Every so often a game comes along that redefines
the way we look at video games. New Legends strives to earn its place in
this rarest of game types, but does it make it?
Heroes, weapons, demons, swords! When the premise for
New Legends first entered my head I was quickly filled with feelings
of joy and hope. It gave me the opportunity to kick major evil Chinese
army ass in a beat-em-up title with a fresh plot. For once it seemed
that the developer actually forced me to look into one of its titles.
THQ had an interesting formula that could've created
a great game. The plot seemingly had a lot of promise. However, a good
plot wasn't enough to save New Legends from the problems that plagued
it. The ideas are great, but the execution is seriously flawed.
Set in a slightly futuristic China where mythology and
technology are meld together, the land is plagued by war. A dictator
named Xao Gon, who was said to have made an alliance with a demon from
the other world, rose to power. With the help of his five demon-spawned
offspring, he challenges and defeats many of the clan territories. Now,
only one ancient clan within the Soo Kingdom remains. With all their
allies destroyed, they are China's only hope for the restoration of peace.
It is a time of chaos, a time of defiance... a time for heroes.
This is interesting; it was enough to turn my head, after
all. I'm not one to turn away from a good piece of story; so with excitement,
I inserted the game disc and began my adventure. However, after a few
minutes of play I was immediately tempted to shut down my Xbox and place
the disc back in its case.
You begin with objectives and although the plot moves
along fairly well, enjoyment ceases when you reach battle. In fact, you'd
have better chances of survival if you just ran from your enemy and avoid
directly assaulting them. If you do feel like challenging them, and of
course you will have to, you may want to try something other than the
usual Rambo. After getting hit it's difficult to get back to your feet.
I prefer the use of guns while fighting; it seems to be the best way
to continue on. Tip: Strike first and accurately, you'll live longer.
Good news is there's an immense amount of weapons, from
melee to tech; knives to staffs, claws, swords, axes, saws, bows, shotguns,
rocket launchers, plasma guns, mini guns, and tank "punchers." Certainly
a variety is present and you'll need it when you battle the hordes of
Xao Gon's armies and his offspring. His children have unique weapons
of their own as well which were surprisingly stolen from heaven (one
weapon is a sword that is capable of shooting circles of flame). You
can possess them, however, only after you have defeated their owners.
The graphics aren't too much better than the gameplay,
sadly. The models are well made but colors are too bright. Don't be fooled
by the pictures on the back of the screen; the textures are plain, blurry,
and too colorful in certain levels. Average graphics, but certainly not
comparable to the godlike, Halo.
There's also the issue of low frame rates. It's not just
during the heat of battle, slowdown occurs at almost every corner. I
don't mind a small amount of this, but when it happens through the entire
game? Someone should prescribe eyeglasses to the employees at THQ, I
don't know how they could've let such major frame rates pass them by.
It feels like the developers put sound before gameplay,
because that's one of the things done right. New Legends' music fits
the theme of the game with a Chinese hint. But alas, the voice acting
is superb. It certainly is more interesting than everything else gone
wrong in this game. I guess the voice actors put a bigger emphasis on
effort than the developers did.
On the bright side of things the controls are some of
the simplest you'll find for such a complex concept. You move your character
with the left analog stick and the camera with the right stick. The A
button is to jump, Y is to block, and X and B are different hand attacks
(for example, you'll fire your shotgun from one hand and swing your sword
with the other). The white button is to use while the black button is
for your weapon inventory. You can also combine two buttons to perform
a dash or a special attack. Again, the controls are extremely easy and
will become second nature as soon as you pick up the controller.
Scott "VeX" Kuss
You may fire when ready.
The ideas were there, it seemed like a promising title.
A beat-em-up set in future china with a great plot. Unfortunately,
the gameplay was choppy and boring and the graphics were
drab. The game became old as soon as I placed it into
the drive and started it up. Like every game, I would
suggest at least renting it (except 4x4 Evolution 2,
don't bother or forever be sinned), you may or may not
find it somewhat interesting. God speed, soldier.