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Score: 50%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Gamecock Media
Developer: Spark Unlimited
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1; 2 - 8 (Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:
I'd be hard-pressed to find an FPS that forces linearity on players more than Legendary. Granted, most shooters follow some sort of linear path through levels, but the difference between most shooters and Legendary is that it makes little attempt to even try and create the illusion that you're in a bigger space. This is understandable in buildings, but in the open streets, you had better believe it's an issue.

It's probably a good thing that you can't wander very far off the narrow path, otherwise you would probably get lost. From a technical standpoint, levels look good. At the same time, there's a noticeable lack of variety, so you'll feel like you're going in circles throughout most of your ten-hour adventure. Subway tunnels, debris-covered streets... name the concrete-covered environment and you'll find it here.

Despite it's deficiencies, Legendary has its bright points. Character models look pretty good and the monsters look excellent. There are also some really nice special effects going on in each level that help to sell the idea that the world is magically going to pot. Enemies die with a satisfying puff of energy and there's lots of debris and dust around you. The downside to the effects is the slowdown they cause, particularly when there are a lot of them on screen.

Both the voicework and background music are passable. I've heard better, but I've also heard worse. The soundtrack is composed mostly of guitar riffs and other rock sounds that kick up a few seconds before the action.

Another of Legendary's stumbling blocks is its non-commitment to its premise. The set-up is great; Pandora's Box is opened, spilling its supernatural contents all over modern day New York. A few missions in, however, another organization is introduced as your primary foe, regaling the werewolves, griffons and other mythological beasts to amusing sidekicks. You'll end up fighting more troops than minotaurs, which is a shame since fighting mythological enemies is infinitely more appealing. Beasts have a certain "trick" that you need to exploit to defeat them, which is just a little different than the point-and-shoot gameplay that makes up a bulk of the experience. The system isn't perfect and can get really frustrating, but it's still something different and with a little more focus could have been a standout feature.

The commitment to story is another downer. Again, the concept is great, but the pacing and storytelling are completely mishandled. At times, it feels like Legendary is trying to bring too much into its narrative without fully considering how they interact with each other or add to the overall journey. Just sticking to the box opening would have been a good premise; but when you start throwing secret societies into the mix, it becomes cumbersome. The actual mystery and pacing is suspect as well. Plot points are obvious and the ending, which sets up a sequel, lacks closure.

The concept behind Multiplayer is interesting, but underdeveloped. The mode pits two four-man squads in a battle to capture energy from werewolves, allowing you to eventually take control of them. It's entertaining for the first couple of plays, but with only four maps and a lack of people to play with, it is forgettable.

Unless you're facing werewolves, killing enemies isn't much of a problem. Soldiers will usually go down after a few hits from your weapon of choice, while you need to exercise your brain to figure out how to kill mythical enemies. How much exercise you'll need varies; some solutions are painfully obvious, while others are easy to figure out but tough to make happen. Werewolves are particularly troublesome. They're relentless in their pursuit and the only way to kill them is to remove their heads.

Most encounters are telegraphed well ahead of time. If the music doesn't clue you in that something is going on, the noticeable triggers will. Once you begin to recognize clues, you can actually bypass some combat situations.

Game Mechanics:
Even if you kill everything that crosses your path, you will still have enough ammo left over to supply a small army. Every weapon in the game comes loaded with a small munitions pile worth of ammo. The only way to run out is if you decide to blindly fire your weapon or decide the air in front of you really needs to die. On the plus side, at least the weapons selection is fun and makes sense. Every weapon has its place in different situations, so you're not just picking up the most powerful weapon.

Once enemies are dead, they leave behind energy that you can absorb using a mark on your hand. Collecting energy allows you to heal or perform other feats such as a telekinetic push. You can also use the energy to power up other devices, mostly during the light puzzle sections. Like so many of Legendary's features, energy-based powers add an interesting twist to gameplay, but aren't developed into anything other than a quick bullet-point feature.

Legendary has enough interesting concepts that it could have been a really cool shooter. However, these elements are left underdeveloped and tossed to the side in favor of ho-hum shooter elements.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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