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Review: Legendary - PC, PS3, Xbox 360 - 4.8

06 grudnia, 2008

Yet another great idea that Spark Unlimited fails to execute admirably...

There are some developers in this industry that simply don\'t get it. They roll out "games" that feature multiple problems and bugs that ultimately mar the experiences that they set out to create. Spark Unlimited, unfortunately, is one of those teams. After the lackluster Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, Spark came back with a bold objective, to right all of their wrongs and make sure their next game, Legendary, isn\'t the disaster that Turning Point was. While featuring an interesting premise, the execution is yet again not up to par with other entries in the genre.

Legendary has you take the role of a bland character named Deckard, an expert thief who is tasked by a rich executive to steal Pandora\'s Box. Unfortunately, Deckard ends up opening the box and unleashing a swarm of different creatures. It\'s a good idea, but the story from that point on is simplistic and predictable. You\'ll find yourself shaking your head when the mandatory suited human enemies pop up and add a third faction to the fight. Turns out that there are two ancient societies fighting for this artifact, one to use its powers for evil, one to lock up evil. In the end, don\'t play Legendary for its story.

In fact, don\'t play Legendary for any revolutionary gameplay features either. What it boils down to is a pretty standard shooter with some cursory puzzles. The best thing we can say about the shooting are the interesting enemies. Werewolves jump from wall to wall  unpredictably while flying Nari switch between solid and ghostly forms and throw objects at you. There\'s also the interesting mechanic of the animus, a life force contained in each creature that you kill. You can absorb this energy using a signet that is burned into your hand when the box is opened. This energy can be used to recharge your health or knock back enemies with a burst of it. Unfortunately, nothing else runs as smoothly.

While the enemies are interesting, most of the combat mechanics involving them are iffy. For example, in order to kill a warewolve, you have to decaptitate them. Unfortunately, this requires you to hit a very specific spot in between one\'s neck and head with an axe. Moving is terrible, with Deckard barely able to jump. This leads to some real frustration in platforming sequences that are in the beginning of the book. Level design overall is terrible, with invisible walls and claustropobic corridors all-around. It\'s also terribly uninspired, taking you through subways, sewers, warehouses, a church and... that\'s pretty much it. Traversing these levels is a chore, with some sections featuring security doors that you "bypass." Bypassing is basically you standing in front of the door\'s control panel and holding down a key for 5 seconds. That\'s it. It\'s unengaging and it soon gets irritatingly repetitive.

Spark hasn\'t learned much from their previous game in terms of engine implementation. There are some huge and mildly-impressive enemies like a golem and a kraken, but the majority of the game looks rather bland. Humans look horrid, textures might have been impressive earlier this decade, and ragdolls flop around for no reason. Sound design is a bit better, but nothing stands out and the music also goes a bit overboard with all the rock.

You might as well cross Spark Unlimited from the list of competent devs, unless their next effort turns out to be astronomically better than the disaster that is Legendary.

Score Breakdown:

Gameplay: 5.0 – Decent enemy designs, nothing else is good.

Presentation: 4.5 – Terrible level design, overly simplistic story, very inconsistant presentation.

Graphics: 3.5 – Horribly disappointing implementation of the Unreal Engine, NOTHING even approaches 2008 standards.

Sound: 6.5 – Nothing stands out, but at least nothing sucks.

Value: 4.5 – Finishing the game once was torturous, we probably wouldn\'t even play this for free.

Final Score: 4.8 – A stunningly low-quality release, Spark Unlimited better get its act together soon if they want any educated gamer to buy their games...

Marcin Skok
"The Gaming Corner