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Legendary

Score: 45%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Gamecock Media
Developer: Spark Unlimited
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

It was cold and raining when I showed up at Gamecocks E.I.E.I.O. party during SXSW last year. We huddled under propane heaters and awaited the opening of the doors to look at Legendary. The XBOX 360 game we demoed showed some promise early on. It had all of the standard elements for an FPS, but nothing really jumped out at me; it was a demo after all. I did leave there hoping to get my hands on it again, and I would say that is a good complement for a demo. I am a bit of a PC snob when it comes to FPS games. It is as much habit as argumentative nature that using a mouse is just faster. I was happy to hear there was a PC version of the game and had high hopes for the game. The only thing in the end that was "Legendary" for me was the physical nausea I felt while playing the game.

I imagine the graphics would have been quite nice if I wasn't watching them chop past me at 15fps. Just standing still, I would get drops down to 3fps; I sure as hell didn't remember that from the demo. I will go into more detail later about the steps I took to alleviate this issue. There was an interesting visual mix between some extremely well thought out sequences and artistic endeavors and bleak apathy. Since most of what I saw could be actually considered art slides, I will say the game had some very beautiful creatures and a unique look and feel. Experiencing those was brutal.

I will lay off the sledge hammer when it comes to the sound of the game. It was, for what it is worth, what I would expect from an FPS. Hope you like guitar rock. The voice acting was standard fare. There was nothing to distract from the actual experience of playing, but it didn't add to its woes.


Gameplay:

The action in Legendary is instant and non-stop. You are Charles Deckard, and quite literally, you find yourself with your hand in the cookie jar known as Pandora's Box. You get your smack on the wrist from the gods when a giant spike is shoved through your hand by the crate, branding you with the signet. It becomes a whirlwind of death and destruction visited upon man, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. You go from escaping the very beast you let loose to being the key to man's survival in containing them again.

If you don't know the story of Pandora's Box, the Cliff Notes pretty much read as follows. In a battle of wills between the Gods, Zeus and Prometheus, Zeus created Pandora to seduce Prometheus' brother. He had bestowed her limitless curiosity. He then gave her a box at her wedding that said nothing more than it is never to be opened. Zeus' plan worked and one day she sucumbed to her curiosity and opened the box. All that man knows is evil in the world flew out of the box. It was shut quickly, locking in one last salvation for man, hope.

The plot played out like reading the alphabet. You knew each move a twist before the game could actually tell you about it. The story goes that you have been tricked into opening Pandora's Box. Then to make matters worse, there is a group that wants this to happen. You decide you want to make things right, so there is a three way struggle between good, evil, and the creatures of the box. So, with the plot not getting in the way of gameplay, you are free to shoot mythical creatures and enemies with your standard fare of military firepower.

The way health works in the game is through the collection and use of a strange energy called Animus. It is collected through the signet that has been branded into your hand. It can be randomly found around the area, or after killing some creatures. Throughout the game, you will also use this energy as a tool. The problem I had was that this was a very interesting, though not new, barely used mechanism. You could use it to repel some objects and at other times make some things solid. This just wasn't a huge impact on the game besides being able to fill your health bar like a med pack.


Difficulty:

Legendary was a game on very short rails. Saying an FPS is on rails is like saying the surface of the sun is hot. The linear nature of FPS's as a genre is just as defining a feature as the obvious camera perspective. So, when I say this game was on rails, I mean that the path was anorexic skinny. You might as well have been on a train car following the line and just shooting at the creatures. The puzzles were not complex enough by any means. I always try and put the years of FPS's I have played out of my mind and think about the newest generations of gamers. Given the hopeful reminder that each generation should be initially smarter that the previous, I can safely say that if an eight year old was allowed to play the game, they would have no problem solving what passed for puzzles and obstacles.

Game Mechanics:

My gaming computer is by no means the absolute top of the line. If anyone out there reading this thinks that I should only have the top of the line to test all games, then by all means feel free to sponsor me with a true gamer's rig. But, my machine is no slouch. We don't all have awesome machines. If you look down below, you can see I do meet minimum specs many times over. More times than not, when a company pumps out these minimum specs, you can actually get away with a slower computer than recommended, as long as you drop everything visual down to the absolute lowest settings. No wonder it claims, "Plays best on Alienware." You have to have a beast to play this game. I was on the lowest settings here and could not get more than the aforementioned 30fps - 3 fps fluctuation the entire time. I did the entire driver update song and dance. I cut out everything that wasn't absolutely needed to run the game, and still a slide show. Just to show my dedication to gaming and the pursuit of the story, I forced myself to play until the violent framerate fluctuations made me expel my breakfast. I took a long break before getting back into it for any more info.

I had such high hopes for this game as a whole. There are a few good pieces to mention. The art looked good. The premise drew me in enough to look forward to the game. The creature A.I. could be unpredictable, making for more interesting battles. When I died, unfortunately more due to lag than difficulty, I never felt like I was having the same fight over again. These few pieces were not enough to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. I think there is a design rule that says don't make the player physically ill. There were too many graphical glitches to forgive, even above the lag. It is a hard formula for gaming success sometimes and it hurts when there are so many decent things about the design to see the basics left out. I hope they put the dice in and roll them again, but I can't see myself enduring playing the game any more than I did.


-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:



Operating system: Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista, Processor: Intel Pentium D 2.6 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 3800+, Memory: 2 GB, Hard drive: 9.5 GB, Graphics card: Geforce 7600 GT or better / Radeon X1600 or better

Recommended system requirements:
Operating system: Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista, Processor: Dual-core CPU with 2.0 GHz or better, Memory: 4 GB, Hard drive: 9.5 GB, Graphics card: Geforce 8800 GT or better / Radeon HD 3850 or better

 

Test System:



Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated