Tales of Legendia is by the books as an RPG can get.
I'm a big fan of the early Tales of games like Phantasia and Destiny, so I was expecting something on par with those. I kinda got that I guess, the battle system was atleast close to par (where's my Tempest attacks?), but the story didn't "grab" me like the other Tales of games I've played. The biggest flaw in the game is the weak weak weak weak dungeons, luckily they're short, otherwise my mind would of dried up from the boredom. Another thing that annoyed me was the overly cutesy stuff, I like that stuff in small doses, like in Symphonia and Abyss, but it was pounded fairly hard in this game. There was sing and dance numbers for petes sake. I like the lack of skits though, and I'm glad they're voiced out, it actually made me WANT to see a skit, unlike Abyss where I dreaded when one came up every 2 minutes.
I liked the characters, but I had the same problem with Abyss, is they're just to same-y with other games, to the point of dejavu. Outside of all of that, I guess I liked the game, atleast the battle system made up for the rest.
Tales of Legendia is an action / rpg. You control one character at a time, with a total of four characters in your group can fight a battle at a time aswell. You may give orders, or change strategys with the non-playable characters in your team though.
If you're familiar with Tales of Phantasia, Destiny or Destiny II (Eternia in Japan), then you'll have a good idea what to expect with this battle system. If you're familiar with Symphonia or Abyss, then expect something similar but also, alot different. The battle system is like a side scroller, but with 3D modeled characters. When you initiate battle, your team will start on one end, and your enemies will start on another end of a platform. You then charge after then and attack will all your might button mashing away. It's not all button mashing, but it s starts to feel that way after a while, but then again, what Tales of game doesn't?
In Legendia, your characters learn "Eres", this is your magic and tech attacks. You use these attacks by using the O button, or commanding them from your NPC members in or outside of battle. Each time you use an Eres 50 times, it will max out it's full potential and you can these fuse those maxed out Eres together to form a new Eres, although I found most of them to be useless. The big finisher move in the game is a "Climax", there's a meter on the bottom of your screen, and after so much damage you give the enemy, you will charge it up. Once it's fully charged, you can unleash this Climax move with the L button, this slows down time for the enemy, where you'll have free range to attack him, or you can hit the L button again to form a combo attack to create massive damage.
All enemy encounters are completely random, other than boss fights of course. This might throw modern Tales of fans off, but I dig it. The loading is quick and the battles are short, so I never got bogged down to much. The biggest problem I have with this game is the lack of puzzles in the dungeons. I didn't encounter a single puzzle (outside of the Puzzle booth, more on that later) until the 5th or 6th chapter in the game, and they're mind numbingly simple. Just about all dungeons are exactly the same, from the first dungeon to the last. All you do is run from point A to point B. While running and fighting you'll find treasure chests, and a weird round shaped black force field looking thing. When you run into this black field and get attacked by a monster, you'll fight harder than normal monsters this way. If you beat the monsters, the field will go away, and after that you will either find a short cut through the dungeon, or more than likely a treasure chest.
The puzzle booths are the only real puzzles found in the game, and they're fairly simple pushing blocks and shooting triggers. You find these booths at the end of most dungeons and there's only about 7 or 8 in total, if even that many.
----------Characters / Story----------
You play as Senel, an Alliance Marine, who is running away from someone or something with his sister Shirley on a boat. After they hit land, Shirley is immediately captured by some bandits and Senel takes it upon himself to go save her. Senel will eventually meet Will, the older, more subdued character of the group. Will is a sheriff and historian. The group will also meet up with the valiant knight Chloe, who travels across the lands doing whats right. You will meet up with Norma, the comic relief character in the group, who is a treasure hunter by trade. You'll meet alot of other people along the way that will join your group, but I would be spoiling storyline if I went any further. Anyways, the main storyline involves saving Shirley.
The game flows in chapters, 7 in all. The main quest is quite short, and I'll be honest, the story wasn't that great either. The first half of the game was just overly cutesy with the dialog, and it didn't really start to get "dark" and interesting until about the 5th chapter and by then I started to lose interest. After you beat the game you get a whole new quest to start if you want.
Compared to Abyss or Symphonia, the graphics are a complete change, mostly because this was made by a different company I believe. Anyways, the game is in 3D and uses all CGI, so no celshade at all. While the game is in 3d, you have no control over the camera angles or anything while in towns or dungeons (although you can within the world map), so it's a little like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicals.
There's obviously nothing graphically impressive done within this game, but I enjoyed the artstyle for the most part. The anime cells during dialog scenes look great, and the mouths move, eyes blink, and often change positions depending on the mood. The normal character models though are poorly put together if you ask me. There's no close up shots during dialog scenes, like you would see in the other Tales games within this generation, so all reaction shots are just hands waving or thought bubbles over the head, so it's not that exciting.
The battle system looks good though. It looks like they tried to bring back the PS1 era of Tales games, but in 3d. The character models on these screens look great however, and so do most of the monsters.
The game features a ton of anime cutscenes, more than Symphonia and Abyss (maybe), but they're very short and quick.
I really like some of the music and hate alot of it too. The best music in the game involves violins or any traditional RPG instruments and some of the worst is weird techno or jazzy beat songs that just don't fit the tone of the game.
Theres a ton of voice work and I'm glad for that. All skits are voiced out, and a large chunk of all cutscenes are voiced aswell. About the only things that aren't voiced out are your encounters with Mimi the Wonderbread maker, and random NPC chats. I'm not a big fan of the voice work though, they sound degraded in a Baten Kaitos kinda way, but not nearly as bad.
The world map is like any Tales of... game or most Japanese RPGs. The map is an overview styled map where you walk manually to all your new destinations. However, at the start of the game you are introduced to the "Duct" system, which is like a warp, each time you get to a new dungeon or town, you'll find a new Duct, and they all link right back to the first town of the game, so backtracking is quite easy and fast.
----------Time to Complete Game----------
After you beat the final boss and watch the credits, you get to save your file. Then directly after that, you start a whole new quest, called "Character Quests". I don't quite have the patience to go through these right now, but from the few minutes I've played, there's no voice work during the dialog scenes, although that may or may not change later. I looked up chapter information on these quests, and it looks to be pretty lengthy, although it also looks like you'll be revisiting alot of the same places. I don't have the time for that.