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The Legend of Dragoon Second Opinion

Dale Weir's picture

The Legend of Dragoon  Screenshot

After reading through Ben's review I have to say that I couldn't have said it better myself. I believe Ben made all the points I would have wanted to make about the similarities between Sony's and Squaresoft's respective milestones, as well as the flaws inherent to Sony's creation. I am in total agreement as far as the annoying random battles made even more annoying since that gaming convention is being phased out by modern RPG developers. Like Ben, I was irked by such time wasters as the screen bleeding that announced an ensuing battle as well as the camera that took its time panning around the battlefield before and after every single battle. And I also grew weary of the voices used in the full-motion video sequences. If ever there were a time to copy Squaresoft—who shy away from using voice dubbing—that was it.

Unlike Ben, I happened to like the "Additions" system. It seems pretty apparent to me that RPGs could use a few touches of interactivity during battles. Case in point, is one of my all-time favorite RPGs, Final Fantasy III, which went so far as to incorporate Street Fighter II-esque moves into the action. In my opinion, Additions were just the ticket to break up the inevitable wait time and monotony associated with attack animations in modern RPGs. What I did not like was the same principle being applied to spell casting. Having to press a button that ferociously and often during every battle throughout the game should have sent up red flags from the get go. Then again, after learning of Ben's unfortunate Dual Shock controller situation, perhaps Legend of Dragoon was an ingenious way to make tons of cash through sales of a landmark RPG and Dual Shock controllers.

Usually when I come across a game that copies an originator as blatantly as Sony's Legend of Dragoon does Squaresoft's Final Fantasy VII I go after the game and lambaste the developer and publisher alike for lacking integrity, creativity and respect for gamers. However, in the case of Legend of Dragoon, with its extraordinarily high-quality full-motion video sequences and computer-generated art, solid gameplay elements and (barely) above average story, I can't help but feel bad. I genuinely liked the game and believe it could have earned a higher rating had Sony created a more original set of characters, stronger storyline and lost many of the clearly Final Fantasy VII inspired themes. As is, hindsight is 20/20, and the fact of the matter is that this was just a wasted opportunity on Sony's part. Rating: 6.0 out of 10.

Category Tags
Platform(s): PlayStation  
Developer(s): Sony Japan  
Publisher: Sony  
Series: The Legend of Dragoon  
Genre(s): Role-Playing  
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)  
Articles: Game Reviews   Best Work  

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Finally... Thankyou. For

Finally... Thankyou. For giving Legend of Dragoon a fair judging.

Legend of Dragoon - fair judgement.... NOT

I don't think either critique does the game any justice and it hasn't been given a fair judgement at all. I've played countless RPGs over the years, and I fail to see the similarities you place between LoD and FFVII. Most games, books and films follow the age old good versus evil plotline where the main villain is hell bent on either destroying the world or usurping control over it.

I honestly think LoD is a lot more original that you give it credit for. So, the main character has a shock of spikey-looking hair, mm...whatever. It's a hairsyle. I see little resemblance between the characters except a few personalities: Rose can be likened to Vincent and they both have black hair and a lot of mystery, Meru is annoying, hyper and always tries to prove herself like Yuffie, and Lavitz/Albert just happen to wield spears like Cid. So what? Shana is insecure, and generally weak apart from her mysterious affiliation with the Virage etc, but Aeris wasn't like that at all. There are no weird animal characters, and I don't recall there being a giant as a playable character in FFVII either.

There is no town that reminds me of Midgar, Junon, Cosmo Canyon, Nibelheim, Rocket Town or Wutai just to name a few. About the best town that feels somewhat similar is Fueno when compared with Costa Del Sol as they both appear to be something of holiday resorts. The battle system is turn-based and FFVII's is Active Time Battle, and the Additions in all honest, add quite a bit of depth. In FF games I sit there, give the commands and that's it. The character does his/her attack and that's it. With the Additions at least you're engaged in the battle and are actively a part of it. There aren't really any random battles either. You have the blue arrow that changes to yellow, then red. In red, it's warning you that you're about to have an encounter, whereas in most FF games BANG! suddenly you're in a random battle.

All the characters are somehow linked into the plot as well, as are most characters in FFVII, but then it'd be boring if it was all just one character that was 100% involved in the plotline wouldn't it. Several others always get dragged into it somehow whether it's in gaming, film or reading. FFVII's plot focuses almost entirely on finding and defeating Sephiroth, whereas LoD delves into the history of the world, adds a lot more mystery, and places different characters in different situations. Cloud discovers Sephiroth is still alive, and he and Tifa know they need to go after him, Barret hates Shinra for what was done to his hometown, Cid's dream of going to into space was shattered by Shinra etc. Dart wants revenge on the Black Monster for the destruction of his hometown and that's why he searches for it, but the plot becomes that much more intense when the Serdian War is shown to involve Lloyd, and Dragoons, thus repeating history as it were. It's a much more involved plotline and quite frankly you're quite mistaken with your so-called "fact" of LoD being a rip off of FFVII. You call yourselves critics? Give me a job as a game critic and I'll give fair judgement on games rather than favouritising them and giving opinions rather than facts.

Reply: Dale Weir

Dale,

I agree with two (sort of three) of your assessments. So, I think you managed a little more diversity than Ben and his review.

FMV VA - It is cheesy and there is no denying the fact that it is cheesy.

Additions - They were a great idea that really breathed some life into the turn-based setup. Personally, I do not understand how Ben gleaned Final Fantasy 7’s Limit Breaks from this system. I’ve finished both games myself.

Magic - I cannot say I was *that* bothered by the leveling mechanic, but yes, I can see how it can become tiresome for others; especially if they rely on/like to view the effects. Ben, though, acted as if the feature would do your controller in. That is simply not true.

However, I believe Ben was way off on some points. And, I’m posting this here because you said you approved of his evaluation and brought up some of the same aspects.

Random Battles - Playstation 2 RPG, Final Fantasy 10 + Legaia 2: Duel Saga for example, had random battles in the early years. Both of you failed to mention that the game has touch-based encounters in some areas like the Ship on Disc Two or the Desert on Disc Four. Also, I didn’t see a peep about the game’s battle indicator, which appropriately changes from blue to yellow to red. Unlike other RPG, you’ll know when you’re close to a scuffle.

Three-Team Battles - Again, most PS2 RPG ( FF 10, Legaia 2, Xenosaga) carried on the same routine. In my mind, this is a completely moot point.

Language: The use of the word “bastard” a couple of times is not something I’d complain about in a Teen Rated game. Yeah, the text has spelling mistakes. It is not something I shy away from when recommending the game to people. But, at least you can understand what point the characters’ are trying to get across. I was never left in doubt.

Victory Poses - Now, this criticism is just silly.

“A RPG cannot have victory poses for successful battles. If it does contain them, the staff was plainly copying Final Fantasy 7.”

That is pretty much what Ben’s statement implies. And, like I already said, it sounds ridiculous and silly. Nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking is the impression this comment gives off.

Love Story - Dart is way different from Cloud. He doesn’t possess psychological troubles, is rather sociable, and freely admits his feelings for Shana later in the story. Shana is hardly like Tifa. First off, she is not involved in reckless eco-terrorism. She clearly had a happy and fun childhood with Dart as well. The state of Cloud and Tifa’s childhood “friendship” is hazy to say the least. To me, it didn’t seem as if the two of them ever properly mingled in Final Fantasy 7’s flashbacks.

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