Legendary is one of those games that seems like it was created for me. It combines fantasy monsters and lots of guns to create a modern-day first-person shooter that takes on the creatures of Greek myth.
Wait, did I say Greek myth? Where did you get that idea? Oh, probably from the notion that Charles Deckard opens Pandora’s Box (which is, you know, Greek) and unleashes: griffons, minotaurs, werewolves, firedrakes, Nari (evil little pixies), Tscuhigomo’s Children (spiders that explode), a golem, a kraken, and poltergeists. Minotaurs and griffons make perfect sense in a Greek setting. You could make an argument that the myth of Lycaeon places werewolves in Greek mythology. The firedrakes are modeled after the mythical salamander, a myth that harkens all the way back to the Talmud. But the rest? The rest is an excuse to throw monsters at you to blow up.
My delicate historical sensibility aside, Legendary is still a peculiar beast. Deckard’s supposedly a jewel thief, but his lock-picking skill consists of standing at electrical panels and waiting for a counter to finish so the door opens. It seems like there was supposed to be a lock-picking mini-game that didn’t make it into the finished product.
Deckard also has the ability to absorb energy from every monster he kills. This allows him to heal, shoot a burst of energy at his opponents, and power certain gadgets to defeat bigger monsters like the golem and the kraken. Reminiscent of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, this “kill more to survive” game mechanic is only slightly less forgiving.
Every game has a developer’s favorite monster, the one that the designers clearly put a lot of thought into, sometimes to the exclusion of the actual focus of the game. In F.E.A.R. it was the amazingly life-like, intelligent, and vulgar clone soldiers. In Legendary, it’s the werewolves. They climb, they throw stuff from afar, they regenerate unless you chop their heads off, and they’re hideous-looking. You will learn to hate werewolves with a passion in Legendary.
What’s curious about Legendary is that it wants to be a horror game. There are several scenes wherein everyday citizens are torn apart by the supernatural horrors unleashed by Pandora’s box, right before your very eyes. Which seems a bit out of place for a game about mythical creatures taking over the world. Given the range of monstrosities foisted on thus in most modern horror games, a man being eaten by an eagle/lion isn’t all that scary.
Legendary is pretty linear too. You can only shoot the bad guys you’re allowed to shoot (no putting those civilians out of their misery!). You can only go in the designated areas not blocked off by debris, which is everywhere of course. And you can’t jump. Period.
The ending has to be the most hilarious, over-the-top, death scene of a villain ever. Assuming you even make it to the end (spoiler alert!), you will have the distinct pleasure of watching the main villain killed in a Rube Goldberg-ian game of monster volleyball, with each monster mangling and then tossing the bad guy off to the next until he it tossed over a ledge…and then bounces on the way down!
This isn’t a bad first-person shooter, merely a mediocre one trying to compete with superior action horror titles.
For more info: See the Official Legendary web site.