For me this is the first time I'm playing a game through Steam. I've always been hesitant because RPG Maker games, a genre that I like very much (if well made), are often not being treated with much love here. Seeing the release of The Book of Legends made me change my mind.
This game is not just "well made", it's fantastic. It's undoubtedly one of the best games I've ever played.
At first I felt a bit repelled by the main protagonist. He's really not what you'd expect a hero to be like. He's grumpy and rude and not friendly at all, but the dialogs with him turned out to be a lot of fun to read, much like dialogs in general contain a lot of humor in this game. What makes them even more interesting is that they depend a lot on who you have with you. For instance, a conversation with an NPC guard in the town Zenna is hilarious - but only when playing with Princess Melusine.
Which leads me to the greatest feature of the game: You can choose who to play with. Several times you'll have to decide whether to keep or get rid of characters and who else you want to add to your party. There's a variety of different combinations, which makes replaying the game a whole new experience. All the characters have different skills and abilities and different strengths, so you'll have to come up with new tactics in every playthrough. In addition there are loads of hidden characters to discover, like animals that will support you with their special skills. One animal for instance can decrease the chance of being ambushed, which helps tremendously in a certain area. There are also some very valuable, yet optional human characters that will join you (if you find them).
What I appreciate a lot is that not only the actively fighting members level up. Also the rest will gain experience points, so you don't have to spend hours on grinding.
Maps are made with much love and many details. Exploring thoroughly pays off as there are loads of secrets to be found, including some unexpected things like a chest that will refill several times during the game. Also there are many sidequests to solve, and some are pretty tricky!
You can even unlock new places to visit, for instance as a reward for finishing a quest.
Also, the artwork is stunning. The characters look just amazing.
The battle difficulty depends on whether you choose "Casual Mode" or "RPG Mode" at the beginning of the game. Casual is easier, plus you gain back some HP after each battle, which is a great help and you won't need too many restorative items. You can get through the game without doing a lot of levelling up - although the boss battles can be quite tricky and tough, forcing you to choose your parties wisely and use the right tactic. Very thrilling and a lot of fun!
For me Casual Mode is exactly the difficulty that I like; it's very well balanced.
Thus I personally haven't tried RPG, but it's certainly a much bigger challenge.
The game features random encounters, which at first I wasn't too happy about. But the encounter rate is perfect, so fighting doesn't get boring. Also, there's such a big variety of enemies, so battles are quite diversified.
The only thing I don't really like is the way the Colyseum is set up. Much too hard at the beginning, so you gotta keep it for later. The humans enter in pairs, but you can only put in every character once, which will be reset every time after killing a demon. You can't return there after every demon though, so if you keep it until late in the game, you can't have all the characters participate.
It's not really disturbing though since the Colyseum is 100% optional and not important at all for the game.
All in all the game is awesome. No matter how many times I play it, it never gets boring. I highly recommend everyone to give it a try - maybe even those people who don't hold RPG Maker games in high esteem. Give it a chance, you might be positively surprised!
I would love to see more games like this on Steam in the near future!