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Legasista Review

LegasistaFor some, 2010’s ClaDun: This is an RPG! and its sequel- 2011’s ClaDun X2, capably indulge the dungeon exploring urge, offering an engaging blend of Rogue-like exploration with real-time combat reminiscent of early entries in the Legend of Zelda series. Exhibiting a number of nuanced systems which reward players who can appreciate intricacy, as well as offering expedited jaunts ideal for gamers on the go, both titles deliver lasting enjoyment in delicious, short-term bursts.

The recent digital distribution of Legasista for the PlayStation 3, reveals a game which borrows many of the core mechanics of System Prisma’s ClaDun series, while adding an elongated tutorial and a richer narrative. Aside from concise, homogeneous missions better suited to the time constraints of portable play, Legasista is an absorbing console title capable of thoroughly fascinating role-playing fans.

LegasistaAdmittedly, the game’s plot doesn’t make the best initial impression, seemingly supplying dispensable whimsy and well-worn tropes. At the commencement of the game, players are introduced to the game’s protagonist- Alto, who has embarked on a mission to repeal a curse which has consigned his sister to a crystal. The hero’s journey takes him to the Ivy Tower, an oversized organic, structure that conceals the item to liberate his sibling; which certainly sounds like a hackneyed impetus. However, give Legasista a few hours, and the game’s storytelling becomes more poignant that its preamble might indicate. Dialog between Alto and his sister segues from typical familial repartee to endearing concern, and before long it’s hard not to identify with the protagonist’s plight. Similarly, the game’s humor becomes more focused- especially when sentient bean sprouts enter the story, perverting typical carnivorous guilt into vegetarian remorse.

Whereas ClaDun assumes a passing familiarity with Rogue elements, Legasista explains its complexities through eleven protracted training stages. Although the title initially seems unassuming, overlooking a single detail can prove lethal, such as how running through a dungeon (rather than walking) halves your defensive rating. Soon, players are exposed to the variety of traps which litter Legasista’s levels, which range from Indiana Jones-like arrows shot from walls to earthquakes capable of injuriously shaking sections of the floor. Unlike ClaDun where triggering a trap meant a randomized wait period, Legasista’s snares activate with punctuality, making it far easier to use the devices to damage enemies.

LegasistaThe game’s other core deviation from ClaDun is the revision of the Magic Circle, a circuitous object which could endow statistical bonus with the placement of characters and item. In its place are Legasista’s Energy Frames- linear systems of attributes that can be tweaked to glean an advantage in battle. Now a player’s item set are part of their health system, as enemies whittle away at the durability of equipped items before stealing a character’s hit points. Party members play a more active role, as players are able to flip through teammates with a flick of the right analog stick. Consequently, gamers are given more tools to tackle adversity, provided that the team of characters are equipped with a variety of melee and ranged weapons. For those wishing to pinch every last advantage out of their party, players can even assign different ability-boosting titles and subtitles to their team or change jobs, revealing a lot of stat shifting going on underneath Legasista’s unassuming  veneer.

Complementing the Ivy Tower quest are the game’s ran-geons, randomized dungeons which present procedurally generated levels. These challenges can be quite formidable, with legions of high-level foes skulking about- but they also present the possibility of earning a bundle or experience points, or a piece of instrumental loot. Whether players are tackling the main campaign or these extra-curricular excursions, Legasista forces you to make tough decisions. Poison affects characters in four different ways, and unlike most games where it’s a slow, methodical killer, here toxicity ranges from manageable to downright murderous. Likewise, many items found in treasure chests and in the claws of defeated beasts depreciate in potency as gamers ascend each floor, tempting players to use a tool as soon as possible. Yet, doing so may leave characters empty-handed after an enemy assault on the next floor. Cleverly, death really feels unfair as in Legasista’s world, prudence leads to perseverance.  Unlike most Rogue-likes death is more of a temporary setback, jettisoning players back to the hub world without any newly acquired items and half their earned experience.

LegasistaLegasista employs high-resolution tiles to construct its dungeons, lending the game a modest appearance. Although monster designs are culled from ClaDun (and still succumb to palette swapping to inflate the roster) seeing adversaries in HD is a visual treat. Adventurer models are a bit simplistic but the game does permit players to create their own graphics for both characters and weapons through an intuitive editor. With the option to import designs via a thumbdrive it seems likely that a few fans will share their handiwork; YouTube videos have already flaunted a respectable representation of Mega Man.

For ClaDun veterans, Legasista offers enough adjustments and new mechanics to help rekindle a dungeon-scouring romance. As countless Rogue-likes have proven, exploring stages filled with traps and monsters while managing a small supply of items, placates some primordial desire. Coupled with a screwball storyline which provides an impetus for the exploration and monster extermination, Legasista is charismatic enough to lure new player into its world of traps, treasure, and character tweaking.


About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. There a lot of anime girls on your front page these days. What are trying to “Moe Kill” us?!?

  2. Thanks. I’ve been looking for a trustworthy review for Legasista before I drop my $30.

    Is it me or does the game seem a bit pricey compared to ClaDun?

    • $30 seems like a lot for a DLC game but like the review said you can put hours into this one with even stepping foot into a Baby-geon.

      Bought it last week and racked up 18 hours and I don’t even think I’m close to being done. In that way it’s like Disgaea.

  3. Why isn’t this on disc? I want something I can trade in if I don’t like.

  4. Great review, dood!

    One question: can you explain how the character creation part works? You mention you can use a flashdrive. Does that mean you can use any pictures?

  5. Good game. You ever play Shiren the Wanderer? That’s also a kick-ass roguelike. It’s turn based but very cool.

  6. So does the game have story all the way through or just a bunch at the beginning and then just a bit of follow-up?

  7. 1) If it was physical like the japanese release I would of bought it

    2) the game is awesome

  8. Cool idea, but I have to say the look of the game is a turn off. Seems way too retro to me.

  9. Good review. Did you guys know that there’s a site trying to use your name?

    Check out

    • That’s just Blue’s spin off site. Hahaha 😉

      I saw Cheapy D caught a guy saying he was from CAG trying to get review copies. I guess you’re never safe.

  10. Good review, but personally I would have liked to hear your thoughts on The Last Story a bit more.

    • Get it don’t listen to 4.0ing trolls!

      Deagle- great review. I was thinking about picking this up. Thought it was going to very close to ClaDun, which I liked.

  11. A “B”? they don’t give NIS games a B on this site.

    Whats the hell is going on here anyway?

    In all seriousness, great review. You knocked it out of the park, my Legabrotha!

  12. Good review. But if it’s a download game how come you didn’t use the “what is the concept…” model for review?

  13. I’ll probably pick this up on my next payday. Any PS+ discount?

  14. Wow, looked at your Cladun X2 review and the games do look similar but the PSP on is all pixely.

  15. This looks like a really boring game. I hope it comes with No-Doz.

    • Anyone with “Bro” in the username should probably keep playing Gears of War. You don’t understand or appreciate this.

  16. You CONVENIENTLY forgot to mention that Legasista lacks any kind of dubbing and it just in Japanese with English subs. Nice you see that your reward laziness and just hand out good scores like candy.