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The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion (PSP) artwork

The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion (PSP) review

"Throughout the course of the 30+ hour adventure, Avin and Mile will come across countless scenarios of people in need of bonding, just like they once were. While Avin and his newfound friend set out in what appears to be a typical turn-based RPG at first glance, the amazing attention to detail is what truly sets this apart from the others."

"Your name is Avin, right? What do you want to play?"

No response.

"I'm sorry for being so excited. I've never met anyone my own age before..."

"It's fine, I'm just thinking of Eimelle. She's my..."


"Just... JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! It's none of your business!"

It wasn't exactly a great first impression on Avin's part. Of course, considering what he just went through, it was pretty understandable. Three days before the chance encounter with the blonde kid bothering him now, he was happy. Living with his sister Eimelle in the Cathedral, a massive church safe from the dangers of the outside world, he'd spend his time as any normal child would: getting into mischief and generally being a thorn in the side to the priests there.

Then the dark priest Bellias comes and wipes out all life, including his former mentor, the high priest of Cathedral. In their desperate struggle to escape, Avin and Eimelle are seperated. Before long, Avin finds himself in the village of Ourt in the care of an old man, with nobody his own age except this awkward-acting blonde kid standing before his eyes right now. But Avin has more important things on his mind. He has his only blood relative to save! Avin turns around and walks away, largely ignoring the yellow-haired fool's calling of some festival, until the child, a young man named Mile, calls out something that certianly catches Avin's ear.

"In the festival, the goddess Nepthys will grant any wish you want..."

Avin knows exactly everything he could ever wish for. For now though, he has little choice but to return to his home on the outskirts of Ourt, where the old man awaits.

"Did you meet Mile?"

"Yeah. I don't think we'll get along."

Avin continues to walk away.

He must be hurt more than I thought, the old man thinks to himself. But I can't heal him. The only thing that can is a good friend who he can share his joy and his grief with.

The festival arrives, and Avin is there. To participate, the festival-goers throw a small paper amulet into the water, and if it floats to the center the wish will come true. If it sinks, the wish will fail.

Avin grips the amulet tightly in his hand. He knows exactly everything he could wish for, and the moment has finally arrived.

"I wish... to be reunited with Eimille!"

Avin throws the amulet with all his might, his hopes and dreams signified in a piece of paper. It lands in the water... and sinks. Mile looks over at the distressed grimace on Avin's face. He knows what's wrong.

"I wish Avin's wish will come true!"

Mile chucks his paper and it floats to the center of the spring, ensuring that Nepthys will hear it, and Avin is speechless. To think that some blonde kid he didn't like would sacrifice a wish for him! It's needless to say that Avin is moved.

This all happens within the first fifteen minutes of Falcom's masterpiece, The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermilion. Throughout the course of the 30+ hour adventure, Avin and Mile will come across countless scenarios of people in need of bonding, just like they once were. While Avin and his newfound friend set out in what appears to be a typical turn-based RPG at first glance, the amazing attention to detail is what truly sets this apart from the others. The characters are fleshed out incredibly well yet succinctly, to the point that not even the absolutely terrible translation can bring them down. Be it Douglas, the cocky warrior who thinks himself a hero and is overly proud, his female rival Lucias, known throughout the world as "Sapphire Eyes" for her piercing azure glare, or my personal favourite, the knife-throwing Rutice, a former rank-and-file member of the evil Octum's Apostles, who gets excommunicated from them due to her unwillingness to kill, each and every character bonds with not only Avin's group, but with the player as well.

And when Avin's wish finally does come true, the player's given a treat in seeing just how Mile, Eimelle, and Avin all interact with one another. Mile and Eimelle instantly hit it off by insulting her elder brother, and of course Avin retorts by calling them lovers, a childish insult, but at the same time not an entirely incorrect one.

But when he loses track of her again, Avin will do anything to get her back. Unlike other RPGs, Avin's goal is never to save the world from ultimate evil. His only interest is saving his sister, and to do so he'll traverse the huge, gorgeous world of El Phildin and slaughter as many helpless monsters as it takes. He'll face monsters out on the fields--no random battles here--and crush them in a turn based battle system most comparable to Lunar. Each character has a range they can move and a range of attack, and characters will approach their foe and then STRIKE with their weapon of choice. To add a little more strategy, spells have a large range, but unlike weapons, characters can't move when using them. His allies are all specialized, with little to no customization, but each one has their uses. They also have a Deadly Move that can be used by charging up a power bar, not unlike Final Fantasy's Limit Breaks or Lufia 2's IP gauge. The amazing graphics, some of the best you'll see on the PSP, will draw you into the world and the rich, well orchestrated music will keep you there. It's packed with amazing details in the fields, like the beautiful textures and the shadows of overhead clouds, ancient ruins with cracked floors and false walls, and even the remains of the dilapidated Cathedral, its crumbling architecture a grim reminder of the massacre that started Avin's journey. Everything comes together in perfect form to create an amazing, unforgettable experience, despite the shoddy translation. Never before has a generic name like Legend of Heroes been more appropriate. It undoubtedly is, well... Legendary.

espiga's avatar
Staff review by Kyle Stepp (August 29, 2007)

Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.

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