Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy Review

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Title: Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy
Developer: Arc System Works
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 610 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download (2015)
PSTV Support: Yes

Action RPGs are growing, day by day.  There are a lot of Action RPGs on the Vita.  As we spoke in a recent review, a lot of these are Hunting RPGs, like Freedom Wars and Soul Sacrifice.  There are some other games that offer different types of experiences, like the console RPG Tales of Hearts R, or the open-world RPG Ys: Memories of Celceta.  There are some middle-ground areas for these as well.  They’re not as plentiful, but there are mission-based games on the Vita as well.

If you look for mission-based games that aren’t Hunting RPGs, there are some options for you.  One is the recently-released Pocket RPG.  This Mobile-to-Vita port offers bite-sized missions that offer mob-storming as well as making every mission its own leveling adventure.  Going off of that, though, there are more games coming to the West, some of which are smaller games that were not initially expected to come to the West at all.

Arc System Works has recently brought over one of their RPGs.  That company doesn’t have many well-known RPGs, as they’re well-known for fighting games.  However, a game they developed and published has recently come over and we got the chance to play the game for a review.  Having a very raid-like gameplay style, here is our official review of Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy!

Story

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The story of Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy begins a tale in a world thrown into chaos.  A substantial amount of time before the game begins, the world was at peace.  All of the races got along and there was very little fighting or chaos in the world.  However, that all changed when a race of beast-like beings appeared from the skies, known as the Decoders.

The Decoders set up camp and attacked village after village, raiding and attacking humans.  As the fighting continued, people were forced out of their homes, and it suddenly became a fight for survival.  However, humans were ill-equipped to fight the Decoders.  At least, until they found the Hero Artes.  These weapons, giving a select few the power to fight back, began training and planning to put an end to the conflict.  To take the fight to the Decoders.

The story revolves around four characters, each given a Hero Arte from a friend in their village.  Three of them human and one of them actually a Decoder-like being.  With these four, they began working for their village and exploring, protecting the village and discovering more about who the Decoders are, why they’re here, and why they attack the villages.

The story of the game is no deep tale.  As we will explain in the next section, it’s a short experience and you don’t get nearly as much backstory as you may like.  But, for what it is, it gives out an entertaining experience.

Gameplay

Fantasy Hero, at its heart, is an Action RPG.  There have been more of these coming out on the Vita lately, but it adds a few twists of its own.  First of all, it’s an overhead raiding game.  The game has missions where you fight off mobs and collect materials.  The main premise is similar to that of Pocket RPG or even Hunting RPGs, minus the huge boss fights.  I would actively compare it to Pocket RPG, as it’s gameplay style is very similar, though Fantasy Hero’s combat is much more fast-paced.

At the beginning of the game, you choose which hero you wish to play as.  You have four choices, each of which has a specific class and play-style.  Acress uses a large Sword in combat, while Mask the Shout uses his fists in a Wrestling-type style.  Then you have Ashta whom uses a robotic suit for combat and Haul Keeling whom can fly and use dual pistols.  Each of these characters plays different from one another, like Haul more focusing on keeping your distance from foes and Mask’s close-range combat.

No matter who you choose, the story and game will play out in the same fashion.  You’ll just be controlling a different of the four playable characters.  The game will progress through missions, and you’ll have a base of operations.  The base, itself, will have a room where you can customize your character after leveling up, and services like a Mission Board, Weapon and Item Shops, and the Multiplayer Desk.  It’s not that unlike the bases found in Hunting RPGs, though it’s substantially smaller in size than the base you’d see in games like Ragnarok Odyssey.

The services are mostly used for customization.  The Weapon Shop is used to craft and upgrade weapons.  As you play the game, you can collect new weapons or materials needed to enhance or upgrade your current weapons.  Each weapon can be enhanced a certain number of times, which can be utilized to increase damage or to add effects, like stat increases or the chance for critical hits.  Once it is at its max, it can be upgraded into a new weapon.  This is the only way to get new weapons.  You use materials and cannot just buy weapons with spare money.  If you don’t have the materials, you cannot do it.

The Multiplayer Area is an area you may explore, but may not.  Missions have you alone in your missions, but if you utilize multiplayer, you can take more than one player with you to assist on missions.  This is only for Ad Hoc Play, though.  So, you’d need to have two people locally with PS Vita or PSTV systems to do it.

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Missions are mob-based.  When you sign up for a mission, you’ll be set on taking out enemies to either reach a checkpoint, retrieve items dropped from enemies, or escort and protect NPCs as they gather items.  In the end, though, it’s all a big part of wiping out enemies and/or reaching a checkpoint.  There are Story Missions, Side Missions (which unlock periodically), and DLC Missions.  Each mission also has difficulty to set enemy strength and how much experience you can get from defeating said enemies.

Actually playing missions will have an overhead field of vision as you travel through various environments to wipe out enemies and collect items.  You can also collect items by attacking and opening crates, boxes, and chests.  Anything you can find and destroy will drop items.  Aside from enemies, you also have to watch out for traps, like hidden spike-traps in the ruins or spiked logs hanging from the sky.

How you fight will depend on your character.  Each character has a unique feature to their style.  Haul Keeling, for example, can fly, as he is a Decoder that is very bird-like.  He also has Dual Pistols, so you will be constantly firing upon enemies and reloading your ammunition instead of slashing with a sword or punching with fists.  Skills and Items can be used from menus, though, from any of the characters.  With one press of the L Trigger, you can use any learned skill, which will use up Mana that will regenerate over time.

Upon Completing or Failing a mission, you will be granted Experience Points.  This will be determined by how many enemies were defeated as well as the difficulty that was chosen.  You will also earn Experience if you fail a mission, but defeated enemies before that failure took place.  Leveling up will net you Skill Points and Stat Bonuses.  From your Home, you can use these points to learn and upgrade skills as well as increase your stats.

All in all, one thing to say is that Fantasy Hero is not a long-winded journey.  DLC Missions aside, completing all of the Story and Side missions of the game to finish a play through should take you no more than 8 hours.  Upon completion, a few more Side Missions will open up for you to play, as well as being granted a large number of Skill and Stat points.  All in all, though, it’s a pretty short RPG.

Controls

The controls for Fantasy Hero aren’t too much of a hassle to learn, though the game doesn’t really take any time out of its way to teach you what those controls are.  As you dive into your first missions, it will be all on you to figure out what to do for yourself.  On the bright side, the touch screen isn’t really used for anything, so you only need to focus on the buttons on the system.  Also, the game plays the same on the PlayStation TV, so you won’t need to use the Trigger 2/3 buttons for anything.

The controls will be the same on base or in missions, but you won’t have as many options when you’re on the base.  You won’t be able to attack or use skills there.  Movement will be with the Left Analog Stick, and you can talk to NPC’s or access the Mission Board with the Circle Button.  The one thing to note is that the game adopts the default Japanese Control Settings.  That means that Circle is used for confirming options in the menu, rather than the X button.

In missions, you have a few more options available to you.  The X button can be used to jump and the Square button will be used for physical attacks.  Triangle has a variety of purposes, based on your character.  Haul Keeling, for example, uses Triangle to reload the Dual Pistols.  The Face Buttons (and D-Pad) are also used in combination with the L trigger to utilize assigned skills and items.  Finally, the R trigger is used to dash, which can lead to rushing attacks.

All in all, it’s not a hard system to learn.  The hardest part about it is figuring out what everything does.

Presentation

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The visual presentation of Fantasy Hero isn’t a bad one.  The game utilizes a cell-shading style that looks similar to the type of engine used for Borderlands 2, but with more of an anime-style added to it.  The visuals, themselves, look pretty fluid in the quick battles, but close-up, you can see a lot of blemishes and jagged edges in the character models.

The biggest thing to consider about the presentation is how the game plays.  For most of the game, it plays well and without any slowdown or lag.  However, when you use certain skills, the game will slow down considerably.  Every time I used Haul Keeling’s Cyclone skill, the game would at least halve its frame-rate.  It wasn’t a glitch, because it happens every single time I cast it, on whatever mission or environment.  Other skills do this as well, so that’s something to consider.

The nice thing about the game is that the load times aren’t long at all.  While there is a “Now Loading” screen when you load the game or go on a mission, it is restricted to only about 3-5 seconds.  You won’t have to wait very long to load anything, be it a boss fight, the base, or the game, itself.

Summary

Fantasy Hero Unsigned Legacy is: Good
Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy is a game like Pocket RPG, offering raiding gameplay in pocket-sized sessions.  On the downside, the game is just shy of 8 hours in length and there are some slowdown issues on missions.  If you can look past that, you’ll find a fast-paced RPG that is great for quick sessions on the go.

8/10

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