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Developer:
Namco
Publisher: Namco
Platform: PS2
Release Date: February 7, 2006

by Josh Ferguson




For the first time in the U.S., Namco’s Tales series has made its way to the PlayStation 2 console. Tales of Legendia is an action-packed ride that Tales fans won’t want to miss!


Tales of Legendia opens with a young man, named Senel Coolidge, and his younger sister, Shirley, sailing in an attempt to hide from their enemies. However, after a short battle with a creature, a large mysterious light appears and their boat comes crashing into a large area of land. After the two siblings regain consciousness, it is revealed that many believe Shirley to be the “merines,” which is an individual who is able to pilot the legendary ship, the Legacy. Believing that Shirley is the merines, a man named Moses comes along and abducts the young girl. Of course, this doesn’t go so well with Senel, who will stop at nothing to save his sister.


As you progress through Tales of Legendia, your team will expand and consist of several very different characters. There is Senel, the gung-ho overprotective brother of Shirley; Chloe, the knight who fights for justice; Norma, the annoying childish treasure hunter; and Will, the intelligent historian who also keeps watch over the Legacy. The list of characters becomes even more impressive when you see the amount of work that has gone into developing each of them. Aside from the many character interactions that take place while traveling through dungeons and visiting towns, the game also features what it calls “skits.” These skits are fairly short conversations that take place between a few of your characters as your party is moving across the world map. While these skits aren’t mandatory and don’t really affect the story, they do help you to learn a little more about each of the characters' personalities. Of course, if you don't really feel like doing a lot of reading, this isn't necessarily a good feature.


Aside from the interesting characters, easily one of the most enjoyable things in Tales of Legendia is the combat system. The combat is usually fast-paced and the controls are pretty simplistic, but still lots of fun! Battles take place in 2D with up to four of your party members battling in a real-time scenario. Of the four party members, the player can only control one, while the other three are completely AI-controlled. It is possible to switch control of the lead party member and the character that you will control, but this can only be done when outside of combat. Even though the combat is fun, it still is a little disappointing that there isn’t any multiplayer action similar to Tales of Symphonia, which was released in 2004 for the GameCube.


Throughout combat, each character uses a special type of powers known as “eres.” These powers are similar to any special abilities that a character would perform in a typical RPG. Some of these powers include physical attack moves, healing spells, or offensive attack spells. In order to pull off some of these abilities, your character must first have them equipped. Pressing the circle button and linking it together with the arrows on the directional pad can use these eres powers. As a character uses their eres powers their supply of TP will begin to deplete. Normally a small amount of TP will be regenerated after battle, and it can also be restored by staying at inns or by using items.


There are a few different ways that characters can continue to grow in terms of eres powers. One of these ways is by continuously using the ability over and over again. As an ability reaches its max (which is normally 50 uses) the essence of that ability will be mastered, and sometimes a new form of that ability will become unlocked. The second method of gaining eres powers comes from obtaining eres stones. As you defeat monsters, occasionally they will drop these eres stones. Once you have defeated a certain number of enemies and obtained their stones, these abilities will become available.


When players progress through Tales of Legendia, often the characters will obtain new and improved titles. There are a variety of character titles, some of which are shared by many characters, and others that are unique to an individual. These titles are found through different methods, including sometimes leveling up, progressing to certain points of the story, or by meeting a variety of different qualifications. Aside from making your character sound cooler, these titles do have some sort of effect on the characters' stats and sometimes their elemental affinities.


One of the good things, and bad things, about Tales of Legendia is the size of the world map. Since the world map is fairly large, this often leads to plenty of combat and exploring opportunities. This also leads to occasional difficulty in finding certain locations and perhaps more random battles than you might want. However, the game does feature a clock, which makes it somewhat easier to locate key points, and normally the game makes a point of informing you where certain locations are found.


The graphics of Tales of Legendia are brightly colored and very good-looking. During combat, the characters and enemies move and look great, and their special abilities features some great action. Tales of Legendia also features some excellent anime-styled cinemas, which aren’t used too often, but when used they won’t disappoint! Each of the characters' portraits during conversations and other areas of the game also look very well done. Characters are highly detailed, and as I said earlier, very colorful and good-looking. The game also features some very large and brightly colored towns, dungeons, and other environments.


The sound in Tales of Legendia is just another area where the game is impressive. Not only does the game feature some really great voice acting, it also has a lot of it. There is often voice acting during the games skits, cut scenes, and also during battles. Also, the game features a very strong soundtrack, with some catchy and interesting tunes. Aside from the soundtrack, there are occasionally some short musicals sung by some side characters. These short musicals are not only nice-sounding but at times can be pretty funny too.


Besides the actual storyline, Tales of Legendia features even more side quests and extra adventures that can be completed after finishing the game. When players finish Tales of Legendia, they are then able to revisit the world and play through even more side quests. Some of these side quests will help wrap up some of the storylines that weren’t completely answered, and others will just add a little more value to the game.


Overall, Tales of Legendia is a fun and exciting game that is easily recommended to anyone who enjoys Namco’s Tales series. If you’re a fan of action RPGs or just a gamer who would like to break out of the normal turn-based combat, then Tales of Legendia should be in your PS2!


Final Grade: 81%




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