When I first bought Legendary, I bought it in a “2 for $25” deal with the Collector’s Edition of the 2008 Alone in the Dark game fairly soon after they both got released. Looking back at it, it was a pretty obvious sign as to the quality of both games. Alone in the Dark might have been the bigger disappointment, but Legendary was definitely the worse game.
Legendary is a FPS that was released in 2008 for the 360, PS3, and PC. Previously known as Legendary: The Box, the game was developed by Spark Unlimited, who had only developed 5 games before they were shut down. While they did release the well received Call of Duty: Finest Hours, the released a few middle of the road games, such as Lost Planet 3, Yaiba: Nina Gaiden Z, and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, which is another game that I should get to.
You play as Charles Deckard, a professional thief hired by a name called Orlando LaFey to steal an artifact from a New York museum, which turns out to be the real Pandora’s Box. Deckard opens the box with a key given to him, and after putting his hand into a clearly marked part of the box, he unwittingly opens to box and unleashes numerous mythological creatures into the world. In doing so, Deckard inherits a strange power in his left hand known as the Signet.
The initial premise for Legendary is a pretty good one. Having to fight of mythological creatures from destroying the world with modern weapons and technology on an epic scale is a great concept, and could have lead to encounters on a large scale. But unfortunately, Legendary did not have the budget to make something on that scale.
Right from the outset the games low budget is pretty obvious. The graphics are a mix bag at best. There are a few times where the game has a half decent sense of scale. Right at the beginning, the game shows what potential had. After unleashing chaos unto the world, you go from the museum to the streets of New York, and you see Griffons flying through the air, attacking people on the street, and flinging cars around. After walking through the city going to hell, you see a giant skyscraper sized golem form out of the debris of the surrounding destroyed buildings before it makes its way through New York.
Almost literally after this, the game nosedives in quality. You’ll find yourself spending a good portion of the game going through hallways and absolutely tiny arenas to fight enemies. On occasion, there will be something slightly impressive in terms of scale, or there will be something off in the distance that is kinda nice to look at, but the games load was blown in the first 15 minutes. Plus the entire game has that brownish muddy look that a lot of lower budget Unreal Engine 3 games have, so most of the game is unappealing to look at.
The gameplay itself is your stock standard FPS gameplay, most of the game is running and gunning. Most of the boss battles are you taking down a slightly larger enemy with higher hit points or shooting its weak point. The only standout gameplay feature is your ability to use an energy called Animus.
Animus doubles as this games “health packs” by allowing you to absorb Animus from dead enemies into a limited reserve that you can use to heal yourself. You can also send out a blast Animus energy to stun enemies, so you have to stigmatize your reserve of Animus energy.
Enemies have just enough variation to them both visually, using and gameplay wise that they aren’t just tougher versions of each other. Werewolves are probably the most fun, and they’re the most generic of enemies. Werewolves can feign death, so the properly way to kill them is to shoot their heads off.
Firedrakes are heavily armored lizards that shoot fire. They infinitely spawn out of fire pits that you have to put out with a large amount of water through broken pipes or sprinklers by turning on a nearby valve. Nani, which are pixy looking creatures that fly around and switch between intangible and tangible, attacking you while tangible. They don’t do much damage, but they’re always in groups and attack together.
Probably the most annoying enemy are the Tsuchichmo’s Children, nicknamed “Blood Spiders.”, that are bright red from all the blood that they’ve consumed. They’re easy to see, but they infinitely spawn out of giant organic sacks and they swarm you. Unlike the Nani, they more frustrating because they’re harder to aim at and kill.
There is one enemy that appears very briefly, called the Echidna. Literally the only time you see it/them is wen you’re going through the sewers under New York when you get attacked by testicles. For half a second i thought they might have been the Kraken before it got big, but after doing some reading, it’s a completely different enemy. Guess it was just another thing on the chopping block.
The larger more bullet spongy enemies include the Minotaurs and Griffons. And the two boss battles include the Golem and the Kraken. Taking the Golem down requires powering up several EMP machines that blast it with a large amount of energy, and the Kraken is a “hit the enemies weak spot for massive damage” enemy where you have to shoot rockets into it’s mouth.
Pretty much all of the weapons are cliched FPS weapons. Handguns, assault rifles/sub-machine guns, shotguns, throwable explosives including Molotov Cocktails and Grenades, a rocket launcher to take out larger enemies quickly, a flamethrower that i never used, and a fire axe as a melee weapon. Yet again, the closest to having something unique is the Signet permanently in your hand, which can shoot a blast of energy that can kill smaller enemies, such as the Blood Spiders, and knock over larger enemies.
Legendary was barely passable to begin with, and while it had some mildly interesting things such as the enemies being from mythology and the mix of mythology and modern military, there are several things that drag it from being close mediocre to being terrible. The checkpoint system is poorly thought out. You can end up going minutes at a time without hitting a checkpoint, and if you die, you end up going back several minutes. It’s frustrating if you’re playing the game for more than 30 minutes at a time.
The controls on the PC aren’t changeable if you’re using a keyboard and mouse. The Xbox 360 controller has several control schemes to choose from, but that’s about it. You have to go into the games files and start modifying stuff to get the controls you want. Half the time i kept hitting the CTRL key meaning to crouch but kept bringing up the PDA instead.
Speaking of the PDA, the game has collectables in the form of PDA’s that you pick up throughout the game by going slightly out of the way. Pretty much any information on the creatures you’re fighting is in these PDAs. Surprisingly, the main character has the time to put down his thoughts down in the PDA despite being in the middle of combat.
If for some reason, you want to pick this game up, watch out for the PC version. Right before the final boss fight, you’re supposed to take an elevator up to the top of a building. But because the PC version is running at a higher framerate than both the console versions, you fall out of the elevator and the world. The only way to solve this is to go into one of the files and modify a couple of things. So unless you’re willing to fiddle around in the files, don’t buy this version.
Legendary is a frustratingly annoying game that tries to capitalize on it’s premise, but once you get past that it doesn’t have anything going for it. If you want to buy this and add it to your collection of terrible video games, go for the 360 or PS3 versions, since the PC version is absolutely broken. For everyone else, avoid at all cost.