[Review] Warriors: Legends of Troy
Traditionally revolving around a historical Asian story, such as Dynasty Warriors’ Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the Warriors franchise now branches out to The Iliad with Warriors: Legends of Troy. Instead of Omega Force, Legends of Troy was developed by Koei Canada and, while it still bears the signature name and some gameplay similarities, provides a new experience for fans of the Warriors series to enjoy.
Although Legends of Troy looks familiar, players will soon find differences in the gameplay. The similarities stop after the basic combo strings, which include a number of square followed by a triangle button press; aside from that, the control scheme has had a dramatic makeover. Replacing musou attacks, the fury mode gives players stronger attacks that can cut through blocking opponents and even regain lost health; shield bash can disarm blocking opponents, leading to an instant kill on weakened opponents with one press of an on-screen command; a lock-on ability, which was especially useful during duels; a parry ability, which will either attack the enemy right back with a damaging attack or simply open him up, depending on the timing; a roll ability that came in quite useful when facing a horde; and the ability to pick up any weapon from a downed opponent. These changes make for an incredibly fun, although completely foreign, game for avid Warriors fans.
One of the common grips with the Warriors franchise is the brain-dead AI, who often stands by while getting their heads bashed in by button-mashing players. Greeks and Trojans, however, block and attack in formation. Even on the normal difficulty, troops march forward with shields held high, stabbing players in unison. At one point, when I was surrounded by a crowd of troops, not only did they hit me in the middle of my attack, but they even leapt and lunged their spears at me in perfect harmony, instantly killing me. Never did this happen in previous Warriors games.
Of course, there are ways around this, mostly by shield bashing and instantly killing weaker troops, which include an uninterruptable animation, without rushing into the fray like a madman. There are no such easy exploits against stronger enemies in duels, such as the mighty Achilles or any other notable warriors. Instead, their patterns constantly change, forcing players to utilize all of the features, such as fury or shield bashing to penetrate defensive warriors and parrying stop a flurry of attacks. Likewise, those generals will do the same, so players have to constantly be on their feet and ready to adapt.
Another notable change, which will probably stand out more than an intelligent AI, is the inclusion of giant boss battles. Players will face the likes of a giant Apollo statue and Griffin that will create gusts and shoot its sharp feathers from afar. Greek mythology aficionados will both admire the detail to which these creatures have been recreated but also abhor the idea of their inclusion in a game based on The Iliad. Disregarding the developers’ liberty with the story, these boss battles are on a truly epic scale and immerse players into the idea of battling against giants of Greek mythology.
Legends of Troy is also the most cinematic and beautiful game in the series yet. Troy’s structures are magnificently rendered and recreated for players’ enjoyment. Although Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage certainly satisfied a good amount of blood lust, Legends of Troy blows it out of the water in that department. Instant kills frequently include some form of impalement and arrows being shot at point blank; attacks during fury splash the camera with splats of blood; spears and swords attach to corpses after they’re flung; these do a great job, but could have been improved if there was some visible damage on the corpses as well.
Technical problems also plague the title. Precisely because of the game’s beautiful environments and models, the game is prone to slowdown and sporadically drops below 30 frames per second. If it had been less frequent, it would be less of a concern, but the fact that it occurs so often certainly stood out. It takes you out of an otherwise engaging, Greek-warrior slashing experience. The lack of characters is also disturbing, considering this game has eight characters total and other Warriors titles has at least that much per alliance. It only exacerbates it when you find that stages are character specific; although it somewhat solves the odd problem in the past of having generals kill their own AI counterpart, the lack of freedom in this department will prove disappointing to most Warriors fans.
Aside from this glaring problem, Legends of Troy is an ambitious title from Koei Canada and stirs up the monotony that players may find from the Warriors franchise. Both fans and haters of the franchise alike should try it out for the radical changes it makes to the formula – fans may find that the changes are welcome and enjoy the strategic take on hacking-and-slashing, while haters will certainly find more than enough to relieve them of whatever worries they had before of the series.