The Book of Legends is a great RPG that has massive replay value. I almost NEVER replay games more than once because I have only limited time. However, the Book of Legends was enjoyable enough that it makes me want to replay to see a different ending and try out different characters. I highly recommend this game if you enjoy unique characters, meaningful player decisions, important party decisions and an oldschool style of difficulty that features some tough boss fights and requires a bit of leveling up.
What sets this game apart from others is the fact that you make actual meaningful decisions that can affect the plot, your party's competition, and the ending. There are 31 characters in the game (some are well hidden) and you get to pick who to allow to join you, who to use, who to level up etc. It's pretty interesting and it isn't simply about leveling up the "4 best" characters. Some boss battles require you to have 2 or even 3 parties of 4 characters so your choices about who to pair together adds an element of strategy. In the first few hours of the game, decisions you make will actually affect you throughout the game, which is pretty rare to see these days.
Each of the characters have interesting personalities and are pretty unique. They have fun personalities and the dialogue between them is often funny and usually interesting and well written. The main character is a bit of a jerk and very sarcastic with often hilariously rude replies. The plot itself is quite good and there's lots of sidequests. I finished the game in about 39 hours, completing 8 of the 27 quests. I also did some optional stuff in the arena. The speedrun for beating the game is 20 hours or less, but I recommend taking your time and it would be pretty difficult without building up a few extra levels as well. There's lots of NPCs to talk to in each town and lots of side paths to explore in both the dungeons and world map.
The Book of Legends reminds me of an oldschool RPG in that it can be quite difficult. Combat can be pretty challenging, especially bosses. Even when I thought I'd powerleveled quite a bit for a boss fight, I'd end up getting a challenging fight so that was enjoyable. When you reach a new area on the map, the regular enemies are pretty tough but as you level, they get easier. Combat itself is pretty good. There's a nice "rush" feature that lets you stomp easy enemies quickly,
the characters have quite a few skills and it is cool to try different combinations of parties. You also have the choice of trying to keep all of your characters high level, or just focusing on certain characters.
The world itself is quite huge, dungeons are big and sometimes require multiple visits to get all the way through. There are many hidden areas in the game. Finding hidden secrets in dungeons and even on the world map is fun and rewarding. It is also worth noting that there is a strategy guide available for sale on Adorlea's website. I finished the game without it, but I did read up on the forums a few times. I played the game in "RPG" mode which is the more difficult version of the two.
As far as negatives, I would say that the first hour of the game is actually the worst. For a long time, I was lost in the forest with a stupid dead rooster, wandering aimlessly. Luckily, the game gets a LOT better. Also, you can get a free sample of the strategy guide which has a map of the forest, which I found was the most confusing map in the game. The economy in this game is VERY tight. The best weapons and armor are EXPENSIVE and even getting enough healing and magic potions
can be pretty expensive. Also, due to the difficulty of bosses, you'll need to grind levels for both money and xp. This can be a bit dull, but it was pretty much the norm for old school RPGs so I didn't mind it too much. I probably spent about 3 to 4 hours building levels and getting money (while raising up weaker characters as well) out of the 39 hours played.
There are a few optional bosses that are really really tough and the game doesn't necessarily warn you about it, which I didn't like. (The cave early in the game is the worst offender) Just remember to save before a boss and that you cannot beat everything right when you fight it. Some stuff you have to come back for later.
Overall, the Book of Legends is a real gem of an RPG. The unique characters, humor, strategic party composition, important player decisions, solid plot, and massive replayability make this game stand out. There's a bit too much grinding but the end result is well worth it. The only game I could compare this to might be Suikoden V, due to the amount of playable characters in both games. However, the characters in BoL have more personality and you get to choose which ones to use in a more impactful way. Highly recommended- 9 / 10!