It’s almost fitting that the publisher of Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds is called Another Indie, because this latest game by developer Semisoft (the name likely a play on Squaresoft) feels like just another Japanese JRPG homage. At this point, Western gaming isn’t exactly starved for JRPGs like it once was thanks to faster localisations nowadays. Instead we now perhaps have far too many of these games in the West, and that includes on the Xbox Store. Although it has some original aspects to it, ultimately this latest indie JRPG feels far too derivative, and not in borrowing any of the good bits either.
To get some positives out of the way, Legrand Legacy actually scores some points on originality with its premise and setting. Sure, the character designs feel all too familiar, but the strong Middle Eastern influences shine through enough to help the game world stand out from other fantasy settings. The Arabian aesthetics are apparent in the architecture and costumes depicted, and of course throughout the scorching desert setting where the game starts out in. The themes explored are also a departure from typical JRPG feelgood stories, with Legrand Legacy tackling issues such as slavery, human trafficking and other dark activities making up the ugly underbelly of medieval times.
While it has a strong setup and interesting setting, the characters and narrative are anything but original. Their designs are typical even with the Middle Eastern touch, and even their respective backstories tread on familiar territory with the likes of a traumatised amnesiac to a mysterious evil-ish companion with complicated motives. The actual delivery of the story isn’t all that great either, with the dialogue being a chore to read through and the storyline borrowing too many tried and tested tropes. Although everything is set in an interesting world with dark elements, the story is typical.
Visually Legrand Legacy is a mixed bag, but at the very least the hand-drawn pre-rendered backgrounds look really nice even when they are rather limited in scope and almost never translate well into gameplay. Backgrounds aside, Legrand Legacy looks like an amateur mobile game with bland and dated 3D models that make PS1 RPGs look technically superior. This is just an aesthetically dull looking game which really underachieves in both graphical fidelity and visual expression.
It also doesn’t help that, as bad as the game looks, it also performs rather poorly as well, with frequent lengthy load times and tediously slow animations. This game isn’t exactly running off a CD-ROM drive on a 32bit console, and so there is really no reason why something which basically looks like an upscaled mobile game can’t cope on a high definition console like the Xbox One.
The mobile game analogy unfortunately also applies to the actual gameplay and design as well. The hand-drawn backdrops are nice and there are a variety of places to explore, but each location is simply a bite-sized snippet no larger than a room. Each area is cumbersomely designed where the pre-rendered visuals and locked camera angles make exploration needlessly tedious. There are shops, towns and overworld map segments, but each of these tiny areas feel like they are held together with duct tape as the game world as a whole just doesn’t feel cohesively assembled.
The turn-based combat system borrows some active-time battle sensibilities from older Final Fantasy games, and once again a standard mobile mechanic finds its way here; each time you initiate any attack or spell you need to time a button press in order to get the best execution. It’s a cool idea at first but it gets old very, very quickly. The pace and frequency of battles can get tiring too, and even though the game normally doesn’t have random battles it is almost impossible to avoid enemy encounters within the suffocating maps you have to explore.
All the different moving parts of this RPG adventure ultimately feel disjointed, whether it is the visuals, combat system, or overall design. One thing which does consistently impress throughout is the music as Legrand Legacy has a rather dark orchestrated score which can help with the immersion and make things bearable… to an extent.
Legrand Legacy: Tale of Fatebounds on Xbox One is a passable Japanese RPG knock-off at best. It has some original elements and ideas in its premise and presentation, but everything else feels too familiar and it doesn’t exactly borrow good ideas from genre exemplars. As a whole, this is a disjointed RPG adventure with all of its parts struggling to be held together, ultimately coming across as an upscaled mobile RPG finding it difficult to perform on Xbox One.