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A Legacy in the Making

Legacy of the Guilds is a pretty standard-fare RMXP game. It has a medieval setting with knights, quests, war, and treason. Though it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, it does present itself well. It’s off to a solid start and well worth a look.

Let’s talk about Gameplay!

It comes in the two usual styles you’d expect from an RPG Maker game: field and battle. I’m glad to say both are handled pretty well. We’ll start with the former.

Field exploration is about what you’d expect, but there are several things rabitZ has done to keep it interesting. First, objects you can inspect for items are almost always signified. With each item you find, your Perception increases, which allows you to find better-hidden items later. This may mean the player could find new items in previously visited locations, but the area covered by the demo isn’t large enough to really say for sure. Also, after gaining the ability to alchemize items and smith equipment, there are natural items that can be scavenged regularly. At times, it seemed like there were almost too many natural ingredients that could be picked up on any given map, but you can always sell any extras you happen across. This can be done without fear of running out, too, as these items reappear after a while. So, there’s always something you can collect, and you can tell what can be picked up from what can’t.

Another notable facet of the field mode is its touch encounter system. You won’t randomly encounter any monsters; their groups are represented as white smoke clouds on the map. Getting too close to one will set it moving quickly and chasing the player, but in general you can safely sneak past any unwanted battles. Most enemy parties return when a map is left and re-entered, so grinding is an option, though I didn’t have much need to when I played. The maps can get a little tight in some places, but in general, they’re easy to navigate and the perfect size for the speed you walk.

The only real trouble I had exploring the field came from getting lost behind trees or stuck by critters.

This squirrel is preventing me from crossing the bridge. At least the monster encounter can’t get through, either…

Otherwise, field mode is as solid as one could expect. Also as expected, it’s where all your questing is conducted. The game uses a quest log to help you keep track of what you need to do, where you need to go, etc. I found it very handy, and I completed almost all the quests the demo provided. Aside from the main objectives, there were always one or two side quests that could be done. I enjoyed the diversions and what they did for me, as well as wondering when/how some of them would be resolved (the forest murders come to mind). I definitely liked the system, but I did have a few beefs with it. The main quest objectives that progress the story are mixed in with the others on the list. It’d be helpful if the next story point quest remained at the top of the list, or stood out among the others in some way. Also, being able to look at the quest list and know which are completed at a glance would be a big improvement. Currently, you can only tell what you’ve finished by checking each quest individually (or I guess you could just remember what you did?). Personally, I’d like to view the list and know what still needs done just like that.

I’d have my work cut out for me if 3/4ths of them weren’t finished.

Battle mode uses the turn-based style of fighting from the days of RM2000 (a preference of mine). No ABS to worry about; you choose the actions of your heroes, and everyone’s agility determines the order those actions are taken. I was glad to find the battles weren’t just an Enter mash-fest. The characters have skills available to them right from the game’s start, and some of them remain consistently helpful. Noish’s inexpensive stunning kick became part of my regular strategy. The stats are balanced well to keep things not too difficult, but not so easy that you can zone out. Additionally, none of the monsters are carbon copies of each other. Every monster has something unique about it; at least one special skill that influences how you deal with them and the other enemies in their party.

Rabid wolves travel in pairs or trios, and their roar can lower your attack power.

At times, battling can feel a bit basic, and the more your strength grows, the less compelling weaker groups become, but that’s to be expected. In general, battling is interesting enough to hold your attention without feeling like a chore.

Let’s talk about Visuals!

This game uses graphics mostly from XP’s RTP, expansions of it, and a few other sources. I’m not bothered by them at all, and everything in the game comes together pretty well. Nothing looks particularly out of place, so it feels nice and consistent. The graphics are used well, too. Maps are believably constructed while remaining easy to navigate and creating their intended atmosphere. I didn’t really notice any specific problems with it.

Since the sides of the screen can be reached in some places, available paths are indicated with arrows.

Let’s talk about Audio!

The game’s music comes from Daggerfall, which I’ve never heard of. It didn’t hurt anything for me, though. The music chosen fit the settings they were used for very nicely. The only one I can recall being bothered by was the one for the first town, which I only noticed because it loops fairly often with a fadeout. That’s a minor nitpick, though. Everything else was fine.

Let’s talk about Story!

Honestly, this was one of the areas that kinda let me down. It’s not necessarily the story itself, but the way it’s told. The game’s introduction gives you the background story in a few text boxes. Showing is usually better than telling, and this case is no exception.

…and on it goes. At least this lands it on the shorter end of game intros.

Likewise, there were some mechanic functions that I thought could be better integrated with the game itself instead of popping up and being stated to the player. For example, save points are handled by a bard who remembers the tales of the things you’ve done. That’s a fun concept, and I’m 100% behind it, but the mechanic is introduced like this:

Now, the bard’s right next to the inn keeper, whom you need to speak with to progress, and chances are the player would talk to a distinct character like that sooner or later anyway, so while it’s nice rabitZ took the time to ensure the player wouldn’t miss it, it doesn’t really seem necessary. I feel similarly about other instances of game mechanics being revealed this way.

The other aspect that dragged the story down for me somewhat was the characters themselves. Noish is a very typical protagonist. His dialogue conveys some of his personality, but that personality is very flat. You get the impression of his inexperience and how he fits into his role, but none of it really serves to distinguish him well. My only understanding of his partner, Mansel, is in contrast with his own more reserved personality. I feel like the dialogue of the important characters could better convey their feelings. At times, it seems like things are merely stated instead of spoken, which is another issue of showing instead of telling. The villain, when he reveals himself as such, is particularly hammy.

Characterization aside, the text itself is well-written. I only noticed a handful of misspellings and typos, so this is definitely a stronger area for the game. Being so finely tuned to grammar, frequent mistakes can really take me out of things, but thankfully, this game had very few.

Let’s wrap this up!

All in all, this was a pretty solid demo. I liked rabitZ’s spin on the modes of play, and this looks like a decent game in the making. The story felt like it needed the most work, and even that’s more in its presentation than anything else. My other gripes are mere bugs and nitpicks, of which there were very few, and I was glad to find fail safes in-game every time I went against the grain.

Normally, I wouldn’t rate a demo, but this one’s established itself well, and I feel justified in giving it a 3.5/5. Keep up the good work, rabitZ!


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amusing tassadar, your taste in companionship grows ever more inexplicable
Thank you very much for this review, halibabica!
It is good to know that there are some things I've been able to nail right.

About your gripes, most of them I've suspected myself too.
- The one in the quest log is definitely in my to-do list. When I first started the game I had very limited scripting knowledge, but I am very confident that I can implement your suggestions now. They are spot on!
- About the critter-blocking, yeah it frustrates me sometimes, but I can't find a way to deal with that satisfactorily (is that a word? haha), so I'm thinking about keeping critters to a minimum or putting in places the player can't reach in the first place.

The story is finalized in my head (meaning, I know how it will end), but improving the characterization is something I am always striving for.
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
- About the critter-blocking, yeah it frustrates me sometimes, but I can't find a way to deal with that satisfactorily (is that a word? haha), so I'm thinking about keeping critters to a minimum or putting in places the player can't reach in the first place.

To fix this, you could tick the "Through" box on the critter's event page so that you can walk over them.
amusing tassadar, your taste in companionship grows ever more inexplicable
Yeah, the problem is, in XP, if I hit 'Through', the critters can walk through any obstacles, they start walking on water and stuff haha.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Glad I could help! One thing about the critters, though...I know this works in 2k/3, and I'm not sure how it goes in XP, but if you set the critters to 'Below' they should allow other events to walk over top of them while still being restricted by normal terrain.
amusing tassadar, your taste in companionship grows ever more inexplicable
Yeah, hali.
Incredibly, RMXP doesn't seem to include that "below" option.

But I will try to find a solution via scripting or something.

EDIT: I think I nailed it!
Each event has a scripting method named "passable?" that defines wheter they can enter a specified tile.
In line 163 of the script "Game_Character 1" there is a condition that checks whether the event has a graphic or not. It's just a matter of defining a function that receives the name of the graphic_file of the event as input and returns true or false according to a predefined list of "passable critter graphics" I shall compile for my game.

Wow, I wish I knew about this a year ago haha.
Granted, it's not the most elegant solution but I am happy that I found a solution at all via scripting.
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
Hali reviewed something?

I might need to get out my reviewing hat again at this rate...
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Yep! Better watch out, Soli. Every once in a while, I actually do something!
amusing tassadar, your taste in companionship grows ever more inexplicable
:) Solitayre we all miss your reviews!

EDIT: halibabica impressed me with the depth of his reviews.
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