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Eternal Legacy Review (iPhone)

Ahhh, Gameloft. Where would we be without your incredibly polished, incredibly derivative games that shamelessly copy the most popular AAA titles in mobile form? They have done it with Starcraft, Halo and Assassins Creed and now they set their competent but thoroughly uninspired talents to create a Final Fantasy clone. Seeing as JRPG’s are a genre already considered incredibly clichéd and derivative, can a developer renowned for making uninspired, cash-in titles make them popular again on a mobile format?

Early impressions are mixed. The game is undoubtedly gorgeous showing real technological competency. Gameloft have a good handle on the iPhone and iPad as a platform and as a result Eternal Legacy looks good. Large, well detailed characters move around clean, gleaming futuristic environments. Movement is smooth and animation is impressive while menus are slick and explosions, particle effects and water all look suitably console-ish. The design though is awful. Sub-Final Fantasy 13 characters are so overloaded with cliche that its amazing they can stand up. Spiky hair, giant swords and an over-abundance of belts makes for a cast of characters so unoriginal it borders on distasteful. Its genuinely unnerving to see how similar Gameloft have made these soulless manequins to the Final Fantasy cast. Worst of all, its from the more recent Final Fantasy games that the characters take most inspiration. You can’t help but think that Gameloft have missed a trick by not taking direction from the earlier Final Fantasy games art style which is now looked back at with affection by most gamers today.

As a game littered with Emo Japanese teenagers afflicted with fashion tourettes the tone of the game is predictably angsty and nonsensical. Characters drop into the narrative for poorly explained reasons and the story unwinds slowly and lazily. In fact the storytelling is so half hearted it almost seems like the developers assume gamers don’t care. Its very much a case of “we provide the outline, you fill in the details with every cliche from every JRPG you’ve ever played”. It doesn’t help that although the voice actors are decent, the dialogue is reprehensible. While the audio score soars impressively, hearing the characters spout derivative nonsense drains the game of any dramatic impact.

When it comes to gameplay its hardly worth describing Eternal Legacy to anyone that’s played Final Fantasy 13 as its functionally identical. For those that haven’t, you control only the main character of the three in your party. In typical FF style you choose whether to attack, use a skill or use an item. Combat is real time with a meter counting down until you will perform your next action. While you cannot command your two sidekicks, you can choose from a range of behaviours for them ranging from a healer type to a pure damage dealer. Combat is typically a grind of queuing up attacks and skills then using potions when your health is low. The occasional pyrotechnic animation for a skill breaks up the monotony somewhat.

Its telling that the newest Final Fantasy was such a streamlined affair that it has allowed Gameloft to effectively match its complexity on a mobile device. While trying to port something as complex as Assassins Creed is very difficult on a handheld (Backstab was only a partial success), they have managed to effectively replicate the gameplay of Square’s newest RPG in full in Eternal Legacy. Final Fantasy 13 was such a dumbed down entry in the franchise that it was more like a mobile game with its simplified rulesets and completely linear structure.

In truth, its hard to say much more. Eternal Legacy is a good looking game, the combat is functional, the production values are high and the whole thing is very slick. Despite the lack of originality and the weakness of the story, it remains as good an example of a JRPG as you can get at the moment. Perhaps that says more about JRPG’s than it does about Eternal Legacy, but at such a low price, there’s just about enough here to recommend to anyone looking to kill things with a giant sword.

7 omni-slash’s out of 10

Published inReviews