Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy is an action RPG developed by Arc System Works (a studio best known for coding 2D brawlers such as the Guilty Gear series and BlazBlue.) The game is set in a world that has been conquered by a race of anthropomorphic animals known as Decoders. Players assume the role of a resistance fighter striving to liberate the land from the oppressive furry menace. The quartet of playable characters on offer include Acress your stereotypical teenage sword fighter, Mask the beefy luchador, Ashta a tinkerer who specialises in assembling automatons and Haul a gun totting birdman (not to be confused with Michael Keaton.) For the purposes of this review I decided to play through the game as Ashta – partially because I like robots and partially because I dig emotionless girls who sport pink pigtails.
For all intents and purposes Fantasy Hero plays like an anime adorned Diablo. Each stage has the player fighting through zones that are presented via an aerial top-down view. Characters can perform two types of standard attack, by pounding square and triangle, in addition to unleashing special moves (that are activated by pressing the shoulder trigger in conjunction with another button.) In the case of Ashta square commands her to swing a giant wrench whilst triangle orders her to stab nearby foes using her mech suit’s built-in drill arm. Ashta’s special moves see her laying down traps, using gizmos that heal/buff allies and coolest of all she can summon a mechanical minion to fight in her place (whilst she safely hides away in a protective force field.)
The stages you tackle come in two varieties – story missions that need to be completed in order to advance the narrative and optional side quests, which offer a quick way of earning some extra cash and loot. Which level you desire to challenge can be selected from the bulletin board located in your hometown. The settlement also contains a vendor who sells a range of useful sundries and a blacksmith who can upgrade your weapons in exchange for the materials you’ll be plucking from vanquished Decoders. The resistance village is also the place where you beef up your character by spending the points earned upon successfully levelling up. Like in many other RPGs, skill points are invested towards unlocking new abilities whilst attribute points can be used to bolster attack power, health pool size, defence against physical damage and so on.
My rating for Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy is a three out of five. I had good fun playing through the story mode, for the first couple of hours, but after a while things begin to get stale – mostly due to the simplistic combat system’s lack of depth. Thankfully the game doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, so you can expect to hit the final level after seven hours of action. That may not sound like great value for money, but when you consider that the title is an inexpensive PSN download I’m okay with the adventure’s brief duration.
Something I am less okay with is the game’s DLC model. Although you can play as one of four characters, Fantasy Hero only bestows buyers with one save slot. Said restriction forces players to stick with one hero, unless they are willing to erase their progress. To obtain additional save slots players are expected to fork out on DLC – a rather cynical practice that hurts the title’s replay value. It’s also disappointing to see that the game’s multiplayer is limited to local co-op. An online mode, allowing you to team up with random players, would have been preferable, because the odds of me finding somebody nearby who also likes this niche RPG are pretty much zilch. Overall the game is okay and may be worth checking out if you are seeking a portable Diablo like experience for the Vita. With a bit more polish however Fantasy Hero could have been a lot better.