’t really fun to play. The dungeons are empty save for samey traps scattered throughout, and most treasure chests tend to give you crappy loot that you end up throwing away most of the time.
Character creation is back, and is still pretty cool. Should you feel like dedicating the time, you can go into a lot more detail with your characters than you could in Cladun. You can even import images to play around with. I didn’t spend too much time with it since A) I am no artist and B) I don’t really like this game, but fans of the game with more talent should have fun. There are also lots of pre-made characters to aquire, including some predictable NIS cameos.
Speaking of characters, Legasista doesn’t have much of a story. That’s fine, really, I never expect one in a dungeon crawler and never needed one. But when the dungeon crawling is so underwhelming, the bland presentation that comes along with it is that much more noticeable. The main character is a blue-haired cliche, who is tackling the giant tower in order to find a cure for his sister that was turned into a crystal (wha). All of the story is covered via character portraits standing around and emoting when something interesting supposedly happens. Again, not usually a big deal, but it stands out more in this environment. One particularly hilarious scene has the characters awkwardly reacting to a landslide that has zero visual presence. Once again, Cladun was mush more expressive, even when it came time for exposition.
Legasista doesn’t suffer because it isn’t Cladun. Legasista suffers because somebody took a vague shell of Cladun, and slapped it onto a lazy PSN game without retaining anything that made either Cladun game fun and charming.
|Pros||Extensive character creation|
|Cons||lazy, derivative, boring|
|Verdict||A disappointing misfire|