The crowdfunding bubble has largely deflated by this point; concepts that would have been instant winners back in 2012 like Project Rap Rabbit are failing to meet their goals. Starry-eyed backers have been burned one too many times by projects that didn’t live up to their expectations or, in some cases, just took the money they received and ran.
That’s not to say crowdfunding hasn’t resulted in anything worth playing, of course; solid titles like A Hat in Time, FTL and Pillars of Eternity are a testament to that, and now Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds is adding itself to the list of crowdfunded games that should be taken seriously.
Legrand Legacy calls to mind the glory days of 32-bit Japanese RPGs. It’s got the prerendered backgrounds, the turn-based combat, most of the plot elements…this could have come out on the original PlayStation and not felt too out of place. We follow Finn, an unassuming gladiator saved from servitude by a mysterious old man. While he’s originally hired as a bodyguard, things don’t go as planned, and as our hero learns to make his own way in the world we end up learning more about Finn and his destiny.
The degree to which Legrand Legacy emulates classic games can’t really be overstated. There’s minigames, tactical battles a la Suikoden and one of the most JRPG-y plots you’ll ever see. There’s something to be said for a game that sticks to its guns so firmly; the Kickstarter for this one promised an old-school experience and that’s exactly what you’re getting. Unlike similar Kickstarter titles that have taken the same tack, like Yooka-Laylee, Legrand Legacy holds up a bit better as many of the quirks of classic JRPGs remain in contemporary games; nothing really feels like a painful throwback to times we’d have rather left behind.
Combat is somewhat reminiscent of the Xbox 360 RPG Lost Odyssey and the classic PS2 Shadow Hearts series. Characters are capable of attacking, defending and using magic attacks called Grimoires. Grimoire-casting characters are vulnerable and can be interrupted, so they need beefier characters to protect them while they chant. There’s a timed-attack element involved in most actions as well, offering power enhancements if you can tap your attack buttons at the right time. None of this is too out of the ordinary, but it’s all put together well, rarely feels tedious and suits the classic style that Legrand Legacy is aiming for.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Legrand Legacy’s presentation owes a lot to the classics of old as well. You’ve got your fixed camera, your hand-drawn backgrounds, your simple-but-recognizable character and enemy models, your genre music…it’s a blast from the past, really. This isn’t going to blow your mind with graphical fidelity or anything but at the same time it’s not really supposed to.
What it might do instead is take you back to happier times where bills and obligations were less of a thing, where you could sit and grind away at the latest Square or Enix RPG for hours. There’s not a lot to complain about with that premise if you ask me. If you’ve got a little nostalgia in your veins for the heyday of PlayStation-era adventures, you owe it to yourself to check out Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds.