By Steve Baltimore / March 10th, 2016
|Title||Arslan: The Warriors of Legend|
|Release Date||February 9th, 2016|
|Genre||Hack and Slash|
|Platform||PS3, PS4, Steam, XBox One|
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is a Musou style beat-em-up game based on the The Heroic Legend of Arslan manga and anime. While I knew nothing about the series going into the game, I was drawn in by the amazing art style and I’m always a sucker for a good Musou game. Is this one as good as it looks, or just another run of the mill beat-em-up? Let’s find out!
The story follows the story of the young prince of Pars named Arslan. His country has been invaded by the neighboring country of Lusitania after his father falls for a devious scheme. Arslan sets out on a journey to take back his country with his loyal servant Daryun. As they travel they gain more allies, such as the outcast tactician named Arsus and his young servant Elam, Gievea who is a drifting con-man, and others. They will have to work together to overcome insurmountable odds and defeat the Lusitania army lead by the mysterious “Silvermask”.
I found the story to be very interesting and full of twists and turns. Dealing with such issues as love, betrayal and questioning if you can truly hand someone freedom, there is never a dull moment here. I knew nothing about this franchise going into this game. I have to admit I was bit lost in the beginning, but by the end of the game I felt I had a pretty good understanding of everything going on in this world. I will likely check out the manga and anime series sometime in the near future.
I love the art style in this title. Fantastic anime style cut scenes that blend seamlessly into the cell shaded gameplay sequences. This is what really attracted me to this title when I first saw it and the final product didn’t disappoint me at all. The character modes are fairly detailed and are very pleasing to the eye. The environments are a bit of a mixed bag. While some look really great, others seem a bit plain. The framerate is very smooth on the PS4 and very rarely slows down even with hordes of enemies on the screen.
Any good Musou game has to have a great soundtrack to add to the overall experience, and thankfully Arslan: The Warriors of Legend delivers. The battle themes sound like something you would hear when an epic battle was going on in a fantasy movie. They really pumped me up to fight, and immersed me in the epic battles playing out on the screen. The other more sober tracks that play during emotional cutscenes are just as impressive. Overall this is one the best OSTs I’ve heard in a quite a while. The Japanese VA work is top notch and if you’ve seen the anime I believe this is the same voice cast. There is no English dub for this title.
There are three different game modes available – Story Mode, Free Mode, and Online Mode. You will want to play Story Mode first to unlock more characters and scenarios for Free Mode. The Online Mode works pretty well. You can play either Free Mode or Story mode online with friends and everything ran pretty smoothly in the few Scenarios I checked out.
While the gameplay may look like your typical Dynasty Warriors affair there are some striking differences here. You will still be pressing Square to attack and throwing in Triangle to perform different combos, but this time around your weapons have different arts. The arts will change the elemental properties of your weapon and this can be really helpful in boss battles. Arts will be learned as your weapon mastery increases and each weapon will have several different ones to choose from. Each character will have two or three different weapons to choose from as well.
Just like in Dynasty Warriors you will be given many objectives to complete during battles, but this time things are a bit different. You will be ranked by how many KO’s you rack up and how fast you can complete each objective. Your overall rank at the end will net you a skill card of the same rank. The only issue I had with this is the same one I’ve had with these types of games for years. The path finding can be a pain at times, making it take longer than it should to complete an objective. Something else that is unique to this title is the Mardan Rush. This is where your entire army attacks a single point all at the same time. You can trigger these via the giant blue circles that appear on the map. These attacks can occur on foot, cavalry, or with archers depending on which scenario you are playing. You can press the square button during these attacks to use a special attack to gain even more chain hits for a bigger bonus.
One other big change to combat is boss characters and some officers now have shields. You will have to break their shield before you can deal any damage. You do this by simply attacking them and while this doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, most boss characters do you quite a bit of damage, so this makes fighting certain ones a bit of a chore. Using combos and certain elements will take much of this pain away. You can also use the environment in certain boss fights. Sometimes this will be a stack of logs, torches, or rocks. If you can lure the enemy into these areas and trigger them, they will help you out quite a bit. My only issue here was when I knocked the boss back he flew into an area I couldn’t enter while stunned. This happened more often than it should have.
The last thing I would like to talk about is the skill cards. You can equip these cards to boost certain character stats. What makes this even more interesting is you can collect certain sets of cards for even greater stat boosts. You can also take unwanted cards and synthesize them into new cards. You can combine up to 10 cards at a time. You will need to spend some gold to combine the cards, and the more gold you spend the better the result will be.
I enjoyed my time with Arslan: The Warriors of Legend. The story was a bit confusing at first but by the end of the game I felt like I knew a lot more about this world and the characters that live in it. The combat is fun and different enough that you don’t feel like your playing Dynasty Warriors with a new skin. The Story Mode will take you around 15 hours to complete and you can replay any scenario with characters of your choosing in Free Mode to add additional playtime. This one will run $59.99 and if you are a fan of these types of games, I think you will be very pleased with it.
The PlayStation 4 version was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
animeArslan: The Warriors of LegendKoei TecmomangaMusouOmega Force