When it comes to Nintendo’s Gamecube RPG’s have been few and far between, so when Sega announced Skies of Arcadia Legends, plenty of Cube owners rejoiced. Now the Dreamcast port has finally hit store shelves, and it’s not one to disappoint.
One of the key factors in making a top RPG title is to include a storyline that will help move the game along. In Skies of Arcadia you play as Vyse, a young pirate who is on a quest to save Arcadia. Through the game you will take your forces against an evil empire, as you try to make a name for yourself on land and in the sky. What it all comes down to is Vyse who is the "Robin Hood" of Arcadia, who steals from the rich and gives to the needy. The story will play out throughout the game with a variety of cut scenes that are quite interesting.
In reality there are two types of RPG battle systems, turn based and then there are the real-time/action adventure RPG’s. Although I am not a huge fan of the turn based battle system, Overworks did a good job of manipulating the turn based battle system, and have added a lot of variety to make sure things don’t get too repetitive. While on the ground you have the option of Running, Selecting an Item, Guard, Attack, Special Move, Magic, and Focus. Like most RPG’s, the more you fight the higher your stats will grow, and essentially you want to level up as much as possible.
Not only do you have the normal ground-based turn-based battles, the air-based battles are twice as fun. While up in the air you will in control of the ships and will have to navigate through areas to get to certain destinations. While navigating the vessels, you may encounter other pirate ships that you will have to take out. This is really where I had the most fun in the game. These battles are not only fun to play, but are also just great to watch. These are not easy battles either; strategy plays a big role in these battles and therefore one wrong move could cause your vessel to be blown up.
Throughout the game you will end up fighting a lot of bosses, that are a lot bigger and stronger then you are, but you will have to use some strategic moves, and a little magic to defeat the bosses. The first few weren’t incredibly difficult, but when you get later on through the game, this is when you really have to know your opponents weaknesses and exploit them.
When you’re not attacking things or navigating the vessel around, you will be roaming towns, a lot similar to Zelda. Where you will be given small puzzles to figure out, which gives the game another expansion of the normal RPG. I actually enjoyed roaming around a lot, because it took you away from the normal RPG scene and allowed you to explore a bit.
Overall the game still follows most of the lines of a typical turn based RPG. Through the game there will be a lot of random battles that you will either end up just running from, or fight because you want to increase your stats. This is one aspect of the RPG world that I hope is changed real soon, because there are just so many battles you can take before you just decide to run from them all.
When the game starts you are blessed with a long cut scene that features some superb visuals, along with some nice voice acting. To bad that is really the only time you get to hear the voice acting, so you will end up having to read most of the dialogue throughout the game. As for all the rest of the sound it fares just about average. The sound effects during the game are fine. The one thing that is quite irritating is the victory expressions after defeating opponents. There are only a few different expressions that they use and they are very irritating.
It’s nice that we have the graphics section first on the review because lets just get the disappointing aspect of the game out of the way. Having played a little bit of Skies of Arcadia on the Dreamcast, this is port that hasn’t been updated enough to qualify for even decent for today’s standards.
This is not to say that the graphics haven’t been updated from the previous version, because it has. The textures have been sharpened and the environments are looking a lot better then on the Dreamcast, but they are just not cutting it.
There just isn’t enough detail that we have come to expect, and the animations looks dated. Overall the graphics are below average, and are not going to look a lot different from the Dreamcast version, which is quite disappointing.
Do you like RPG’s? Are turn based RPG’s your thing? Well then this is a game that will definitely do you well. I can honestly say I am not usually a fan of the genre, but this one did a very nice job starting to change my mind. This is one that is going to take you a long, long time to finish.
This is one of those RPGs that focus more on delivering a solid gameplay experience instead of just displaying snazzy graphics. The below par graphics holds down the game’s overall score, but if you can look past that, Legends is an excellent RPG for Cube gamers starving for some decent RPGs.
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