The PlayStation Classics: The Legend of Dragoon

When people think about iconic PlayStation JRPGs, certain titles come to mind. People will think about Arc the Lad, Tales, or Final Fantasy, for example. But there is always one Sony original that comes to the forefront. People can’t forget about The Legend of Dragoon. PlayStation Classics can’t either, which is why we’re talking about this incredible game today.

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Do You Still Remember

The Legend of Dragoon starts out in the same sort of way as hundreds of other RPGs. We have a young man who has lost everything, thanks to a black monster that destroyed his home and killed his parents. When he gets back to his new digs, he learns that the new town he lives in is a casualty in the Serdian war and his childhood friend, Shana, has been captured. To be frank, it’d be more surprising if he wasn’t suddenly declared a hero at this point.

King Albert, of Basil, ends up recruiting Dart, Shana, and their growing band of cohorts to fight back against the Sandora faction. It’s once he starts fighting back to save the country and his friends that The Legend of Dragoon starts changing the formula. Characters connect with Dragoon Spirits to become warriors with the power to don special armor, transform, and call upon the power of certain dragons. We learn about how the history of the ancient Dragon Campaign are still having an effect on life today. Oh, and naturally it explains why Dart was apparently such a bad luck target at the outset of the game.

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Find a Way to Bring Back Yesterday

It is the idea of these Dragoon Spirits that makes The Legend of Dragoon so special, as they provide an excuse for people to suddenly matter, an in-battle gimmick, a reason for certain people to keep coming in and out of your party. Since the game’s events sometimes echo the story elements from the Dragon Campaign, we are limited to the same number of warriors that appear then. It acts as a parallel and provides an excuse to keep things manageable.

From what people know at the outset of The Legend of Dragoon, Dart seems like an ordinary young man with nothing really exceptional about him at the outset. Lavitz is mostly a normal lancer and soldier. Meru, while being a Wingly, is mostly normal, energetic woman. Giving them these Dragoon Spirits cements them as notable, even if later in the game there are no revelations that make us realize, “Yes, these people were special all along.” Also, by keeping it down to seven and making it so spirits have to “choose” people, we aren’t overwhelmed by everyone having the potential to become such warriors.

These Dragoon Spirits make the turn-based battles more intense. The normal fights, where you choose not to power up characters, are fine. They even implement an Addition system where, when you attack, you basically complete a brief quick-time-event and press buttons to create combos that can do more. For example, Dart starts out with a Double Slash addition, which can level up to perform more damage. When you are a Dragoon, you can perform a Dragoon Attack (complete with its own sort of Addition that adds more damage and a possible elemental attack) or use Dragoon Magic. Perfect D-Attacks are a huge game changer that can turn the tide in a fight, while the magic lets you exploit elements. Dart starts with the Flame Shot spell, which hits one enemy and does fire damage, and sticks with fire attacks at all his Dragoon levels. But, someone like Lavitz will also get a wind-related Rose Storm spell that acts as a buff that reduces the damage everyone will take.

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I Never Thought, Thought That It Would Be Our Last Goodbye

Even though The Legend of Dragoon is a self-contained story and wraps up all of the lose ends rather well by the end, it felt like there could have been an opportunity for more. People still have dragoon stones. Surely more threats would eventually arise. Maybe in a generation or two? Shu Yoshida did once mention a pre-production sequel that was canceled. At the very least, we do have the one game to appreciate. Those who have a PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, or PlayStation Vita can get it for $5.99 on the North American PlayStation Store and ¥617 on the Japanese PlayStation Store. Unfortunately, it is not available on the PS4, in Europe, or on the PlayStation Classic.

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