Legends of Exidia Review
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
DSiWare's first RPG doesn't set the bar too high, but it's still quite enjoyable
It's a bit odd that we haven't seen any DSiWare RPGs until now. You'd think that with the service's portable nature and the genre’s wealth of retail releases, it would be a perfect fit. Apparently developers think otherwise!
Gameloft is known for their frequent porting of games, and Legends of Exidia is no exception. They've tried to hide the fact a little by changing the name and some of the characters, but this is in fact Might & Magic II, which was released for mobile phones in 2007.
After playing for just a few minutes, you'll immediately realize that this game isn't going to be very challenging. It's very linear, basically just making you move from one point to another, and, at almost all times, you'll have a marker on-screen telling you which direction to head in. Yes, this isn't a traditional-style RPG — it's an action RPG, which means that there're almost no statistics to micromanage and all enemies are fought right on the map, rather than each one sending you into a turn-based battle separate from the rest of the action.
Fighting is rather simple and basically just comes down to one thing, which is walking right up to the enemy and continuously hitting A. As you level up, you'll learn new combos and charge attacks. The combos are simply performed by hitting A multiple times in a row, so you'll automatically be doing them anyway — not a whole lot of strategy involved there. The charge attacks let you do a variety of things, such as a spinning move or a dash forward. Enemies usually attack rather fast, meaning this generally isn't a good thing to do as your charge will be often interrupted.
As it's an action RPG, you can also expect some non-combat obstacles, but these couldn't possibly be any easier — most of it consists of running away from danger or pushing blocks, which is simply done by holding down whatever direction you need to go in. One part near the start of the game makes you run across spinning platforms and slide down ziplines without falling to your doom, but this entire section can be cleared by just holding left for 20 seconds.
Exidia is quite easily one of the fastest-paced RPGs we've ever seen. Objectives are completed in no time and you'll be destroying monsters and gaining levels left and right. After about an hour of play we were already closing in on level 20! And if you think that means grinding is necessary, you're correct. At various points throughout the game you'll be warned not to go on unless you're above a certain level. Thankfully, since enemies are rather generous in terms of doling out experience, it usually won't take long to get that far.
If you tire of the main story you can opt for some sidequests, of which you can only be assigned one at any given time. These are even shorter than the main quests and will usually be completed in a matter of minutes, often not even being worth the trouble since all you tend to get is some gold for buying items and equipment. This is almost completely pointless, because you'll find both in overabundance out in the field, with chests actually being restocked (believe it or not) with healing items once you go sufficiently far away, and monsters very frequently dropping armour that's a clear upgrade from what you already have. There're also a bunch of minigames you'll come across during your adventure, including a short rhythm game and the typical RPG arena, in which you can bet money which increases for every round of enemies you clear.
Many RPGs tend to have a few palette-swapped enemies, but Exidia really overdoes it. During the course of the entire game you'll only have to deal with about 6 non-boss enemies. Sometimes they appear in different colours, but most of the time they look exactly the same despite their stats being a little higher than before.
The graphics fit in right with the rest of the game; most of the townsfolk share the same handful of models, and environments often repeat themselves to the point of some locations appearing multiple times in different areas across the game world. And for a three- to four-hour game, that's not a very good thing. The music isn't bad, but not particularly good or at all memorable.
Of note is that there's also some seriously sloppy coding going on here. Attacks sometimes don't register, you have to sit through a loading screen for the tiniest of areas, and at one point the music even stopped playing because we happened to level up and grab an item simultaneously!
If you're in the mood for a completely mindless, easy to learn action RPG, Legends of Exidia might not be a very bad pick, provided you can look over its flaws. Anybody who already has any semblance of experience with the genre, however, is likely to walk away disappointed.