Legasista PSN review: Visit dungeons and save your sister

Dungeon exploring games have existed plentifully since the NES days, but as time passed we kept seeing less and less of them. This was due to game companies shifting focus to games having a blockbuster action, beautiful graphics and so on. The ways of the old are still around, and NIS America brings back the classic adventures with Legasista.

This isn’t the first dungeon explorer title NIS America has released, the company previously released the Cladun series on the Playstation Portable and now with their new title Legasista, some of the best aspects of Cladun have been taken and tweaked and best of all its goes from a handheld title over to a full screen 1080p title you can enjoy on your Playstation 3.

In a world where science has become a thing of the past, people have come to fear this ancient form of knowledge as magic spells and curses. Now a young man named Alto sets off for the mysterious Ivy Tower, which houses ancient relics of the lost art of science.”

Alto seeks a way to save his sister from turning into a crystal thanks to a curse. Hearing rumors of a way to save her in the Ivy Tower, he dives in the face of danger, but as soon as he enters, he is greeted by Ms. Dungeon, the guardian of the tower who has been alive for thousands of years, and offers to help Alto. Soon after Alto finds the ancient weapon called Melize, and later she breaks down and loses her memory. Alto learns he can help Melize regain her memory and abilities by traveling further down into the dungeons and find chips that will help Melize regain not only her memories, but also her abilities.

The system of the game is pretty simple. If you played Zelda back in the NES days, think of the dungeons you would explore to search for the Triforce pieces. The camera has a top down view and your character(s) can attack, jump and use special abilities. Later in the game you are able to add two more party members, allowing you to switch out by using the analog controller. This allows you to create a team that can deal with almost any situation and enemies.

The game uses a different type of system for health. When your character gets knocked out, the photo below shows a large bar, which is a combination of your life bar. By leveling up you unlock points that allow you to equip more powerful items and weapons. Each item equipped has a durability bar which gets weakened. The more damage you take, the odds are of it breaking that will lead to just your HP. Once that is gone your character is knocked out and you automatically switch to your next character. Once all characters are gone, you are taken right back to the tower and all the items you have collected will be gone. All your original items will be fine, even if they’re broken. Once you reach the tower entrance, they are fully restored.

While the regular dungeons are set, the items you collect are random. Even keys dropped are random, so you never know what you are going to get. That’s the challenge since most of the trophies are achieved by diving deep into the ran-geons, giving you a chance to take down enemies and collect plenty of goodies. Just make sure you equip your characters for a long battle.

Just like the Cladun series, You’d want to keep an eye out where you are walking. You can use Alto’s skill to see the traps laid around for you in the dungeons. These can be useful to use against enemies, making your life easier. It won’t always be that simple. If you need health, there are collectible useable items to give health and health traps.

While dungeon explorer titles have always been one large grindfest, Legasista adds a few changes to the mix. The further down you go, the more powerful the enemies will get. Your active team receives experience from completing the dungeon (you can get exp from never even beating an enemy. Just go for the exit doors). You can access random dungeons called “ran-geons” once you unlock Melizes’ ability to dig. Ran-geons are randomly created dungeons that allow you to explore and collect rare items and experience. They have a trade-off though; to go further down you have to pass through numerous gates. Each one has different effects, like restoring hp or increasing levels (a few levels up to 50). The one you really want to look for is the one that lets you escape the dungeons.

The game gives you the ability to create your own characters from the ground up. There are two ways to achieve this. One is by spending time on your PlayStation 3 and manually creating the characters slowly. The other is by using Photoshop to create you character, saving it, then transferring it over to your PS3. I haven’t had a lot of time to create a couple of characters, but I did find a cool Laharl I want to add to the game, maybe a Prinny as well.

I never found myself drawn into the story, but the character design both in battle and scenarios was very well done and detailed. The game feels very nostalgia, especially with its influence in the 8 and 16-bit era, while giving it a PS3 upscale feel in the character and enemy animation, backgrounds and dungeon design.

Overall Legasista is everything you expect from a dungeon exploring game and more. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is a must-play thanks to it being a combination of fun and challenging grindfest, albeit a repetitive one. Yes the last part sounds contradictory, but it’s natural in this genre, and Legasista lets you do it with choice in character style. I found myself having to face enemies 40 levels above me while running around to find the gate to get out before getting cornered and slaughtered.

The developing team has plans to release pre-created characters online. There will also be a website so people can download and share their work. Expect to see characters from other companies and games appearing in the future, just like it did with 3D Dot Game Heroes.

Legasista is available for the PSN Network for $29.99.

Grade: B

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.