For the longuest time the absence of quality console jRPG games from the iDevice was a gaping hole just waiting to be filled. Early this year Square Enix re-released FINAL FANTASY and FINAL FANTASY II for the iDevice, then followed up with CHAOS RINGS, a celebrated RPG that I thought could have been so much more. What we were left with was the excellent port of the PSP classic – Crimson Gem Saga. Now you can add another to the list thanks to Gameloft’s ambitious title Eternal Legacy.
Starting with the first scenes, it’s obvious what Eternal Legacy is – a clone of the best of Final Fantasy series and more specifically – Final Fantasy VIII – a classic console jRPG. Astrian and Taric, two misfits in the current society dominated by the industrial magnate Frey, are undertaking a bold plan to steal the source of his power – the famous Varsh stone. But just as they are about to do so they are beaten to the punch by the mysterious Reinhart. Joined by Frey’s daughter they now have to chase after the thief, find friendship, love and fate in the process.
Eternal Legacy offers a huge world for you to explore with limited openness. Most of the time you’ll find yourself following the plot, but from time to time there will be opportunities when you can enjoy some more open exploration. And if you’re tired of simply following the story you can take a break to do some side-quests, enter a tournament to gain some superb prizes or even partake in some Piyagi racing. As other genre representatives, Eternal Legacy features a distinct combat system that whisks you off to a battle any time you encounter an enemy. A good thing is that the enemies are clearly visible in the surrounding areas and if you wish, almost everytime you can avoid them.
The combat itself is traditional, but offers a few interesting concessions for the iDevice specifics. All characters perform a single action one after the other, be it an attack, a special skill or using an item. You can choose whether you will only directly control the party leader or every member of the team. Honestly, considering the rather quick action timer, I found controlling the whole party quite difficult, even with my experience in the genre. Even the action queue – the other original feature which allows you to queue up to 3 actions to be automatically executed when possible – didn’t help me in this respect. In fact, the inability to change an action once it’s entered into the queue has instead led to my demise a number of times, when a hasty entry of several attack action left me without the chance to react to a devastating enemy attack and drink a healing potion.
The character customization, as do many other features, clearly identifies what game inspired Eternal Legacy. Of course as with any console jRPG don’t expect to modify character attributes directly. And character leveling mostly affects only the HP and MP available. The equipment management is also classic – each character has slots for a weapon, armor, helmet and one accessory. The first 3 can be further augmented by fragments, giving their owner either some passive bonuses or skills to use. Some extra-powerful ones even allow calling upon nature’s spirits to wreak havoc on the enemies.
Eternal Legacy fully leverages the capabilities of the iPhone 4 to deliver very nice graphics. I did feel some weapon textures could’ve been a bit more detailed but other than that I never felt cheated in any way. The interface is rather intuitive and apart from the frustrating inability to cancel queued actions, I had no problems with it. As well, the use of the accelerometer to control Piyagi racing was certainly a nice touch.
Eternal Legacy does what Chaos Rings couldn’t – it brings the first truly original and full-featured console jRPG experience to the iDevice. From the story, to the combat, to the environment and mini-games, everything shows the quality and amount of work put into making this excellent title. And while it may not be fair to compare it with the modern full-scale RPG games on the PS3 and 360, it’s miles and miles ahead of any competitors currently on the App Store. Eternal Legacy is definitely a must have for anyone even remotely interested in RPG games.
With this I declare Eternal Legacy officially touched!
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0.0||Min OS Req:||3.1.2|