2001 was a great time to be a Dreamcast owner, if you liked RPGs (and lived in Europe). Three massive titles meant you were spoilt for choice. Ironically, they all were released on other formats. Grandia II was ported over to the PS2, and Shenmue II onto the Xbox. The third big RPG of 2001, Skies of Arcadia, found its home on the Gamecube. It was also different to the other two, in that it found some extra features on the journey. But more on that later.
SoA Legends follows the exploits of Vyse and Aika, two members of the Blue Rogues who happen to stumble across Fina, a Silvite, whilst raiding a Valuan battleship. From there, the trio find themselves facing off against the Valuan Empire to stop them from unleashing the power of the Gigas. There's more to it, but it's certainly a story to play through. The secondary characters are very well created as well, with the exception of Enrique, who doesn't actually do enough to make you want to like him.
Legends, being a "directors cut" of sorts, also added extra Discoveries for the crew to..well, discover, as well as a new substory, and the addition of a Wanted List, which provided a new set of boss battles against characters that levelled up as you did, providing a constant challenge no matter when you faced them. It was also on one disc, as opposed to the two discs that the DC version had.
It's not all good news, however - because of the added content, and extra polygons that the character models now possessed, something had to give, and that something was the quite frankly brilliant soundtrack. It took quite a knock in quality, although untrained ears or people who haven't played the original won't really be able to notice too much. Still, if you do notice it, it will be offputting.
Something else you won't notice is that the random battles are actually a lot more spaced out, compared to the every-other-step battles that plagued the original game. They were great if you enjoyed grinding though, I suppose.
In closing, Skies of Arcadia Legends is an RPG worth your time. With the additional content and minor changes over the original, it's the better version. Unfortunately, as with the original, it's quite hard to grab hold of, so second hand shops or eBay are your best bet. If you're lucky enough to own a copy, you're in for a real treat.
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