Many people probably imagine themselves as a heroic figure in fantasy settings. Being able to be the one that people look towards in times of need, wielding a large sword, and cleaving through waves of enemies are just some things that come with being a hero. But what if you were that hero already? The thought of being put on a pedestal would probably be stressful and draining. Legends of Talia: Arcadia makes an attempt to dissect those feelings and how they have an impact on not just the hero, but those that come in contact with her.
You play as Arcadia, the legendary hero of Talia. While there has been an abundance of tales that have been spun about her, Arcadia wants nothing to do with any of them. Jaded from the amount of war and death she has had to witness, she would much rather spend her days quietly traveling through the land on her way back home.
The story opens up with events prior to the current story, showing a disastrous attack on an unsuspecting village. And unfortunately for Arcadia and the villagers, she had already left before the attack was underway. While she eventually made her way back, she found the village in ruins and only one survivor begging for her help.
The events of those days rest heavily on Arcadia’s mind and unfortunately, she finds that her decisions from that day come back to bite her when she stumbles upon a strange woman known as Cecily.
The story premise is pretty simple to follow and while nothing to write home about, it is handled well. The writing is solid, the pacing is pretty good, and it’s fairly easy to insert yourself into the setting and watch events as they unfold. And since Legends of Talia: Arcadia is mainly meant to revolve around the terrible attack that happened years ago and its effects in the present day, there is not much in the way of padding. The story wraps up well and doesn’t really leave you feeling as though it dragged out for too long.
The story mainly revolves around the two characters, Arcadia and Cecily. Given the short nature of the visual novel, there isn’t much in the way of character development to be seen. How the characters act in the beginning is pretty much the same towards the end. However, the little bit that is shown is done very well. The emotion that Cecily puts forward, from her happiness to her anger, was very compelling to watch. Her motivations are very easy to understand, with her wanting to protect her sister at all costs. She does experience a bit of growth, but nothing that is too drastic.
Arcadia is a bit more of an enigma to watch. Given that she is the character you play as, you will see all of her thoughts as they come to her. However, how she emotes herself to other characters tends to run a bit dry and to the point. She keeps a wall up and it’s not until she’s backed against a wall that she attempts to reach out emotionally to Cecily.
The one aspect of the characters that did catch me off guard was the sudden romance at the very end. Given the events of the story and how little time was spent actually building the relationship between the two, it did feel a bit sudden and felt more slapped on if nothing else.
Legends of Talia: Arcadia is a kinetic visual novel with no choices to be made by the player. The runtime ends up being around 1-2 hours, with no replayability given that there are no choices to be made or collectables to find. However, given its short runtime, if you do decide to want to replay it, it is very easy to get through the entirety of the game in a single sitting.
Kinetic Novel With No Choices
The story plays out in a way that is very true to its genre’s name. Much like a novel where the reader does not have a choice as to what happens with the story, Legends of Talia: Arcadia will always leave the player with the same experience. There is only one ending and no secrets to be found.
The art for Legends of Talia: Arcadia is fairly standard for fans of Winged Cloud’s other works. The artwork is polished, with the character sprites being vibrant while backgrounds are muted as to not draw too much attention. Given the game’s short nature, there aren’t a lot of different sprites, backgrounds, or even CGs. There were some moments where you can definitely see the fact that the images available were limited in their capacity.
And of course, if we’re talking about Winged Cloud, we can’t skip over the fan service. While there are few CGs to be had with this title (Three of the CGs reuse the same character art, come on!), all of them are nice to look at. The artists know who their fanbase is and make the most of the limited amount of time they have to hook you in. It’s nothing too crazy or out of the ordinary compared to other games by this developer.
There is a CG for the dragon though. That’s pretty neat.
Music and Audio
The music is fairly generic, with a range of the piano and orchestral tracks. Truthfully, it’s easy for the music to just insert itself right into the background, where you don’t even realize that you’re listening to anything. It’s nothing to write home about. However, that is pretty much the only audio that you actually hear in the game. There are no audio cues, even during the moments when the characters are fighting. There also is no voice acting to accompany the story, which is to be expected given the cheap price tag.
In terms of kinetic visual novels, it’s about as basic as you can get with aesthetics and music. But while its runtime is very low and there little replayability to be had, for the price, Legends of Talia: Arcadia isn’t actually a bad deal. The story told is actually solid and wraps up in a way that is satisfying. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, but also tells its story completely in the small amount of time that it gives itself. If it already piqued your interest, I would say just bite the bullet and read it through.