SONY PSP REVIEW: UNTOLD LEGENDS: THE WARRIOR'S CODE

Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code is more Gauntlet than Dungeons and Dragons. There is more focus on online co-op multi-player and less randomly-generated dungeons - but is it for you? by Colin Thames

April 7, 2006 - The Warrior's Code assumes that you like hacking, slashing and button mashing. You had better, because there is a lot of it. Fortunately there is a tighter storyline to accompany the action, which gives you some motivation and deepens the overall experience. There are still plenty of dungeons to crawl through, treasures to discover, experience points to gain and skills to level-up, but compared to the last Untold Legends game, Brotherhood of the Blade, these elements are balanced to seem more natural.

The kingdom of another fantasy realm is under attack. In this story an evil entity has assumed the throne of the kingdom with the aid of his legion of demons. While terror is the order of the day, the evil emperor needs to recruit as many powerful subjects as possible. For this he turns to the race of shape-shifters. Those that do not pledge their allegiance to the emperor are summarily executed. But there are those that will use their powers to fight for what is right. You assume the role of one of these mighty shape-shifting warriors as you prepare to take on the hordes of murderous monsters and restore peace in the kingdom.

Before you begin your adventure you must create your character. There are several different classes to choose from in addition to different cosmetic choices such as hairstyle, hair color, skin tone, wardrobe and accessories. The five different classes include guardian, mercenary, disciple, scout and prowler. For those that may be unaware of the various classes all of these are warriors, but they differ in their strengths and weaknesses. You have to be careful to pick the right class depending on your experience with such games. The guardian is big and cumbersome but is great at melee combat and can withstand a lot of attacks. The disciple is a mage that is best at casting spells. The scout is fast and uses speed to her advantage. She is considered an archer and is great with ranged weapons though she cannot take much damage.

Mashing the X button is the key to successful combat. The developers have added a couple of features designed to take the monotony out of the continual button mashing. A meter-charged attack can be implemented by holding down the X button, instead of mashing it, and filling up an attack meter. When you release the meter, the stored up energy will unleash a more concentrated, devastating attack in one swoop. Another attack variation is the Attack of Opportunity which can be used when a more powerful enemy attempts to strike and misses the mark. You have a very short window in which to press the square button to charge the attack and then strike the vulnerable area that the enemy has left open for you. This is a particularly powerful move and is typically the deciding factor in a battle.

With a new engine, the graphics are superior to Brotherhood of the Blade. Gone are the blurs and ghost traces left by quick-moving characters. While the backgrounds are crisp, the character models still lack detail which is disappointing when it comes to combat since they don't display much reaction when taking a hit. When intertwined in battle they can be difficult to see.

The interface is streamlined and easy to use. Your inventory of weapons and items are neatly stacked in rows that are very user-friendly to access. You don't have to scroll endlessly to find something that you want. Traveling is also more convenient. With the aid of the handy map you can teleport to any location instantly.

Multi-player options are many and varied. You can play a two-player co-op game using the Ad Hock Wireless system or you can set up a local area LAN system in which four players can take part in a series of multi-player games such as Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Last Man Standing along with some team variations. If that's not enough you can also play these modes online. At the time of this review I only found one other person to play with online but hopefully that will change as this game really gives you bang for your buck.

I like the balance of elements in this game. It may be a little top heavy on the hack-and-slash but that's fine with me. There is plenty of redundancy with similar looking environments, endless combat and the continual smashing of crates but the game has a comforting, mindlessness to it that makes time fly.

Features:

  • New Playable Characters: Four shape-changing player character types featuring enhanced customization and a wider variety of enhanced animations.
  • Enhanced 3D Game Engine: Featuring enhanced graphics, special effects and lighting with MP3 music support.
  • All-New Online Multiplayer Mode: Featuring story-driven 2 player co-op play seamlessly integrated with the single player game and new combat-focused player vs. player battles for up to four players.
  • Evolutionary Strategic Combat Engine: Experience action-RPG combat through an upgraded engine featuring a wider variety of moves and special abilities, dynamic attacks and all the intensity of fast hack-n-slash action.
  • Epic Storyline: Play through five exciting chapters with dramatic in-game cinematics, voiceovers and movie clips.
  • Enhanced Quest System: Challenge yourself with a wider variety of quest types and better Quest Journal.
  • Environments: More than 45 areas featuring interactive objects, devious traps, destructible walls and ambient creatures.
  • Unique Monsters: Experience 12 massive boss battles and more than 40 unique monsters with improved AI.
  • All-New Animated User Interface: A completely new UI includes multiple control schemes, enhanced mini-map and world map with fog of war and streamlined inventory, skill trees and quick menu options.
  • Fully Integrated Mini-Games: Play through six all-new mini games including in-game gambling and multiplayer activities.
  • Enhanced Item System: Collect and utilize a wider variety of items and enhancements, and store in an all new item stash.
  • Unlockable Content: Unlock alternate appearances for all four changeling forms, the making-of Untold Legends II video, single level walkthrough with developer commentary, concept art gallery and stand-alone mini-games.

By Colin Thames
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code (PSP)
3.1
Graphics
There are plenty of recycled textures that are guaranteed to give you déjà vu. The character models could use more detail.
4.2
Control
As long as you like repetitive hack-and-slash you'll love this game. There are some nice magic variations that you can add to your weapons..
2.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The audio portions of the game are decent but we've heard it all before. It's getting tired.
3.5
Play Value
The multi-player modes are a welcome addition. They are not just tacked on, but takes the gameplay to another level.
3.3
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PSP
Dev: Sony
Pub: Sony
Release: Mar 2006
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Colin

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best