Lord Krunk Reviews #15: Legend of Dragoon (Review Wars III)

What is love? Love is subjective, love is an enigma, love is the drug. Some believe love to be an inherently deep, spiritual connection between two soul mates, and some believe it as simply a biological imperative that fuels desire and lust. But what are my beliefs on love? Well, I've never had much luck (nor tolerance) with women, and I've firmly established that I'm not gay. And yet I have experienced love, but not in the way you would expect:

I fell in love with a game. The game in question? Legend of Dragoon.

Now, you may ask, where does this fall into either soul mate-dom or sexual release? To answer the former, I would say that both this game and myself have endured a relationship akin to Jenny and Forrest Gump in the film of the same name; that is, we've been separated so many times and yet our bond finds ourselves again in the strangest of circumstances. As for the latter, well, let's just say that when I rediscovered it a few years ago in a bargain bin in the middle of nowhere, I jizzed in my pants.

But regardless of my nostalgia, this is a great game. But why a 'cult classic'? Well, let's just say that another game came out in the same year, one very similar and overwhelmingly popular, drawing to Legend of Dragoon a lot of hearty criticism and undeserved rejection amongst the gaming community. You may have heard of it.

So without further ado, I present this wholesome love letter review of a game long forgotten. One that changed my life forever and introduced me to the epic storytelling, lengthy gameplay and sheer fun of the RPG:

Lord Krunk Reviews: Legend of Dragoon

Set a 1100 years after a war between the angelic Winglies and Humans, resulting in the former's near-extinction and the latter's dominance over the land of Endiness, Legend of Dragoon follows the adventures of young soldier Dart and his epic revenge quest against a demon that slew his family and derailed his childhood. Gathering a ragtag team of friends along the way, the gang fight wars, uncover conspiracies and ultimately race against time to prevent the Apocalypse.

One of this game's defining qualities is its deceptive mask. For one, it's a turn-based RPG but applied in a very compelling way. Using a system called Additions, the player has to hit X at the exact time a large retracting box hits a smaller one at the center of the screen in different combinations. The player can switch between these combos with varying power, difficulty and contribution to the player's Spirit Points, which allow characters to harness the awesome power of the Dragoon. The result removes the dominance of invisible statistics and replaces it with that of skill which, contrary to the nature of turn-based RPGs, makes it extremely fun and consistently entertaining.
Another great concept applied in the game is its sheer diversity; you find yourself traveling through deserts, cities, other dimensions and eventually the Moon. The characters as well are also very diverse, together by circumstance and separated by differing motives that intertwine as the story progresses. Unlike most JRPGs and their characters' cringe-inducing wangst, these characters are actually believable, likable and empathetic. And amongst many other things, that's why I love this game so much.

image
One of the villains is a Ninja Pirate Angel Sorceress. Yes, it makes sense in context. Yes, it's fucking awesome.

The music of this game is also something to be adored, giving some brilliant soundscapes throughout all 4 discs. Although when you're comparing this to the likes of JRPGs like Pokemon and Final Fantasy, you can get quite jaded. I mean, if there's anything we can credit the Japanese for it's definitely their taste in music.
And this is all avoiding the sheer length of the game. The blurb tells me that it contains 80 hours worth of gameplay, but my experience has told me that that's on a speed run. So from that you may deduce just how much content is in this game, and how I feel nowadays when games only last for a few hours.

A characteristic of Love is its unconditional nature, to adore one for their flaws as well as their perks. And trust me when I say that this game has plenty of flaws. For one, the translation in the game is shocking. So shocking, in fact, that Legend of Dragoon breaches the bad and becomes awesome in its own hilarious sort of way. Rose's constant Fetishy spell animations and voice actor are laughable as well.

image
And now for the award for funniest Engrish in a JRPG... Legend of Dragoon, A Winner Is You!

Another issue is the series' graphical quality, which may have been good back in its day (it certainly looks better than Final Fantasy VIII, anyway) but by today's standards is laughable. You can see the polygons. You can see that geometric hair going through armour during the breathing animations. Some monster designs are just awful as well, and some are just old ones in different colours. Thankfully, this deja vu is avoided until late in the game.
Which leads me to the next problem, where Legend of Dragoon shifts in overall quality, going mostly downhill for various reasons, but to state them are mostly spoilers. Suffice to say that the excellent first and second discs of the game are let down by their subsequent third and fourth discs. They are also a lot shorter than their predecessors, which heightens the disappointment.
Finally, the game's plot is also disappointing. The plot twists are predictable, the villains aren't well rounded as characters (well, most of them anyway) and some important and thoroughly established subplots are either resolved rather poorly or just not resolved at all.

But that's just the thing. Legend of Dragoon, despite its frequent and ostentatious flaws, still remains a great game that I can't help but adore. Maybe it's nostalgia talking, but frequent replays (it's very replayable, by the way, mostly due to its lack of brevity and its creative battle system) over the years have seated this game amongst one of my all-time favourites. I love Legend of Dragoon, and should the day come when we are separated once more, I shall be a very sad man. Although thanks to the internet, maybe we're not as distant as I think.

Bottom Line: An old, forgotten classic that withstands the test of time, Legend of Dragoon stands as one of those games that I will have a hard time forgetting. It's bad, yet it's good. It's flawed but a joy to play.

Recommendation: Keep an eye out. It's worth a look, but you won't find it anywhere. Trust me, I've scoured Australia for a copy and only found one out of extremely good luck. That store that I found it in closed up shop later in the same year I bought it.

Lord Krunk didn't really jizz in his pants at the sight of the game. It was metaphorical. Yeah, metaphorical.

I can't see the second image, either. :'(

michael_sturtridge92:
snip

Fix'd for your viewing pleasure.

Lord Krunk:

michael_sturtridge92:
snip

Fix'd for your viewing pleasure.

Why thank you, Lord Krunk. Having read this review prior to this post, i must say i do enjoy the change of pace. You definitely have a flare for writing.

Looks better than FF13? Don't you mean FF7?

I mean, currently, there aren't many (if any at all, actually) games in the world better looking than FF13. love or hate the game, it's gorgeous.

Also,

HUT! HA! DOUBLE PUNCH!

Onyx Oblivion:
Looks better than FF13? Don't you mean FF7?

I mean, currently, there aren't many (if any at all, actually) games in the world better looking than FF13. love or hate the game, it's gorgeous.

Also,

HUT! HA! DOUBLE PUNCH!

You're absolutely right. I intended to say VIII, actually, but I must have added an X by accident.

HUT. HUP. DIE. MORE AND MORE!

Lord Krunk:

Onyx Oblivion:
Looks better than FF13? Don't you mean FF7?

I mean, currently, there aren't many (if any at all, actually) games in the world better looking than FF13. love or hate the game, it's gorgeous.

Also,

HUT! HA! DOUBLE PUNCH!

You're absolutely right. I intended to say VIII, actually, but I must have added an X by accident.

HUT. HUP. DIE. MORE AND MORE!

HRRRRRRRRRRGH! FLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME! SHOT!

I really emphasise with the attempt to make the review more entertaining. It's something I've always struggled with myself. I appreciate the effort you made here to make it entertaining, but while I found it a pleasant read, I was never entertained. Of course, there are the things the competition judges pointed out in their comments about the ill suited vulgar moments (pant jizzing didn't match the overall review) and slightly excessive amount of tangential links.

I have to wonder though, were you only trying to be funny in the introduction thingy before the review? As I didn't spot any attempted humour in the main review (and you really missed opportunitys to mock aspects of the game, although judging by your fond relationship with the game, you may have struggled to give it a elaborate beatdown).

Hope the feedback helps in some way. Even if my comments suggest otherwise, I quite liked the review despite all the issues I saw in it. I suppose I had a similar response to it as you did to Legend of the Dragoon (minus the pant jizzing of course, metaphorical or otherwise).

pigeon_of_doom:
I really emphasise with the attempt to make the review more entertaining. It's something I've always struggled with myself. I appreciate the effort you made here to make it entertaining, but while I found it a pleasant read, I was never entertained. Of course, there are the things the competition judges pointed out in their comments about the ill suited vulgar moments (pant jizzing didn't match the overall review) and slightly excessive amount of tangential links.

I have to wonder though, were you only trying to be funny in the introduction thingy before the review? As I didn't spot any attempted humour in the main review (and you really missed opportunitys to mock aspects of the game, although judging by your fond relationship with the game, you may have struggled to give it a elaborate beatdown).

Hope the feedback helps in some way. Even if my comments suggest otherwise, I quite liked the review despite all the issues I saw in it. I suppose I had a similar response to it as you did to Legend of the Dragoon (minus the pant jizzing of course, metaphorical or otherwise).

Thanks for that. I agree with you entirely.

Okay, so a rundown from my critics so far:

1) No love for The Lonely Island on the Escapist. *takes note*
2) My tone sucks. Gotta lay off the swears and vulgar language, which I was hoping everyone would say. Means I've been doing it right the entire time with my other reviews.
3) Links were more appreciated than I expected, but I'm still not going to make a habit of it.
4) Focus more attention on the gameplay.
5) Spend more than 2 nights working on a review, and get it proofread. (I swear this was the only time).
6) Artsy fartsy language does not a good review make (again, I was hoping for this).
7) Entertainment factor needs refining.

I think I've covered everything I need to improve on, just send a reply if you think there's anything else I can do.

The only comment I really had on this review was that the "entertainment aspect" of reviewing should come from the mouth of the review rather than through excess links to funny videos and ect. Such as your intro. Especially linking to things like TvTropes, which are know for their distracting qualities. Though you seem to have learned this. All in all, the review wasn't bad, but within the context of Review Wars, it came to no surprise that it didn't score high.

Pimppeter2:
The only comment I really had on this review was that the "entertainment aspect" of reviewing should come from the mouth of the review rather than through excess links to funny videos and ect. Such as your intro. Especially linking to things like TvTropes, which are know for their distracting qualities. Though you seem to have learned this. All in all, the review wasn't bad, but within the context of Review Wars, it came to no surprise that it didn't score high.

I believe I made the same mistake with my Bioshock review. I'll have to remember that later on.

 

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