One of the most anticipated arrivals of the summer, Legend of Dragoon is sadly a bit of a
disappointment. The role playing (RPG) genre has exploded ever since Final Fantasy 7, but the
legacy seems to have changed to a glitz-first, story-second mentality, negating the penultimate
achievement of Final Fantasy 6.
I was downright angry with Final Fantasy 7. Characters were boringly flawless, with no
background and hardly any serious development. Under PlayStation hardware, the battles
became unbearable chores rather than the addictive tool for growth that they were on cartridge
Legend of Dragoon is very similar to Final Fantasy 7, but I forgive it for at least not saddling me
with poor controls, cartoony characters, and excessively explosion-laden cinemas. In short, the
game has the visual gloss of Final Fantasy 8 with the game play of Final Fantasy 7, with none of
the fun of Final Fantasy 6.
Dragoon's battles are chores from the word 'go,' focusing on well-timed follow-up button
presses as fundamental for success. Later in the game, you are able to transform into a dragon
for even more power. (Note: The guard option is actually helpful, as it restores 10% HP.)
As with Final Fantasy 7, the problems are the boring battles, average story, and the fact that the
in-game cut scenes offer no more direction than a Melies film. Basically, the camera never
moves from its alienating wide shots.
Final Fantasy 8 may not have gone much further in that regard, but at least the angles seemed to
add to the scenes' complexity.
Furthermore, the characters' introspective acting added some interest, whereas the characters in
Dragoon revert back to the cardboard feel when not graced by the power of full motion video.
The 40-plus minutes of CG scenes are impressive, but not on an emotional or engaging level.
With no sympathetic character with which to relate, the game feels driven by plot more so than
character, defying the RPG tradition.
The premise alone signals the been there, done that feeling. "Dragoon follows the adventures of
Dart, a young hero who sets out on a journey to find the Black Demon to avenge the death of his
parents. Along the way, he must rescue his childhood friend, Shana, and interact and fight with
different races, all while harnessing the powers of the Dragoon." To me, this sounds like a fill-
in-the-blank exercise in cliché.
If the game did not offer high-quality (though in no way incredible) art direction, my score
would be lower. The game may not have much more going for it besides pretty pictures, but at
least it tops Legend of Legaia.
Fair warning: The Game Shark appears to create a bug if you activate the Save Anywhere
feature. When you encounter some pre-set dialogue scenes, your character will freeze and
menus will be inaccessible. The bug remains intact even after the Game Shark is removed.