Pandora’s box, evil fantasy creatures, ancient secret societies – all of these elements are fundamental to any mythology geek’s wet dream.
And the storyline of Legendary, peppered with truckloads of these, could have been the best thing that has ever happened to geeks since Richmond Lattimore’s The Odyssey of Homer.
Regrettably, Legendary is not a book. It’s a First-Person Shooter (FPS) game, and in that aspect, the title of the game begins to sound more than just a little presumptuous.
You play professional art thief, Charles Deckard, who is contracted by a wealthy businessman to steal what’s inside Pandora’s Box from a museum in New York. And in doing so, you have unleashed a vast array of mythical monsters into the unsuspecting world.
Who could ask for a more perfect excuse to use every manner of heavy duty ordance at your disposal to blow up some werewolves?
Unleashing what’s inside Pandora’s box
Playing the game for the very first time is not dissimilar to opening the Pandora’s box itself – It’s full of examples of what a video game should not be.
Developers California-based Spark Unlimited, have, instead of translating Legendary’s stimulating storyline into stunning visual effects to reel the player into the game, compressed the prologue into a disappointing slideshow. Not only are the pictures of the slideshow boring, they fail to fully capitalise on the captivating storyline.
Forgetful storyline aside, the graphics are not amazing either. In fact, although UrbanWire was playing the PlayStation 3 version, the cutscenes shockingly resemble graphics of PlayStation 2 instead.
Ho-hum visuals resonate throughout this title but nowhere is this more evident than in Deckard himself. Although the FPS genre has seen its share of grim protagonists with less cheer on their faces that the Grim Reaper himself, Deckard looks downright shady even for a professional art thief. He looks more partial to trading the fate of the world for riches untold than placing his neck on the chopping board to save it.
Never-ending tutorial and unremarkable chores
The total game hours of the meagre storyline are so miserly that if Legendary wanted to have players blitz through their plot in record time, it has certainly done a fine job.
Most obstructions blocking the way out are either blown up by the electric force emanating from the opened Pandora’s box or crushed by a passing monster for you to pass through. Plus, any objects that you have to interact with will glow red so you will hardly be stumped at how to get your way out of a situation.
As pleasant as that sounds however, it gets extremely dreary to be ‘hand-held’ after awhile. It doesn’t help either that some of the puzzles are repetitive, such as hacking into the keypad. It was cool the first time around but after hacking into the 10th keypad, this action has simply become monotonous.
Evil terrorises Earth
But if there is anything that can save Legendary from being a complete waste of money, it is the mythical creatures themselves. The variety of monsters available, such as golems, firedrakes, werewolves and griffons, are definitely astounding and each of these creatures requires a unique way of killing them. So it’s not about just blasting away your submachine gun; it takes a bit of skill to kill your enemies.
But good things do not last long in Legendary. Never mind that there isn’t an extensive range of weapons available to kill the creatures in the game. Besides, the weapons are all relatively of the same quality anyway. But the movements of Deckard are seriously unrealistic. He could hardly jump over a train platform and when attacked by a firedrake, he doesn’t even take a step back from the impact.
Other than the drawbacks of not having realistic human capabilities, you have somehow gained the ability of absorbing the life energy of the monsters after they die. Called Animus Vitae, you can heal yourself easily just by holding the triangle button when you are near a glowing sphere of a slain creature’s life energy.
Legendary is full of promise of being an extremely exciting video game. It has an exhilarating (albeit unoriginal) storyline, great mythical monsters and a potentially huge pool of fans just waiting to lap it up. Unfortunately, the flawed gameplay design and lack of visual effects leave this game with much to be desired. And with other highly rated FPS games released this season, such as Call of Duty: World at War and Resistance 2, it is highly likely that not even the most hardcore geeks can dig Legendary out of obscurity.
Addictive Rating: 3/10
Replay Value: 3/10
Overall Rating: 4.4/10
Legendary is available exclusively on the PlayStation 3 console and retails at $79.90 from Atari.