The original PlayStation was rife with amazing Japanese role-playing games for a fan to devote their time playing. One of my favorites from that era was Legend of Legaia. It has been 21 years since the first game released and 17 years since it’s less-recognized sequel Legaia 2: Duel Saga. In this Fantasy Developer piece, I am pitching ideas for a new Legend of Legaia game and what I would like to see improved in a potential sequel or re-imagining.
Determining the plot in a JRPG is pretty simple. Oftentimes it involves the lone hero going on some sort of journey, meeting friends along the way to form a party, discovering the villain, and ultimately foiling their plans for world domination/destruction. I’ll outline a random plot here as well for the sake of the piece.
In this Legend of Legaia plot, our main hero in small village isolated from the rest of the world. One day, a meteor shower occurs. That is, what appears to be a meteor shower. In truth, it is the precursor to a greater danger. During this “meteor shower”, creatures called Seru rain down on the planet and start wreaking havoc. There are stronger forms of these creatures called Ra-Seru that can act as the generals or whatever for the greater threat. However, a few good Ra-Seru are mixed in that would like to stop this threat and will team up with the main protagonists to give them a fighting chance.
Just like that, a simple plot to get the story moving as the first hero finds a kind Ra-Seru to save his village and ventures into the world to try and save it after learning about the coming enemy. Along the way he meets new friends, all of which also possess cooperative Ra-Seru, and they defeat the generals inflicting harm in the world before taking the fight to the final boss who crashes into the planet near the end of the game.
Now that the plot is on the table, time to talk about the battle system.
Combat – Melee
Fortunately even after all these years, Legend of Legaia still has a unique and cool battle system that needs less revamping and just more improving. For those not familiar with how the standard combat works, think fighting game combos mixed in a turn based battle system. The closest example I can think of is Sabin from Final Fantasy VI and his Blitz techniques that require certain button commands to launch a special move. While random inputs will still cause damage, it’s the combos and chaining these combos that produce the most amount of damage.
Of course, we keep that. What we do is sweeten the pot a bit by adding many more moves in general to perform, allowing chains between characters, mixing elemental affinities to these attacks, and more along those lines. Being more ambitious, different weapon equips can lead to changes in all of these to widen the desire for experimentation.
In fact, not only should the weapons be tied to a variety of attacks, but perhaps each character links with other characters in numerous ways too. It can be similar to the Tech system in Chrono Trigger in that regard. Assuming the party is more than 3 people this time around, it would give players more incentive to mix the party up to determine what team makeup they prefer.
It’s that simple. Don’t throw it all away and add something completely different, but instead add to what is already a cool battle mechanic. Fleshing it out still keeps it incredibly unique while remaining engaging in the interactivity. Don’t fix what’s not broken. Solidify it so it’s that much better.
Combat – Magic
Magic is another important part of the combat and mixes in one of my favorite games of all time – Pokemon. What Legend of Legaia would do is giving the possibility of certain monsters being infused into your Ra-Seru and using their magic in battle. It was never a guarantee, so it required fighting the monster several times in hopes of the character defeating it to gain its power.
Again, I love this, and should remain. Much like the melee combat though, expand on it. Allow for more monsters (hell, do ALL of them) to be absorbed is an easy starting point. Maybe find ways to junction them to equipment to allow for elemental strengths/weaknesses in the combat. Add more types of magic elements as well. Considering how far Pokemon has come, there’s no reason a Legend of Legaia sequel couldn’t try to utilize similarities as well.
Also, keep the leveling system for magic. I loved being able to see my monsters grow in level resulting in more potent magic. Again, no reason to toss out a great idea. If you wanted to shake it up a bit, maybe add in branching options for magic. This would allow players to customize the magic skills they deem most important as they work their way to fill out the chart as a whole.
I adore Legend of Legaia‘s approach to magic. The mix of typical magic use with Pokemon capturing and add in the leveling of said magic is really cool. Considering how far games have come since Legend of Legaia released, I bet it would be an amazing experience today.
Honestly, the key is: make more Legend of Legaia. Outside of the look of the game, it ages pretty damn well for a JRPG. The only thing really required would be expanding on it. Very few JRPGs play the way it does, so keeping the same formula isn’t a knock against it as the uniqueness is still there. I want to feel that magic again, and I hope that one day I will.