NIS America have brought plenty of their back catalogue of RPGs to modern audiences with remastered revivals, with the latest release being the Legend of Legacy HD Remastered. I didn’t have a Nintendo 3DS during its launch in 2015, but with the publisher’s record of offering quality niche RPGs, was eager to play it in its remastered form. Unfortunately, whilst the game certainly has some interesting ideas, it can also make for a repetitive experience that doesn’t hold up all that well nine years on from its original release.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Taking place on a mysterious island known as Avalon, The Legend of Legacy HD Remastered sees players take control of one of seven protagonists as they map out the uncharted regions of the land in search of a supposed hidden treasure. Well, it turns out that the island has some secrets to go along with that treasure, with peculiar stones known as Singing Shards telling of a magical war that had previously taken place on its land. It’s up to you to uncover more about the rich history of Avalon, all whilst figuring out how your destiny is tied to it.

Whilst the narrative does have its moments of intrigue, it’s hardly the most immersive of tales by RPG standards. The Legend of Legacy HD Remastered keeps things relatively simple throughout, and whilst there are seven characters to play as that have their own story to tell, they each follow a routine formula that’s rarely unpredictable. And that’s fine, especially since there’s a certain charm to each character that makes them enjoyable to play as, but I couldn’t help but to hope for more across the lengthy adventure.

When it comes to the gameplay, The Legend of Legacy HD Remastered offers your typical RPG experience, with a focus placed on combat and exploration. Combat follows the turn-based blueprint that any RPG fan will be familiar with, but it does introduce a few neat ideas to help spice things up. For one, there’s an emphasis placed on your party formation, with players assigning the position of each party member as battles begin and then changing it up throughout the encounter. These formations bring with them specific skillsets that tie directly into the strategy of each formation, whether it’s going on the attack in an offence-based position or preserving your health in a defence-based position. With additional formations unlocking as you progress through the game, you’ll continually be able to utilise new skills that’ll better help you deal with the ever-evolving threat.

“It might be a nine-year old game now, but it certainly holds up to modern standards when it comes to the visuals.”

Another innovation comes in the elemental system that sees each dungeon you explore being connected to a specific element. That element is then strengthened, meaning any characters or skills that utilise it are granted a boost in battle. It’s something that you REALLY have to take advantage of in the game, because if you don’t, you’ll feel severely underpowered in some encounters. However, this also means that you’re often forced to utilise specific characters or strategies to take advantage of said element, which does feel counterintuitive when compared to the freedom and flexibility offered in utilising different formations. Whilst it’s a neat idea, its implementation could’ve been better balanced to ensure that it still gave players flexibility in their battle approach.

In fairness, both mechanics help ensure that the turn-based battling stays interesting throughout but be warned: there are some NASTY difficulty spikes in boss encounters that’ll catch unprepared players off-guard. Whilst setting up a specific formation or ensuring you’re using an elemental boost to your advantage can alleviate, there’ll still be numerous occasions where you’ve just got to accept a beating and hope for the best. Normally, I’d take the grinding approach to deal with this, but The Legend of Legacy HD Remastered doesn’t utilise a conventional levelling system – instead, players will randomly gain boosts in specific stats as they progress through battles. It’s something I’ve seen done before in the SaGa series so it isn’t completely new, but honestly? I didn’t like it, with it making character development a more unpredictable and less rewarding experience.

When it comes to exploration, The Legend of Legacy HD Remastered offers a variety of dungeons to explore that each follow a different theme. You’re rewarded for completing maps of each dungeon, so you’ll want to uncover every nook and cranny to earn maximum rewards. It’s surprisingly addictive, and with the combat mechanics proving competent throughout, the gameplay loop can be pretty engaging early on.

Check out some screenshots down below:

However, it doesn’t change beyond that – whilst there are additional dungeons to explore as you progress, the gameplay never really evolves beyond what you do over the first hour. I’ve put around forty hours into The Legend of Legacy Remastered HD but feel like I saw everything that it really had to offer in the first five. I liked the game enough to stick at it, but others might want more from their RPGs.

At least it looks really pretty though, with the visual upgrade over the original Nintendo 3DS release proving to be very impressive. The character models look great upscaled in HD, whilst the colourful hand-painted environments were eye-catching throughout. It might be a nine-year old game now, but it certainly holds up to modern standards when it comes to the visuals.

The Legend of Legacy HD Remastered Review

The Legend of Legacy HD Remastered has some neat ideas, but the repetitive gameplay loop and lack of engaging storytelling holds it back. It’s not that I’d say that anything in the game is bad at all, but rather that the systems it has didn’t offer enough to keep me invested in the meaty adventure. Whilst I enjoyed toying about with the formation system, loved the visuals, and found the gameplay loop engaging early on, there are a few too many flaws for it to stand out as an essential release of the genre.

Developer: Cattle Call
Publisher: NIS America
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch