The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion
Bandai brings the PSP its first full-blown RPG...and it's not half bad.
The Sony PSP had yet to get an RPG, you know? Sure, it had a game such as Untold Legends in its midst, and something could be said about the adventure provided within Sony's own Kingdom of Paradise. But I'm talking about a full-blown, old-school RPG, the kind that makes you sit up and take notice and recollect about the days of Final Fantasy or something like that. At last, PSP owners have that beacon with the arrival of Bandai's Legend of Heroes, a game that doesn't really have the strength to carve out a legacy unto its own but still manages to entertain nonetheless.
The story's pretty basic, but runs the mill. You take control of this adventurous kid who somehow got separated from his sister, the only family he's really ever known. But in his adventures, he finds himself taken up by plenty of new tasks, although he comes that much closer to finding out more about his sister and happily working his way towards a reunion. The road of good intentions, however, has the occasional brick that stands up and gets in your way.
The battle system is clearly old-school, yet one still gathering interest. It's turn-based combat in which you select your special spells or attacks in order to keep the enemy's energy dwindling, while also preserving the energy of your party by letting them sit out in a battle. The interesting addition here is the use of a "deadly meter", in which can fill up over a series of battles and then allows you to unleash a super attack that can be like a penetrating wave of hurt over the enemy. It's a nice touch. However, those seeking something new in their battle system will probably want to turn to Kingdom of Paradise instead.
The game has very cute but detailed graphics, harkening back to the old days of Lunar on the Sega CD...and thankfully not the somewhat-bad Lunar for the DS. The worlds look very detailed and the engine, while not allowing you to see really far beyond the eye can see, still manages to hold up well. Loading's pretty quick, and the battles can get rather intense.
I wish I could say the same for the music, though. It seems to mostly lie there with little motivation. I mean, it's easy on the ears, as are the other sound samples and voices in the game, but you expect something more from the likes of Microvision, something that says "Maybe I should go and pick up the soundtrack with this game!" You just don't feel that motivation here. Maybe with the sequel...
The sad part about Legend of Heroes is that it's over too quickly. I mean, there are several quality hours of questing here, and it moves along at such a pace that it's hardly ever considered boring, but once it ends, there's really no real reason to go through it again and again. I guess that's the main thing that keeps its legacy from growing. However, the journey's still a thrilling one, and RPG fans should have every reason in the world to check out this Legend.
What's Hot: Great gameplay system and graphics that hunker back to the old school.
What's Not: Music is pretty average, and the quest is over way too soon.