previews\ Nov 3, 2005 at 7:00 pm

The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion - PSP - Preview

In the beginning, there was light and there was darkness, two spirits representing each. Bardus was the light, wishing for stability in the world; Octum was the dark and wished for change. And then along came Durgas and the spirit, bestowing life to the world. Humans were introduced and they brought chaos into the land.

Bardus and Octum were at war with each other and Bardus finally prevailed, sealing Octum away for eternity. But in so doing Bardus was destroyed and the spirits fell into a deep sleep. Time passes and two children enter Cathedral, the home of the Bardus Church and the place were Oracles are trained.

One day, while the young girl – Eimelle – is feeding a cat, the instructor Ollesia finds them. There is trouble in the Cathedral. A former member Bellias has given himself over to the darker powers and he is there to take the children. Lives are lost, but the two are able to escape the church grounds. However, not all goes well. During the escape, the cat that Eimelle was watching over is frightened and runs, and Avin goes after it and comes under attack. The Sage Gawaine saves him but the two children are separated.

And so the story begins.

The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermilion is the PSP title from Bandai and Falcom for the PSP, slated for release in mid-November.

The game, with a long lead-in story is somewhat typical of the role-playing genre in that you control a character on missions, and during those missions, Avin (the 17-year-old boy, who is looking for his sister) runs into pop-up zones where he will battle an assortment of enemies, get drops, and level up. You put together a party, symbolized by one character for traveling.

This is a very directed experience in many ways. Avin cannot get into too much trouble early on, and the paths from one town to the next are very linear. But where the game truly excels is in the presentation. Yes, you have two-dimensional characters against a three-dimensional backdrop.

Some of the problems are typical of the genre when you have to advance through the chat screens. Screens will contain nothing more that “chuckle” or “giggle.”  

After a very long build-up, and a lot of scrolling through text screens in which the gamer can do nothing but watch, the game finally centers on Avin in Ourt. He is given some simply missions and thus the game begins. Though the game has a rich story, most of it is upfront and you will spend 30 minutes or better just wading through the dialogue screens before getting to the action and meat of the story.

The gameplay mechanics are straightforward and players should have little trouble getting into the game. The graphics are quite well done, with wonderful texturing and shadows that give the world a very lush feel. The sound elements are soft and have a lulling effect.

The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermilion is a good story but with an overlong lead-in. The gameplay mechanics are typical of the genre, but this is a solid PSP title nonetheless and worth looking for upon its release.



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