Reviewing ‘Skies of Arcadia: Legends’ for the GameCube

Skies of Arcadia: Legends


Launched on the Dreamcast in 2000, Skies of Arcadia quickly ascended to modern classic status. The game charmed RPG enthusiasts with its fresh setting, lovable characters, and robust gameplay mechanics. Fast forward over two years, and an enhanced GameCube version akin to a “director’s cut” has surfaced. This revamp introduces extra sidequests and characters, subtle graphical enhancements, and significantly reduced loading times. The big question remains: do these additions make Legends a worthy acquisition for those who have already journeyed through the Dreamcast original?

Ship Battle

Skies of Arcadia boasts a pair of engaging battle systems. The first concerns on-foot skirmishes when characters are off their airships. This system may initially seem conventional for an RPG, but the “Spirit Meter” introduces an added tactical layer. In these turn-based clashes, characters choose from typical RPG combat options—melee attacks, spells, or item usage—with special moves draining the Spirit Meter. This meter regenerates each turn based on character levels or can be boosted with a “focus” command. Simple in concept, this system demands strategic foresight, enriching the overall combat experience.

The game’s second battle mode is a grand affair of airship warfare. These battles are as compelling to watch as they are to engage in. Skillful aerial maneuvers and strategic offense-defense moves enliven the experience. Here, a grid system governs the action, allowing players to plan out their attacks. The Spirit Meter plays its part in airship battles too, replicating its ground combat role. These encounters, though less frequent, bring a welcome change of pace with their intensive strategy requirements.

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With Skies of Arcadia Legends, several new gameplay features not found in the original make their debut. While exploring side quests such as the Sailor’s Guild bounties or the Moonfish hunting quest feels optional, the rewards make the ventures worthwhile. Completing bounty hunts tests players’ mettle and yields experience and treasure, while searching for moonfish tests exploration skills and provides generous benefits.

Graphically, Skies of Arcadia Legends retains its charm, despite minor updates since its first outing. It doesn’t stack up against the likes of Final Fantasy X or Dark Cloud 2, but the game’s aesthetic—vibrant environments and distinct characters—keeps it visually appealing. It’s a testament to the original design that the visuals remain captivating, relying on artistic style over technical prowess.

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The narrative and character depth that defined the original Skies of Arcadia are just as potent in Legends. Though it retells the same tale—with some fresh experiences folded into the mix through added quests—the story remains engaging. You’re introduced to Vyse’s adventure against the evil Valuan Empire, which, despite its initial classic RPG motifs, shines through its unique setting and well-crafted characters. It’s a narrative that elevates the game above many of its contemporaries.

Audio in Legends is a mixed bag. The soundtrack is undeniably magnetic, offering melodies worth listening to outside the game. However, the sound quality doesn’t match up, and the voice clips occasionally feel disjointed from the text. Despite these issues, the game’s score is strong enough to forgive the less polished aspects of its audio presentation.


All in all, Skies of Arcadia Legends is a joyous title to dive into. It’s a must-play for first-timers and loyal fans, but it may not extend its allure to casual players of the Dreamcast version. But for newcomers and the devoted, the game promises an enthralling RPG adventure that’s not to be missed.

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