The Legend of Dragoon review
The Legend of Dragoon is a JRPG developed and released by Sony (Japan Studio) in 1999 for the Playstation 1. The game follows the trails left by Final Fantasy VII and VIII and it had many bad reviews when it was compared with those and FF9.
Please, don’t confuse this game with a beat’em’up called “Legend of Dragoon” which is totally unrelated.
Random grind battles in TLOD were actually more fun that those from FF7. The combo mechanic was used on few posterior games too and it’s even similar in concept to the combos in *The Witcher.
It’s a cool JRPG and it’s worth playing because of:
- Awesome and abundant cinematics. Much better than FF7 and than FF8 too.
- Prerendered scenarios were very good for that console, looks good even today. In fact game scenarios look better than FF8, near FF9 quality.
- 3D models look fine. A bit rough but far better than other games on the era.
- Dynamic battle mechanics:
- There is a combo system called Additions and consist on timedly trigger the attack button to do combos (it’s executed like gunblade limit in FF8).
- The characters could also transform into Dragoon form to be stronger.
- Good OST. Sound track is simple but good and memorable. I’m sure you’ll instantly remember the battle theme or the menu theme.
- Great japanese style story. It has some clitches but it’s actually deeper than it seems.
The game actually sold a lot in USA so there is a niche and it could do well in a reboot as a JARPG.
The game is a flawed gem. It has some good qualities and it’s a fine RPG, there was some effort & money put into the game development and many players enjoyed it but still:
- Gameplay was too simple and it was criticized because you had to constantly repeat same moves all time like the attack button for Additions or defend actions. There is nothing else.
- Early game story is not very amusing, it gets interesting later.
- The soundtrack was simpler than those of Nobuo Uematsu for FF7 or FF8. Well, Nobuo’s soundtracks are masterpieces anyways, so it’s not the same league. The point here is that the music sounds a bit “repeating” so, even if good, it isn’t for everyone tastes.
- Graphics aren’t everything. FF8 also looked nice and FF9 looked great, and both were just superior games, with complex mechanics, minigames, character development, etc.
- Lack of minigames and side content.
The flaws per se aren’t so bad to rate the game low. As you already should have noticed, the biggest flaw for this game isn’t the game itself. The game is fine if you enjoy the combo mechanics. The biggest flaw is that tried to compete against Final Fantasy saga and failed. After that it was just shadowed by FF, so it got bad reviews. Even Sony was disappointed because they really expected it to be a masterpiece, which isn’t.
Why to play?
If you are a fan of classic JPRG games, you like more action-driven battles, you’re interested on discover its story or you like its cinematics, don’t mind what reviews and some players say. Try it.
Opening & Intro
How to acquire
The game can be downloaded from the Sony PSN Store to be played in PS Vita or PS3. It is’nt available for PS4 as far as I know.
The original PS1 CDs are collectors stuff now, so expect them to be expensive on second-hand markets.
Version / Platform
The game was only developed for Sony Playstation (PSX) and re-released many years later for digital download on PSN store, so the classic it’s the only version of it.
As it’s usual with console games, there are no fan-made mods or open source scene.
Sony intended to develop a sequel for this game, some years ago, but the development was canceled. Probably, they choose the wrong team for the job. It could be a good exclusive game. Maybe for PS5?
Games like The Legend of Dragoon
Here I’ll list few JRPGs that apply similar combo mechanics:
- Shadow Hearts. A trilogy of games for PS2 that feature similar timed trigger-to-chaining-combos.
- Lost Odyssey. High quality JPRG released for XBOX 360 and shares same combo mechanic as TLOD.
- Legend of Legaia. This PS1 JRPG features more complex combo mechanics.
- Resonance of Fate. This game is remastered and it was released in PC and PS4.
And other great JRPGs that you could like (just PS1 to keep the list small):
- Final Fantasy VII / VIII / IX. I think you already know them.
- Xenogears. Another quality JRPG.
- Chrono Cross. Yet another JRPG on the style of FF.
- Parasite Eve. Interesting story and theme. Somewhat it reminds me to Resident Evil.
- Vagrand Story. This is a JARPG, more in the action/adventure side like Zelda. It featured an interesting “weak-spot” battle mechanic.
The Legend of Dragoon is a game treasured by many, mostly because of nostalgia. It’s not the best JRPG, indeed, but it was a nice game back on the day and it’s underrated.