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Legion

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Paradox Interactive
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

A quick glance at Legion's graphics might turn a few heads in the other direction. For those who judge solely on looks, it's your loss. Not every game requires a stunning 3D engine to make for good gameplay, and Legion is a testament to this fact. The look and feel is not unlike the Civ series, with 2D sprites moving around the map. But Legion takes a different street when it gets to the battles, which are played out in real time with huge armies roving around the screen. The developers have done a good job at utilizing a simple graphics scheme, while at the same time keeping the atmosphere the same throughout the various parts of the game.

As the location and time are set during the Roman Empire, so is the music, or at least someone's interpretation of what the soundtrack for the Roman war machine would be. Whether you're managing your cities or sending your men into the meat grinder, the music plays it's part well, not distracting and at the same time adding to the experience. Also well done are the sound effects, though limited if nothing else. The sounds of war are ever present on the battlefield, but a little more variety would have gone a long way.


Gameplay:

As either the Romans or any of the native peoples they conquered in the past, the object of the game is to dominate the map by controlling the largest empire. Accomplishing this is done mostly through war, though diplomacy is always encouraged.

The number of maps you have to choose from are slightly limited, being only 4 in number. Starting each map, you are given the option of playing either historically or customizing the settings. Historical games put you in the role of the Romans, with accurate enemies and their strengths. Customizing the game, on the other hand, lets you play as any faction on the map, and also allows the enemies to be altered. And though the maps may be limited, the time spent finishing one will almost make you forget that fact.

All of this adds up to an issue of replayability. Being solely a single player game with only a handful of maps and no map editor limits the amount of fun to be had, though there is plenty to begin with. Any additions in a possible sequel could only enhance the quality of the gameplay here.


Difficulty:

Legion is based around a simple design, so learning the ropes is not too difficult. And being inherently easy also makes it less of a task to master. The enemy AI, being one of its few flaws, is not as good or diverse as it should be. Most enemies act in the same manner, and are usually a pushover in the long run. However, the fact that you can play as different sides with weaker units helps vary things out a bit.

Game Mechanics:

Legion takes the old turn-based strategy genre and twists it into something new. City management and troop movements are all done during the course of your turn. Carrying them out is done at your leisure, as there is no time limit. When two armies meet, however, the rules change. Troops for both armies are placed on their respective sides of the battlefield and given a formation along with specific orders. This is where the player's control stops. Once the battle starts, both armies go at it until one of them is routed. The fighting is done without any input from the general (the player) at all, much like it was done in ancient times. But unlike ancient times, unfortunately, you cannot retreat from a battle, leaving only two options: victory or death.

Each city you control has precious land that is used for the placing of buildings. This is where resources and troops are gathered, which are the two fundamental ingredients to any victory. It's not a complicated system. As long as you have enough citizens, you can gather more resources, which in turn allows you to purchase more troops. Buying troops depletes your citizen count, which will grow over time.

Don't expect epic conquests found in other strategy games. Legion offers addictive, yet simple, gameplay in an easy to swallow pill. Despite many of the little problems with it, this is a must have for fans of the genre. The developers have done a good job thus far, and we can only hope they build upon this game.


-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 2000/ME/XP, 233 MHZ Processor, 64 MB RAM, 250 MB Free Hard Disk Space, 2 MB Video Card DirectX Compatible, DirectX Compatible Sound Card
 

Test System:



Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated