Review: Legend of Dragoon - PS1

Introduction:

Legend of Dragoon is an RPG created by Sony Computer Entertainment and released in North America on June 11, 2000. It is available on the US Playstation store for $5.99.

As this is my first time doing a PS1 classics review, let me quickly go over the format. I plan to give my experiences and thoughts on the story, graphics, audio and gameplay. At the end of the review, I will let the reader know if I think it is a worthwhile purchase or not. Without further ado, let's talk about the story!

Story:

Legend of Dragoon follows Dart, a man on a mission to search for a being known as the "Black Monster" which killed his family when he was just a boy. As he returns from his travels to his current hometown village of Seles, he is attacked by a dragon. Dart is nearly killed but saved at the last moment by a mysterious woman by the name of Rose. In the distance, he sees smoke and that Seles is under attack by an unknown force. He rushes off, leaving Rose with only a word of gratitude.

Not too far in the game Dart and company find they have the power to transform into "Dragoons" which make them stronger, allow them to use magic and to combat the numerous dragons in the world. Using this power they plan to defeat the evil emperor Doel and put an end to the war that has engulfed the world.

The story does feel a bit bland, especially near the beginning. Near the end of the first disc is when the story really starts to pick up. One thing I really enjoyed about this game is the humor. Sometimes it felt that the game didn't take itself too seriously, and was really funny at parts. The game does a good job at keeping the story at such a level where anyone can understand it easily. One thing that really bugged me is at some points the dialog felt really long winded, and I found myself just mashing X as fast as I could just so I could get to the combat. Also, sometimes the game is not 100% clear on what they want you to do, leaving you to wander around until you find what you need to do.

Graphics:

The graphics are some of the best seen on a PS1. Since the game came out in the very end of the life cycle of the Original playstation, this is what you would expect. Animations are varied and the game has some very beautiful cutscenes complete with full voice work. I give the graphics very high praise, especially for a PS1 game.

Audio:

I felt that the audio was somewhat lacking. While some may disagree with me, it is my personal opinion that the soundtrack felt repetitive and not varied enough. The battle theme is pretty catchy though.

Gameplay:

One thing that makes Legend of Dragoon so different from other RPGs is the addition system. During battle, you use additions to attack the numerous enemies in the game. An addition is a set of timed button presses when you attack used to land your attack on the enemy. You set these additions before battle and if you manage to hit all the button presses at the correct time, your character calls out the move's name and you get a damage bonus and some SP, which is used to transform into a dragoon. These additions range from very simple to very complex, and it's up to the player to decide if they think they can hit the addition everytime for extra damage. As you use these additions, they level up and deal more damage to the opponent and gain more SP for a transformation into a dragoon.

A minor qualm I had with the addition system was a tiny bit of lag. This is most likely because I play on an HDTV, and is not gamebreaking by any means. However you will likely need to press the button earlier during an addition to compensate.

The battle system is very simplified, which allows players new to the RPG genre to have fun without too much though. Players can either attack using additions, defend to regain some lost HP and take less damage from the next attack on them, use an item to either heal themselves or damage an enemy, or transform into a dragoon provided they have enough SP, to deal massive damage to the enemy.

Besides the battle system, gameplay consists mainly of getting from point A to point B, than fighting the boss. Typical RPG fare. You can find and equip different armor and weapons to your characters to make them stronger and take less damage from attacks.

As you travel about the world, you can find stardust hidden in less obvious spots. This stardust is given to an NPC in the game and when you collect all of them, something special happens.

The game used the most amount of space possible for a PS1 game, and was packaged with four discs. One thing that really irritates me is the inability to switch discs unless prompted, or start the game on a disc that is not disc one. Often times I find myself loading the game only to have it prompt me afterwards to switch discs. This is only a minor inconvenience, however.

Because the game is so big, you can expect to play for a long time before completing it. I would estimate that this game could possibly take upwards of 50 hours to complete, possibly more if you explore and do optional quests.

Final impressions:

Overall, I think this game still holds up, even in this day and age. The addition system is what I think makes this game so fun, as it rewards you just for attacking. The game is very lengthy but allows you to set your pace as you make your way through it. The best part of it all is the game is only $5.99! I am very pleasantly surprised that Sony decided not to make this game a full $9.99 title, especially because the game is so big. If you have the cash and want to play an RPG, even if you don't play them often, I suggest you pick this up immediately.

FINAL VERDICT: Buy