After completing the superb Tales Of Symphonia on the Nintendo GameCube I was looking forward to another game from Namco in the series. Tales Of Legendia is the first appearance of the series on the PS2 (along with Tales Of Phantasia and Tales Of Eternia on the GBA SP and PSP respectfully). While this game isn't as great as ToS it's still very good in its own right.
ToL is about two siblings named Senel Coolidge and Shirley Fennes. They are on a marine ship looking for land. The ship crashes and the two are lucky to land on The Legacy; a huge ship that looks like the environment. Senel must find freshwater for Shirley as she is allergic to seawater. He finds the sheriff of Werites Beacon (Will Raynard) and asks him where he can find freshwater for her. When she's in the water she starts glowing and Will wants to know what's going on. Shirley is then kidnapped by a bandit named Moses. That's where the story starts and then we are on a wild ride filled with shocking revelations.
The game is a random-battle RPG game. You run around the world map until you get an encounter. The game's fighting engine was created by the developers of Soul Calibur III. You fight your opponents as if it is a 2D fighting game. You attack, block, and avoid the blows of the enemies. Up to three companions can fight alongside you and you can issue them orders. Most battles last about 15-30 seconds and most of them are pretty easy for a seasoned veteran. Some bosses can be pretty tough but as long as you have plenty of gels and potions you'll probably survive the war of attrition. The only problems are the slow movement on the world map and the 5 second pause after winning a battle and the map reloading (this doesn't happen in dungeons, though). The encounter rate is moderately high but it's worth it for the money, level upping, and items.
The game has some tremendous music; some of the best I've heard in an RPG in sometime. The voice acting is done by many of the top names in the genre. There are some entertaining characters such as Norma Beatty, a hyper-happy wunderkind treasure hunter who has nicknames for all the people in the party, Chloe Valens, who is a knight who has a very serious side and calls the male characters by their last names but wants to show her non-serious side and is embarrassed that she can't swim. Moses Sandor is the bandit with a Texas accent who is more charming and graceful than he looks. There's also the Oresoren, evolved otters who always say "Ors!".
The game clocks in at 30 hours but after beating it there is another 8-10 hours with character quests featuring your leveled up characters. Also, many of the same nuances from Tales Of Symphonia are here. You'll learn new recipes to cook up from all the food you find, the oldest character bonks the younger characters in the head when they say something offensive, the plentiful money and health gels and the voices during the battles. There's a lot of voice acting here; with very few cut-scenes offering silence.
This is another fine RPG for the PS2 and although it isn't in the class of ToS or Dragon Quest VIII it is worth getting. If you love the Tales series it's a must play. I can't wait for the next PS2 game in the series: Tales Of The Abyss.
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