Legend of Dragoon Review
by Lassarina Aoibhell
While I did like the game to a certain extent, it definitely pales in comparison to games like FF6 and FF9. Yes, the graphics are excellent. But in my opinion, Sony spent way too much time on the graphics and not nearly enough on the storyline. It was very boring and predictable. The characters were depressingly dull, and all of them were very one-sided (with the exception of Rose.) Rose was the only character who showed more than one trait. (For example, Albert was a bookworm, Meru was a perky, naive twit, and Miranda was an angry, annoying woman. None of these characters had any other distinctive traits.) As a writer, I'm insulted. Surely they could do better than that on the characterizations! And the storyline . . . well, the less said on that topic the better. But there were no suprise twists, no sudden revelations. The effect of constantly changing who the major bad guy was (e.g., first Lloyd, then Zieg, etc.) is reminiscent of FF8, but without the reasonable explanations. The plot seems like it was haphazardly thrown together five minutes before deadline. It seems contrived, like things were tacked on at the last minute to provide a hook. All in all, for characters I'd give a 3 out of 10, and for plot, maybe a 4.
There is no doubt that the graphics of the game were excellent. I'd give them a 9.5. The FMVs, though, were a little confusing. When I played the game through a second time, they made sense, but that was only because I had seen all the story links that connected the FMVs. A lot of them seem to be randomly thrown in just to have an FMV, and have very little to do with the story at that point. Some of them would have been much better placed at a different part of the game.
Music, I think, is also very important to an RPG. Maybe I've been spoiled by the Final Fantasy series and Uematsu's genius (or at least, it's genius in my opinion), but the music just wasn't that great. It didn't seem to really follow what was going on storywise at the time. Plus, most of it wasn't all that great. I do like the one piano piece that they play during emotional moments, but that's about it. None of the music "grabbed" me. I'd give it a 5.
Gameplay. It's one of the most important qualities of any game. The Additions system was all right, but the Dragoon magic really annoyed me. First of all, in order to use the right spells, you have to have the right person in your party. There is no way for Meru to use a Fire spell, or for Albert to use a Thunder spell. That annoyed me right there. Plus, the Dragoon magics are serious overkill for most enemies, as are the Dragoon additions. That means that the Dragoon forms are only useful in boss battles, which REALLY annoyed me. Special skills should be useful in at least 50% of the battles you fight, not 5%. Then, too, the Addition system could get frustrating, especially when you just can't get Hex Hammer or Cat's Cradle right. And the repetitive nature of the game drove me nuts. Once through the Valley of Corrupted Gravity was MORE than enough! Yet they make you suffer through it THREE TIMES! And the Barrens . . . arrgh. Not to mention the process to revise laws in Zenebatos. I was so tired of that place . . . Another thing that irritated me is that there was no character customization. Now a game like FF7 or FF8 offered a bit too many customization options, but this game has none. You need a Physical Ring to make ANY of the female characters useful. (I am a feminist, which means the weakness of the females pissed me off.) Gameplay-wise, I guess I would give this game a 6.
Another, minor thing that annoyed me was the way you moved around. In a game like Final Fantasy, you have a lot of choices about where to go. You can move freely. But in Legend of Dragoon, you are restricted to one path going one place and one place only. That irritated me greatly because I like to explore on my own.
All in all, it's not a bad game, and I would probably recommend it. However, it just doesn't rank up there with LUNAR or Final Fantasy. This game is over-simplified and seems almost like "RPG for idiots." What with the (!) marker to tell you to investigate something, and the blue/yellow/red HP indicators, and all the other things, I felt like I'd gone back to baby steps. If you've never played an RPG and you think you would like that extra bit of help, that's great for you, but I thought that it took all of the challenge out of it. Maybe it's just me.
Here are my scores for this game (out of 10):
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