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Playstation 3












 M (Mature)



November 4, 2008



- Highly detailed visuals

- Solid FPS gameplay mechanics

- Clear audio



- Lackluster character/story development

- Uninspiring overall visual style

- Forgettable soundtrack



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Score: 5.5 / 10


Greek mythology is, arguably, one of the cornerstones of storytelling in the Western world.  If you looked hard enough, you could probably pick up references even in everyday conversation that indirectly relate to Greek myth.  More recently, the God of War series has given gamers a view of Greek myth that's probably closer in tone to the original stories of vainglorious mortals and pride-punishing deities than anything yet seen.  But if God of War is the benchmark for how to use the tropes and materials of Greek myth effectively in a game setting, then Legendary is an equally telling example of how not to make use of that material.


legendary          legendary


From a visual perspective, it's hard to find much in the way of fault with Legendary.  The Unreal engine on the PS3 has demonstrated time and again that it's a match made in heaven.  Textures are well done, models are highly detailed, it's just does not seem possible to go wrong with the combination.  Given the




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apocalyptic nature of the game, there's a lot of smoke and fire, arcing electricity, and plenty of gore, all of which is rendered beautifully.  There wasn't any particular point I can recall where there was any sort of slowdown, graphic artifacts, or clipping issues.  It's all technically well executed.  The flaw, I think, is that the overall visual style is so damn dull.  New York City


getting trashed by big angry monsters shouldn't look worn out.  The little touches like a cop struggling to avoid being yanked out of an office building by an off-camera gryphon or the surprise of a hapless bystander getting ambushed by a werewolf shouldn't make the rest of the environment feel so lifeless.  And yet, that's how it falls out.  All hell's breaking loose in the Big Apple and despite all the screaming and property damage, it just feels ho-hum.


Audio seems to be very much a mixed bag.  Again, the technical stuff sounds great.  Sound effects are clear and well executed.  The voice actors are understandable.  It's the creative stuff that fails to impress.  The music is completely forgettable, a cardinal sin if you're trying to conjure up the feeling of an epic, or even just a really strong action movie.  While the voice actors are easily heard, the actual quality of dialog is worse than mediocre, and there seems to be just a lack of energy from the cast.  There's a feeling they're going through the motions.  Urgency comes out forced, malevolence comes out as parody, it all falls flat.


legendary          legendary


In an FPS, gameplay is pretty simple.  Get from point A to point B, kill things, repeat.  The mechanics are a no-brainer and it's something that the Unreal engine does with ease.  Weapon management is easily handled with the D-pad, while movement and camera controls are handled with the analog sticks.  Jumping is a bit of a hassle, but nothing wildly outrageous for a console setup.  The checkpoint system ensures you won't be going through giant chunks of a level all over again, though the checkpoint placement seems a little erratic in spots.  The environments, while not totally destructible, certainly have opportunities for the player to interact in ways more meaningful than just flipping the switch to open the door.  There are no quick-time events such as you find in God of War or other games, which is a big plus since it keeps you in the action constantly.  There's a very clever reward system for killing enemies which also kills the need to be on the lookout for health packs or other healing devices.  It's a perfectly serviceable FPS from every technical standpoint.  Unfortunately, the action is tepid.  There's never the sense that you have to keep moving because you're in danger, or that you have to dig further into the mystery.  The characters are uninspired and evoke only enough loyalty to keep them alive because you can't progress if they die.  The plot sounds like it could very easily have come from a Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie.  It's regrettable that the execution of the plot can't seem to transcend the premise.  In the end, you just can't seem to give a damn.  So New York gets trashed and secret societies battle it out for supremacy.  Been there, done that.


When you mix technical brilliance with mediocre story and character elements, you end up with a game that's not necessarily one you'd want to own.  It'd be probably work well for a rental, but much like a Sci-Fi Channel Original, Legendary isn't something you'd want to admit to having played.


- Axel Cushing

(February 2, 2009)


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