Developer: Gameloft
Price: $5.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

This year, Gameloft decided to assault the App Store the week before Christmas.  As part of this barrage, they let fly their most recent homage to the Final Fantasy franchise, Eternal Legacy.  Let’s just get the confusion out of the way and state up front that this is about as close as a developer would dare tread to Square’s brand, without the necessity of a team of plagiarism lawyers the likes of which only Jayson Blair has ever seen.  But in an age where iOS thrives off of original content, is there still room for a carbon copy?

If you were to look at the laundry list of features contained in Eternal Legacy you might begin to feel like this could quite possibly be bulletpoints from the box of a game like Final Fantasy XIII.  The comparison to a console game is impossible to avoid, if for no other reason than it is one of the few of its ilk available on the App Store.

Richly fleshed out storylines with complex narratives and interesting character designs are not commonly found on the platform, so it was a pleasant surprise to see it featured so prominently.  Unfortunately the immense attention to detail in story construction is often overshadowed by cringe-inducingly bad voice acting.

In the few moments that members of your party are not hurting your eardrums with voice talents that could easily be found at a conference for the mute, players do get the chance to engage in beautifully rendered and executed turn based combat.  While gorgeous to look at as a visual showcase for the potential of iOS, the combat system isn’t anywhere near as elaborate.  Some may even go as far as to call it simple and boring, as well as lacking any variety or challenge whatsoever.

As much promise as the game shows, complimented by Gameloft’s tremendously high production values, Eternal Legacy reeks of lack of originality and passion.  If you are looking for a competent clone of current JRPGs on console, then you have come to the right place.  Just don’t expect it to push the envelope any further than is ultimately necessary.  Sadly, the curse of developers choosing to “play it safe” may have just claimed another victim.

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