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Legendary review

£29 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Spark Unlimited

Since you can't fend off leprosy with a rifle, Legendary accommodates its market by switching the unleashed evils of the mythological Pandora's Box from "illness and disease" to "bloodthirsty canines and murderous poultry".

Since you can't fend off leprosy with a rifle, Legendary accommodates its market by switching the unleashed evils of the mythological Pandora's Box from "illness and disease" to "bloodthirsty canines and murderous poultry".

But nothing kills a kickass buzz like busted game mechanics, and Legendary is packed to the brim with unforgivable flaws that ruin an otherwise awesome experience.

Waiting for the turning point

When hired thief Charles Deckard is duped in to opening Pandora's Box on a routine heist, his hand is branded by the scarring signet of Pandora, and history's most haunting fairytale creatures are set free to start the apocalypse.

It's not all bad though; the seared seal imbues Charles with the ability to absorb Animus energy, the spectral sauce that flows from fallen foes, allowing him to restore health and stun baddies.

As Deckard, you'll slay the horde of mythical monstrosities in an attempt to clean up the mess of minotaurs, griffons, werewolves and other creatures ravaging Earth - but all of this awesome originality is overshadowed by the decade-old design philosophies that Legendary is founded on.

Sadly, enemies frequently get stuck in walls and the AI humans are as brilliant as the wall they're shooting at; the embarrassingly linear level design has alternate routes blocked by toppled chairs or ankle-high piles of rubble, and taxis funnel you from the streets to the sole safe area of the city, while highlighted objectives - security panels that need rewiring, cranks that need turning and rocks that need pushing - fluorescently glow green and flash "press the action button" text.

Worst of all, bodies disappear immediately after being shot down or hacked with a fireman's axe, as does any remnant of fire, cracked glass or arterial spray. These antiquated issues plagued Spark's last game, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. Granted, it's a step above the muddled mess of glitches and bugs that made Fall of Liberty a completely broken nightmare, but Legendary still feels dated.

Since this is a first person shooter you might expect the weapons to carry a little bit of weight, but repeated bursts of machine gun fire often aren't enough to take down your standard soldier, if you manage to hit them at all - like Turning Point before it, perfect shots sometimes don't register, making the core gameplay completely imprecise.

And when you eventually make your mark the only reaction you'll get is the same single death animation. Legendary just screams of having been planned on a ten-year-old design document, and this in the age of BioShock, Call of Duty 4 and Crysis. Worse, with just one multiplayer mode - a creative one, though: teams race to fill a node with Animus energy by hunting NPC werewolves - the online is a missed opportunity.

Legendary: Blockbusting

In spite of Legendary's failings, it still had me wanting to finish it. The story predominantly plays out through a series of stellar scripted set pieces across eight one-hour-each chapters. The sensation of chaos is rampant, thrilling you every step of the way; watching the golem titan crush cars beneath its feet as it demolishes Times Square is exhilarating, as is seeing a Kraken use its tentacles to rip London's parliament to shreds.

Griffons taking down choppers, werewolves munching on human heads and minotaurs smashing walls with stone... Legendary never stops being badass! Fighting each of the creatures is fun and frightening, briefly making you forget how flustered you were with the last inconvenient checkpoint.

But by the time the credits roll and you've got a taste of the possible happenings of a potentially spectacular sequel, you'll be as satisfied as you are agitated. Fundamental problems and an archaic approach to design bring the enjoyment down a notch, but the epic cinematic surroundings and fresh enemies to fight balance things out, saving Legendary from being an abomination like Turning Point.

Related articles:

PlayStation 3 review

Xbox 360 review

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Legendary Expert Verdict »
Microsoft Xbox 360
Windows PC
Sony PlayStation 3

Legendary is wounded by glitches, aged design philosophies, clunky shooting, and agonizing linearity, but its cinematic hook and variety of original enemies will keep you trudging along just to see the next unbelievable event.

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