Game: Warriors Legends of Troy
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Developer: Tecmo Koei
Genre: Arcade, Slash and Hack, Strategy
Platform: PS3, XBox 360 (Reviewed)
Release Date: 18th March 2011
Price: 39.99 – Here
Warrior Legends of Troy
If you are in any way a fan of Greek Mythology and arcade style hack em ups done with a certain finesse then Warriors Legends of Troy by Koei, who are responsible for the Dynasty Warriors franchise will certainly perk your interest.
Set during the 10 year period of the Trojan War, players will take control of 8 different well known characters from both the Greek and Trojan armies. The game focuses around the War as depicted in Homers famous literature the Iliad and features appearances from many well known Greek Gods.While it was somewhat confusing for me at first as the extent of my Greek history is well…nothing, the storyline eventually fell into place and gave a good perspective being able to play from both sides of the story. Really in terms of storyline theres not much more to it than that, at the start of each level theres a cutscene which looks like a play being performed on ancient pottery that would adequaetly fill any ignorant players like myself with any information needed.
The way i described this game to MastorAbbot the owner of capsule computers when i was trying to explain why i was taking so long with the review is that this is an RPG cleverly disguised as an arcade game. While the bulk of gameplay focuses heavily on arcade style hack and slash combos intertwined with precision timing there is also a MASSIVE array of items and upgrades to amass. Anyway back to basics, we already know that the game is set over the 10 year period of the Trojan War. Key moments from the war have been divided up into chapters with players switching back and forth between key figures of either the Trojan or Greek Army. The key figures on the game are Achilles (pain in the ass but we shall get to that later on), Ajax, Odysseus and Patroclus for the Greeks and on the Trojan side playable characters include Aeneas, Hector, Paris and Penthesilia all with different strengths and abilities. One minute you could find yourself controlling the mighty Achilles and the next you will be cursing the screen as you have to put up with his merciless attacks on you.
Each chapter starts with a well narrated and very informative intro that is played out in deep earthy colours like a theatrical play and gives players a brief background check on the characters involved in the following part of the story. Immersive and perfect for Greek history challenged persons like myself. Players then take control of any one of the aforementioned characters and follow them and their merry band of blood thirtsy, gutting slayers as they wreck havoc and decapitate everything on screen that moves. It has that true viking rape and pillage everything in your path feel and the war cries of your army as they plunder through the enemy leaving piles of corpses in their wake only seems to increase your desire to spill more blood and sever more limbs. At this point i could safely say this game is either going to be a love affair from the get go or its going to hold your interest for a very short period. Theres no hidden secret moves, no commanding of armies directly, nor can you explore free roaming worlds without boundaries or environmental limitations. What you see is what you get, an out and out rampage where even some of the secondary objectives involve killing near every enemy within the entire chapter.
At the end of the majority of the chapters and even twice within many, you will find yourself in a one on one battle within the game. It was during several of these battles that we almost required a new plasma screen as a pretty heavy XBox 360 controller was almost let go and hurtled across the room at it. Most of the battles are against the other playable characters within the game but occasionally you will come up against other known mythological figures as well as fictional foes. As the game progresses these battles become exceptionally difficult especially in relation to the near button bashing style of play enjoyed during the chapters. Its within these intense battles that the game changes dramatically and tactics and thought have to come into your play. Trying to hack into the likes of Achilles or Hector without blocking or making use of the timing feature is simply not going to work. Each boss has specific attacks most of which can be thankfully blocked before launching your own counter-attack. All of the bosses have large energy bars and even heavy brutal attacks will not leave much of a dent in them.
Hidden within the hack and slash button mashing are many features that set Warriors Legends of Troy above many other games also partial to wearing out the buttons on your controller. First is the timing feature which is essential to learn if you are going to progress past even the earliest one on one face offs. Simply put, by blocking at the correct time, the enemy becomes more vunerable to attack by either being put off balance ready for attack or a slow-motion kick or punch will be inflicted. While not overly useful during large battles the timing feature is built into the structure of boss battles. During early matches players will be prompted to block at the correct time as a kind of in game tutorial with less prompts offered as you get further in. Second is the fury gauge which when unleashed empowers your character with extra strength allowing enemies to be carved up like turkeys. Unfortunately enemies can still attack when you are in this mode and using it on most of the bosses wont get you very far either as the AI can be annoyingly clever in terms of predicting when you are going to block and attack them. Any weapons dropped by felled enemies can be picked up and used against them adding many different weapons to your arsenal. Each character has a set weapon(s) which cannot be swapped out, nor can others be purchased throughout the game. The one character who stood out for me was Paris as the ability to use a crossbow as well as a sword was a massive advantage in most situations.
Players earn Kleos during each chapter which are used to purchase a huge array of add ons and items which enhance your characters skills and abilites. The better your combo and more enemies you blood let the more you will earn, meaning the more items you can buy and combine together to switch around and match however you like to suit the differing chapters and bosses. Koei have opted for a similar inventory system as used in Resident Evil where players have an upgradeable grid in which to place their bought items. All items are focused around either increasing a players health, fury, stun attacks or the like, there is nothing in the way of extra weaponary or health packs on offer to buy. Saying that there is no need for extra health packs due to the actual and promised health system implemented in the game. As you kill more enemies in various exotic and medieval ways you gain what is called promised health represented by a grey bar underlying your actual health. Once you progress through a chapter to a certain point, usually after a big battle or boss you will be given back health to the promised level you have earned. Getting hit in return will generally decrease both you actual health plus a little promised as well.
What could have done with a little bit of tweaking is the lock on system which is great when you only have a single enemy to fight but can be frustrating when switching between them. While this is all fine and dandy when surrounded by weak enemies it fails when you are often faced with a few that are stronger and have independent life bars of their own.
A quick word on the basic enemies within the game. Theres a multitude of varying fiends always at the ready to get a quick slash or kick in while you back is turned. Ranging from the ultra weak who die at the sight of your sword through to the hunters and slashers who can quickly send you back to the last checkpoint, theres no shortage of challenges to be had. Other honourable pain in the ass mentions go out to the generals as well as the elite slashers and hunters who were the source of much hatred.
Within each level are secondary objectives that usually involve killing a certain amount of enemies or capturing certain enemy inhabited areas. I would recommend doing as many as you can as they give you valuable Kleos at the end of each level and the main objectives are always accessible meaning you can side track to any mission and not fail the main mission.
Graphics and Sound
While not being stunning by any means, clearly a lot of effort has been put into the characters design and making them and their weapons look visually accurate on screen. Unfortunately the environments i found quite bland and repetitive with not much on offer besides flat sandy hills and the odd bit of water to break it up. Sure there are villages, and a few other different scenarios but they are too few and far between. I would have liked to have seen more mountains and cliff battles with enemies being knocked off them left right and centre, plus a few more interactive items within the environments just to break up the monotony. Saying that, the lighting is very well done, especially the sun glinting off of weapons, and all characters look nicely polished. While it would be hard to release a seperate soundtrack the sound effects are disgustingly fitting. The cries of your own warriors as they run into battle is inspiring and the blood curdling screams of the enemy as they fall on your swaord is oddly satisfying. Combined with the constant clanking of metal on metal it really adds to the atmosphere and gives a real feel of a furious chaotic melee.
I havent played a game of this style for a while and thinking about it there is not really many games of this style that come to much success, the last being the Lord of the Rings franchise which typified hack and slash games. Warriors of Troy goes a bit further, adding many tactical elements to the gameplay combined with progressive combos and an item upgrade system. The ability to control 8 different characters mixes things up enough for the gameplay not to become boring which is a common problem with more simplistically structured games. You really dont need to think too hard about this one, you are either a fan of fast moving arcade style hack em ups or you arent, its as simple as that. I dont think theres enough in this one to satisfy RPG fans as there is a distinct lack of character modification and very little environmental and character interaction outside of the main parties. Personally i enjoyed it on most levels, but mostly the ability to throw it on and be able to play without having to put much thought into it. Thats not saying it wasnt challenging, trust me it is, but not in any cryptic way, the objective is always very very clear its more a matter of being able to fulfill it. Theres a few issues i would fix that i think would make the game more enjoyable, notably the lock on system and general consistency of the gameplay. Many times i went through an entire chapter hardly taking a scratch only to be confronted with a out of the ordinaryly difficult boss. The enemy AI also needs a bit of work as many just stand there looking stupid waiting for you to hack them to the ground. A very addictive game with plenty to offer i give this game