Legends are typically the result of an amazing moment in history which is so memorable that the story ends up outliving anyone who was actually involved. As the tale passes from one person to another and eventually one generation to the next, facts begin to change, embellishments are added, and very little that remains even vaguely resembles the actual event that spawned it.
Instead, all that you are left with is perhaps a few nuggets of genuine truth buried underneath an enormous compilation of all the legend’s previous tellers’ imaginations. In this context, the name Legendary seems incredibly appropriate for this game, as it feels like a shooter that clearly takes inspiration from almost every other that has come before it, except for the few original elements hidden within that desperate attempt to keep it unique.
The story in Legendary clearly borrows from many current shooters such as Halo, Resistance, Gears of War, and many others. The standard formula is present, countless aliens/creatures have come from fill-in-the-blank and it is up to you to stop them and save humanity. The thing that attempts to keep this derivative recipe interesting is that in Legendary, they are mythological creatures running loose in the modern day world after being set free from Pandora’s Box. While this does make for an interesting setting for a first-person shooter, the story as a whole is in fact very short, uninteresting, predictable, and full of a mindboggling amount of clichés. To make matters worse, most of the story is delivered using still pictures and narration from a female character with a thick English accent, another clear nod to Resistance.
Legendary seems to be at its best in its first level. After the game’s main character Charles Deckard unwittingly opens Pandora’s Box and receives a signet on his hand to mark the occasion, pandemonium breaks loose. As you attempt to make your way out of the museum that housed the artifact and down the city streets to safety, countless characters are cinematically ripped to shreds and mutilated by a mixture of griffons and an enormous golem comprised entirely of building debris and demolished vehicles. As you run through a linear maze of vehicles to make your escape, the griffons continue attacking citizens in often humorous ways ranging from quick decapitations to grasping onto them and flying away, while the skulking golem remains ever present.
This is a truly great scene in the game, the only problem being that Legendary is supposed to be a game, which inherently implies the ability to interact with it. All of these events are entirely scripted, leaving the player in no actual danger. You can come to a full stop in the road and just watch the destruction without fear of reprisal. Even after you’ve acquired a weapon or two, attempting to save these citizens or damage any of the vicious griffons is a completely futile endeavor, since you are completely unable to interact with these foes. While this scene was enjoyable to walk through and watch, there could have at least been the slightest illusion given that what you were doing actually had some influence on what was transpiring.
In the game’s defense, only the very first part of the game ignores the player so entirely. As the game progresses, these scripted events are indeed everywhere but they are better integrated into the gameplay experience instead of just being used as a substitute for it. While playing, you are likely to see random characters being pulled through doorways by unknown forces, enemy soldiers grabbed by tentacles never to return, and even nearby subway cars crashing and coming to rest on their sides. These kinds of events, while occurring a little too frequently, do actually add a sense of unease and spontaneity to the game that is very welcome and usually quite entertaining.
Sadly, the same can’t be said about Legendary’s gameplay. The gunplay found in the game is sloppy at best and regularly suffers from poor hit detection. Hitting a human enemy directly in the face with a bullet should put them out of commission, and sometimes it actually does. However, other times your foes won’t even react as though they’ve been hit at all. This matter becomes all the more frustrating when you are constantly getting in battles that mix enemy soldiers and mythological creatures at the same time.
The worst offender has to be the werewolf, as they are the creature you will encounter the most during your time with the game. While usually being picked apart by distant gunfire, werewolves will often attack you at close range using their claws. This makes aiming next to impossible until you dispatch with your hairy adversaries. Regrettably, this is often an incredibly difficult task for all the wrong reasons. Werewolves will continue to rise from their proverbial graves unless they are beheaded. Sometimes you will get lucky with your gunfire, instantly beheading your attacker. If not, you must attempt to down the creature and then decapitate it with your trusty axe before it gets back to its feet with fully refilled health. Attempting to take off a werewolf’s head with the axe is a very hit and miss scenario, requiring anywhere between one to an infinite number of swings. Hitting the beast in the neck may work one time and not the next and targeting the head results in similar “will it-won’t it” frustrations.
Making matters worse is the game’s needlessly difficult health system. There are no health packs to be found in Legendary. Instead, players will need to collect energy from killing the creatures released from Pandora’s Box and store it in the signet in their arm. Once accumulated, this energy can be used to heal yourself or for a few other purposes such as performing this game’s equivalent of a force push or feeding it into different machines. Unfortunately, collecting this energy, using it, and the force push maneuver all utilize the same button. Expect to die several times solely because the game decides you are trying to collect energy instead of healing yourself in the face of the almost constant horde of respawning enemies.
While the gameplay found in Legendary is incredibly sloppy and repetitive, the game does get some things right. Boss battles such as the ones with the kraken and the junk golem are epic in scale and quite entertaining. Numerous scripted events add to the cinematic feel of the game and also serve to keep you alert at all times. However, neither of these things can make up for the game’s fairly lame story, repetitive and annoying combat, poor hit detection, and completely minute and tacked-on multiplayer offering. There are just way too many better shooters available to make this game worth your time and money. If you choose to rent this title or find it in a bargain bin down the road, it can provide some cheap thrills, just don’t expect a top-notch shooter by any means.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.0 Graphics
While the creature models and somewhat destructible environments all look fairly respectable, bugs such as enemies becoming trapped in walls is par for the course. 2.2 Control
Shoddy hit detection, wonky aiming, and using the same button for both healing and collecting energy make playing Legendary more painful than it needs to be. 2.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
While the music is very action oriented, it is also fairly generic rock that doesn’t seem to fit the theme of the game. 2.5 Play Value
This game gets incredibly repetitive despite its short length, leaving the extremely limited and tacked on multiplayer as your only reason to keep playing. Legendary can be somewhat fun for around four or five hours, after that there is just nothing left. 2.5 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.