Gameloft: Eternal Legacy iPhone hands-on

Make no bones about it, Eternal Legacy, coming from Gameloft for the iPhone and iPod touch just before Christmas, is the company's love affair with Japanese RPGs made real.

It offers around 16 hours worth of story mode, with full voice acting and magnificently-detailed locations, each rendered in full 3D. There's eight companions which you can pick up along the way, with three able to fight alongside you in traditional turn-based action. And, there's even a stack of side quests to complete, that will extend and expand the game's shelf life. In short, it's the Final Fantasy-style title fans of the genre have been waiting for.

Certainly, if you've played a Japanese RPG or two, you'll feel at home with Eternal Legacy. Everything seems reassuringly familiar, from the control method and save points to the power ups and combat system. It sticks to the tried and trusted, and works beautifully for it.

The turn-based fighting is ideal for mobile gaming (Eternal Legacy is also coming for iPad) as you wouldn't want to lose vital hit points just because you have to let a fellow passenger past on a train. However, it's not quite staccato; there is a flow to it, thanks to an action bar that fills in real time, only allowing moves to be undertaken once filled.

Also, your companions - which you can swap in and out in the menu system - will fight and use special moves in their own time, allowing you to concentrate on your own character. Instead, you are encouraged to change an NPC's focus, such as set them to prioritise healing. It's a set-up that works brilliantly on a portable device.

Graphically, Eternal Legacy is exceptional; even the small amount of the game Pocket-lint has played so far is rich in colour and detail. It is a prime example of how far iPhone gaming has come in a short space of time. And it has a deep, rich soundtrack to match.

We're definitely waiting with baited breath for the final product to come to the App Store. Expect it to hit at normal Gameloft prices (around £3.99 for iPhone and iPad).

Are you a fan of Japanese RPGs? Looking forward to this one? Let us know in the comments below...

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