Whatever your thoughts are on The Legend of Korra (the TV show), I’m pretty sure we can all agree that it was an inferior follow-up to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Avatar’s only significant problems came about in season 3: the deus ex energybending coming out of nowhere, the plethora of filler in the first half of S3, Katara for some reason deciding to stand in Azula’s line of fire during the last Agni Kai… yeah, season 3 definitely wasn’t perfect, but it was still a mostly good season and a decent conclusion to the series.
By comparison, The Legend of Korra was riddled with problems from start to finish. Korra herself is widely agreed to be an obnoxious, arrogant brat from her very introduction and she doesn’t really learn from her mistakes the way Aang does. Romance subplots in the show are absolutely dreadful and add nothing to the story. You have several moments, specifically in Beginnings, which retcon the established canon. Villains’ motivations are shaky and not well exposited at best. Waterbending is disgustingly OP; Yakone and Noatak are the most busted characters in the entire series. Compared to Avatar’s narrative – which you knew would end with Aang vs. Fire Lord Ozai – Korra had no endgame in mind and thus was forced to meander quite a bit. And if you thought Avatar S3’s deus ex energybending was bad, Korra is far worse: she inexplicably learns airbending out of nowhere in S1, a dead Aang inexplicably comes back in S1 to restore her powers, the entire Kaiju-esque endfight in S2 jumps the shark, and in S4, apparently giant mecha robots are a thing, too.
TLOK is kind of a trainwreck, to be honest.
Yet, I find myself not hating it the way a lot of other people do. It’s got a lot of problems, sure, but it’s also got some pretty cool stuff, like exploring new bending techniques or showing us the descendants of Avatar’s main cast. The animation (when not overrelying upon CGI) was brilliant, especially for Beginnings. The show manages to recapture some of that Avatar humor by introducing characters like Bolin and Varrick. Overall, I don’t find Korra to be completely unsalvageable, even if it was a disappointment when compared to Avatar. I also found The Dragon Prince was a more enjoyable show than Korra, even if it did have its problems… but now I’m digressing.
Let’s talk about The Legend of Korra: A New Era Begins, to which I shall refer hereinafter as Korra Emblem 3DS. Or just Korra Emblem.
Korra Emblem essentially plays as a budget version of DS Fire Emblem. It at least has a better sense of unit balance than FE13, which isn’t saying much, but still – it’s a slightly more strategic game in the very least. (For my money, I’d rather replay Korra Emblem than FE13.) When it comes to strategy though, Korra Emblem falls short in many areas. You’ll only ever recruit 6 units total… this is especially disappointing if you take a look at how extensive Korra’s cast was. The whole thing was a huge missed opportunity. We could’ve had Tenzin’s kids, Varrick, Zhu Li, Eska and Desna, Iroh the 2nd, and most importantly of all: Asami. Seriously, where the hell was Asami? It’s baffling that the creators decided to leave out one of the show’s main characters!
Fortunately, aside from the weird omission of Asami, Korra Emblem doesn’t feature any crippling flaws. It has a lot of minor ones, such as bad graphics for its time, simple map objectives, somewhat weird difficulty, bad enemy AI which mostly works out in your favor, dull “cutscenes,” minor QoL problems like forcing you to use your touch screen for a lot of stuff (why can’t I just use my D-pad?), and not even having a credits scene for when you finish the game. Korra Emblem has a LOT of problems, and yet… I didn’t find that any of them made the game into a completely terrible experience. The whole game is short: I cleared it in 5.5 hours… which is, pathetically, still longer than it takes to beat FE13.
When you factor in all these flaws, I can say with confidence that Korra Emblem is a bad game, even if it’s not egregiously bad.
Still, I’ve played much worse.
Is Korra Emblem disappointing? You bet. Could it have been a lot better? You bet. Am I annoyed by the lack of Asami? You bet. However, when you consider the totality of what the game offers… it’s really not that bad. I can’t say I expected that much – given that this is a licensed game and licensed games tend to range from bad to awful – yet I still kind of enjoyed the game. Units are sufficiently different and I found they were balanced fairly well (except for Korra herself; she sucks). The game does a good job of making you budget your limited resources, like in Valhollian. At times, the game offered some fun challenges, like escaping a map when I’m vastly outnumbered, a la Thracia 776.
Above all else… perhaps the sheer novelty of playing a SRPG set in the Avatar universe was enough to placate me. Maybe that’s it.
Korra Emblem accurately reflects the quality of its source material. Both the 3DS game and the show are disappointments, even if they’re not completely bad. I think if you come into The Legend of Korra expecting a mediocre experience, you’ll walk away pleasantly surprised. The same applies to Korra Emblem. If you come into Korra Emblem expecting a mediocre experience as befitting of a licensed game, you’ll walk away pleasantly surprised.
With all that being said though, there are much better SRPGs to play.
Developers: Webfoot Technologies
My video review