It has been foretold that when Pandora’s Box is opened, cataclysmic events will consume the earth. Instead of bringing anguish, pain, misery, and hunger, planet Earth receives the retail version of Legendary.
Jokes aside, Legendary has an interesting concept behind it but fails to reach its full potential. Loose play control, a feeble story line, horrible auto respawning enemies, and repeating environments result in unbalanced and annoying gameplay.
You play as Charles Deckard, a professional thief who’s talents are for sale to the highest bidder. A man by the name of LeFey recruits Deckard to break into a New York museum to open a mysterious box by using a strange key. Upon opening the box, the key assimilates into Deckard’s hand and mythical creatures soon start running wild in the streets of New York. Now imbued with life force sucking powers called Animus, Deckard has to find a way to stop the madness that he caused.
The entire ideal behind this game is quite thoughtful. Monsters are on a rampage destroying the world, but secret organizations vying for the box’s power also make appearances. Adding to the stress factory, the main character now has a glowing arm as a result of opening this poisonous box. All these elements sound great on paper, but the game ultimately fails to flesh any of these details out. Instead, we get a simple story of betrayal that spans from New York to London.
Any travelers will tell you that New York and London are two very different places. However, the game does a poor job of distinguishing environments from one another. Even the first couple hours has repeating textures and level structures such as in the subway and in many hallways. Adding to this let down are the heavily scripted and predictable environmental effects. Just when you think you are stuck in a room, a griffin will fly in and destroy a wall or the floor will collapse to create a new path. The game kind of chugs along at these moments and none of these big rampaging creatures can be interacted with. A wild griffin swooped down and sniped a random pedestrian, but I could not save him no matter how many bullets I plugged into its face. Events like this take the fear and pressure out of the game because all sense of danger is lost.
Combat, overall, is a frustrating mess. It just seems that shooting werewolves with a pistol and hacking at fire demons with an ax just doesn’t really make that much sense. It would have been an entirely different story if I could level up my new glowing arm with some sweet killing moves, but instead I must constantly reload my dinky pistol. In fact, the imbued arm is a broken and useless part of the game. Every monster that is killed gives off this pink glowing dust stuff that Deckard can now consume with his arm. But instead of using this arm as weapon, players are basically limited to self healing. This means, any damage you just took from an enemy can now be repaired immediately after the creature’s death. This lackluster use of the arm asks the question, why was this feature even in the game at all?
Enemies constantly respawn too. I mean, it is worse than the original Mega Man games. There are times when I just want to figure out a puzzle, but I was constantly interrupted by werewolves that will always follow and hunt you down. And you can’t just kill these creatures by shooting them with a lot of bullets. Only after you decapitate them will they truly perish. But because the aiming and play control is so loose, pixel perfect gun shots are nearly impossible.
Puzzle solving is a joke too. Many times, it’s a simple matter of shooting the fire hydrant to put out the fire or jump from Point A to Point B. Like the scripted environmental effects, puzzle solving can be quite predictable. But perhaps my biggest complaint is the entire jumping mechanic. Why does Deckard have a three inch vertical when standing still, but can jump 15 feet when sprinting? It makes absolutely no sense and makes the play control that much more uncooperative. Only frustration will be a result of not being able to jump over that tiny crate right in from of you.
Before the game can be played, there is a solid 15 minute install on your PS3 system taking up about a DVD’s worth of memory. However, this does not seem to help with load times and the frame rate issues that constantly pop up. The game does has some decent graphics, especially in the enemy design, and has some cool particle effects. Even the flying griffon during the loading screen is well animated. But having slash marks appear on the television screen when you get hit by a werewolf is a bit cheesy.
There is a multiplayer option for this game, but I was unable to try this experience out because no one was playing online…and what does that tell you. And why are there no trophies? The 360 version has achievements, so why wasn’t the game coded with PS3 owners in mind?
Just about everything about this title comes up short. Disappointedly short. All the makings of an interesting story and gameplay are here, but it’s as if the developers had a “it’s good enough” attitude. Why I am only using my cool glowing arm to heal myself? Why can’t I level up my arm powers so I don’t have to use a pistol to kill these huge enemies? Where exactly did these secret organizations come from and what is the main character’s background story? Instead of being “legendary,” this game is “dismissible.”