Where to Hit Reset – Rebooting The Legend of Dragoon

The Legend of Dragoon is one game that deserves a modern reboot.

I don’t agree with remaking classics. Or with “rebooting” games that have only been out for a year or two, just to profit on the name. But I do agree with remaking something that could be amazing, if done properly and given the right amount of effort. There are only a few games that are worth this sort of effort. The Legend of Dragoon is one such game. 

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The game got mixed-to-good reviews, but it has a fairly substantial fanbase. I fell in love the first time I played it. My dad and I used to take turns trying to get through it. It took us months to just to finish the first disk, and nearly a year to complete the game. By the time the end credits rolled, we felt awesome because of how difficult it was and how interesting the story was. With the addition of a real-time combat system and more customization options, Legend of Dragoon could have the potential to be an incredible reboot. 

The Story

I reviewed this game almost two years ago, when it had been released on PSN and I spent a lot of my time playing it. It would be rather simple to upgrade the story to modern-day standards of video game storytelling. It was already pretty good nearly 15 years ago.

You start off with the main character venturing back to his hometown after failing to kill the creature that murdered his parents. Add him getting attacked by a dragon and his old friends being taken by an evil King, and you’ve got the basic start to the game. You can add in a bunch of side content that wasn’t available in the original and alter the story to make it even more unique.

The Gameplay

The gameplay was, in my opinion, nearly perfect for the time. It was essentially quick-time combat before God of War made it cool. I thought it added a unique way to have turn-based combat in an era where that was the norm for RPGs. With the technology available today, the developer could make it a third-person, open-world environment, giving way to even more exploration of the world than the PS1 gave it, and add in a ton of content within that world. You could learn more about the past and the present, while learning to care more about your environment as you’re more invested in the outcome.

Let’s talk about combat.

I’d like to see a real-time combat system where timing matters – good timing deals extra damage. Have it so that the player can select a special attack they want to do, then have prompts appear for the combo so that players can execute it properly without having to memorize a list of attacks. This would give a sort of fighting-style feel to the combat, which isn’t commonly done in JRPGs. There could be an additional hardcore mode, where the prompts aren’t put in for those players who want to memorize and coordinate attacks.

There was also a counter mechanic in the old game that could be much better implemented in a real-time combat system. I’d like to see a more active system, where negating an attack is a lot harder than just pressing circle at the right time. 

Last but not least – turning into a Dragoon.

This was one of the best gameplay elements in the original game, and it could be altered to be even more interesting. In the original, you had to build up a meter. How full that meter was determined the move sets and special magic you could utilize while in that form. Once the bars were depleted, you reverted back to your original form. This could make for some great timed battles, where you enter your Dragoon mode and only have so long before it depletes or so many moves that you could use, like dealing a bunch of damage to foes or healing your party. This could make the boss battles a struggle of balancing when to use your Dragoon mode and when to stay in your regular form, just like the original, but with a better sense of dread if done wrong.

Customization

This is the one thing I feel was lacking from the original. You couldn’t really choose what type of Dragoon you were. You simply controlled people who turned into Dragoons and had the powers each member obtained. They were basically elemental. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think that by adding in the choice to customize the powers that you have in and out of Dragoon mode would make for a great addition. It would help the player feel like they have more control over the world and characters, and also more of a direct impact in how things play out. 

 The Team

I would give this to Sony Computer Entertainment again. They did such a fantastic job with it back in its initial release. If they could pull it off better than before, it could launch into a franchise to rival Final Fantasy.

What game(s) do you think deserve reboots? Do you think The Legend of Dragoon should be rebooted? What would it look like to you?


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Author
Zach Long
I have two goals in life. 1)Publish a novel and 2) write a questline in a core Elder Scrolls game. Until then, I spend my 9-5 performing IT support. The rest of my time is spent: playing games, going on hikes with my Wife and our Corgi, or planning D&D sessions that will never happen.