Version Played: Xbox 360
Current CEX Price: £2
I’ve always had quite a substantial interest in Greek mythology, which was sparked – somewhat narcissistically – by the realisation that my name featured quite prominently in the ancient stories. It’s quite fitting, as my parents confirmed long ago that I was named after the leader of the Argonauts.
I’ve covered similar ground in the Bargain Bin before, with the 300-esque, hyper-violent swords and sandals epic Rise of the Argonauts – but Legendary is different, what with it being set in the present day. The premise here is an intriguing one; professional thief Charles Deckard – your character – is hired to steal a mysterious artifact from a New York museum, unaware that the relic in question is Pandora’s Box. Somewhat unwittingly, he opens the box and unleashes a tsunami of mythological creatures upon the world – as well as granting himself magical powers.
While the plot is somewhat unique, given its mythological creatures rampaging through urban environments in the present day – with the creatures themselves also being really impressively designed and animated – the game itself is a bit of a letdown. It’s yet another of those generic-looking Unreal Engine-powered FPS games that flooded consoles in the late 00s; moment to moment gameplay also feels very linear as you’re generally funnelled down corridor-like areas even when out in the open. It’s reasonably competent in terms of the action it offers, but there’s nothing here that you won’t have seen many, many times before in far more satisfyingly designed games.
Adding to the frustrating and transparently restrictive nature of the design is Deckard’s terribly weedy jump, which stops him from getting over all but the tiniest of obstacles and obstructions in the levels. A sprint does assist with this, but only with gaps and obstacles you’re being funnelled towards. Though the environment looks impressively expansive, it’s not one you’re able to explore at any great length.
Something else I noticed that seems to be very prominent in games of this era is the violence; it’s pretty bloody and dark for a game with such an outlandishly silly premise – I found even Gears itself to be unintentionally amusing in how OTT the violence was and the same could be said here, with the uber-serious tone clashing with the campy plot.
Worth a punt at Bargain Bin prices? It pains me to say it, but I don’t think it is. Though I admire the imagination in the Greek myth/secret society plot, it’s ultimately a fairly generic-feeling FPS with the odd nice touch in how you defeat the creatures of legend. The desaturated, dull visuals – common to Unreal Engine games of the era – works against what should be a colourful array of antagonists and the somewhat linear gameplay is definitely a downer. I covered Darksiders recently, which has a similarly fantastical premise – and set in an modern day environment too – albeit with a lot more visual pizazz, and for half the price as well, currently.
Is it unfair to compare the two games, given the different game styles? Perhaps – but there are also many FPS games out there for Xbox 360 (that you can get for pennies at this stage), with much more satisfying gameplay. The premise alone and presence of the mythical beasts should have been enough to guarantee Legendary a Bargain Bin recommendation, but it all feels like a massive missed opportunity. It’s a real shame and a big disappointment for me, given the wasted potential – and my own, personal interest in the subject matter.
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