From Valkyrie Profile to Chrono Cross, passing through the Crash Bandicoot trilogy and the first two episodes of Suikoden, there are now several titles published on the original PlayStation that have received a complete remake or in any case a remastered one (if you haven’t already done so, run to read our preview of Suikoden I & II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars!). This month The Legend of Dragoon arrives on PlayStation Plus (here are all the PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium games of February) and so we decided to unlock a memory for you and rediscover together one of the most popular titles of the first PlayStation.
Sony’s Final Fantasy
Published in Japan by the then Sony Computer Entertainment in December 1999 and landed in the rest of the globe between the months of June 2000 and January 2001, the title packaged by the ex-Japan Studio (which was reorganized only in April 2021 and merged with Team Asobi and other small studios of Sony Interactive Entertainment) achieved some success, so much so that it was immediately labeled as “Sony’s Final Fantasy”. The product, which had required the beauty of three years of development (an almost endless period of time for the time), shared many elements with the Squaresoft saga, which with Final Fantasy VII had changed the rules of the genre.
Spread across three discs, the game directed by Yasuyuki Hasebe – who only a few years earlier had helped shape the fighting system of Final Fantasy III – offered a flood of computer graphics movies, pre-rendered backdrops on which the characters moved entirely in 3D, a captivating cast and last but not least an effective and simple combat system.
Set in the land of Endiness, a medieval world to which the exquisite elements typical of the fantasy genre had been grafted, The Legend of Dragoon told the epic of Dart, a young orphan attacked by a dragon in the opening stages of the campaign and who soon would put together a team of nine heroes to travel the world and discover the secret of the so-called “Dragons”: human beings who, with the help of authentic dragons, had transformed into dragon-like creatures to defeat the Winglies, i.e. an aggressive and 10,000 years earlier it had enslaved mankind.
With a longevity of about 50-70 hours, depending on the time dedicated to secondary activities, the Japan Studio title knew how to involve the user from the beginning with a fascinating story full of backstory, as well as incredibly human characters, who despite their fears and insecurities would still have found the courage to face the terrible pitfalls encountered along the way head on. From a purely playful point of view, the most interesting feature of The Legend of Dragoon was undoubtedly to be found in the possibility of transforming party members into Dragons – a mechanic available only in the advanced stages of the campaign – and having access for a handful of turns to lethal attack and defense techniques which, if used cleverly, could even subdue the toughest enemies and reverse the outcome of the most desperate fights.
Also worthy of mention are the “Equipments”, i.e. the special shots that Dart and his companions could perform if the player pressed the appropriate key at the right moment: placed during the standard attacks, real Quick Time Events made it possible to prolong the physical assaults of the fighters lined up on the field and create devastating combos.
If nowadays the JRPGs localized in Italian are less and less, with the exception of the most prominent productions such as the episodes of the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts or Tales of series, The Legend of Dragoon was even dubbed into Italian. As those who laid their hands on the title will certainly remember, however, the dialogues proposed by the local track were completely devoid of pathos, and during the fight phases the characters shouted jokes that were quite hilarious.
Accomplices of the rather listless acting performances and the use of the same voices on rather important characters, the Italian localization entered the legends of the medium, albeit in its own way.
Waiting to find out if The Legend of Dragoon will ever receive a remake or even just a remastered, the word passes to you as always. Did you know or even had the good fortune to play this phenomenal JRPG from yesteryear? And above all, would you also like a reissue?