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Griffins, Werewolves, and Gamecocks, Oh My

Here's some impressions of mythological shooter Legendary, coming soon from Gamecock and Spark Unlimited.

Griffins are pretty metal, you must admit.
I wanted to get excited about the mythologically themed first-person shooter Legendary when I first heard about it last year. The premise sounds neat enough: you're a cat burglar who's sprung Pandora's Box and loosed all its unpleasantness on the poor unsuspecting world, so now you've got to trot the globe and deal with it.

But Legendary's developer, Spark Unlimited, hasn't posted the best track record in its short lifespan. Neither of its past two first-person shooters--the last-gen Call of Duty installment Finest Hour or this year's alternate-history World War II game Turning Point: Fall of Liberty--were worth much attention (or so says the review mill; I didn't play them). Turning Point leaned on its own unique what-if premise, in which the victorious Germans steered their path of conquest straight into the United States via an invasion of 1950s New York. An interesting setup didn't excuse Turning Point's bland plotting and blander gameplay, apparently.

While giving a demo of the PlayStation 3 version of Legendary, publisher Gamecock's CEO Mike Wilson was quick to stress that an entirely different team is making Legendary than the one that built Turning Point, so I'm willing to grant that maybe the third time's the charm for Spark. I saw the game's introductory level--where you bust into a museum and inadvertently let all those mystical beasties out of the box--and one later-game mission that's got you fighting off an assault on a base by a bunch of werewolves and griffins (you know, those things you spent too many hours flying around on in World of Warcraft).

On the upside, both of these levels had massive amounts of dramatic, destructive stuff going on all around you. When you first open the box, a ton of the gigantic griffins soar out and start wreaking havoc on the New York City streets, piling up cars and slaughtering the populace with abandon. Some kind of weird ethereal creature about 10 stories tall stomps its way down a major avenue, drawing cars and other debris to itself to make up its corporeal body as it levels the streets. In the later level, I had to fight off a steady stream of werewolves that were jumping onto a platform elevator I was riding up to the roof, where I then had to take up a guided rocket launcher and shoot down some griffins to clear the airspace for a few attack choppers to come in and lay down heavy fire. I'll agree with Wilson on one point: griffins versus helicopters is fairly badass. There's a good dose of wanky hair metal music in the game, from what I heard, and I think that's appropriate to the setting, too.

Shoot him in the face! The face!
There were a few neat mechanics I caught in the short demo. When you drop a werewolf, it doesn't stay down for long unless you walk up and blow its whole head off--and really, if you wanted to kill a werewolf, wouldn't you want to be damn sure it wasn't going to get back up? In addition to the monsters and your own Military Dude-Force, there's a third faction of armed mercs which seems to want to kill everyone, and you can engineer the occasional three-way battle (warning: Gamecock marketing term) where everyone is fighting everyone else and you can hang back and watch the fray.

It all sounds exciting on paper, but on the other hand, I feel like all this kind of been done before. We've been playing shooters with frantic Normandy beach landings for what, almost a decade now? I can't really knock Legendary without playing the final version, but at the same time I'm not sure it's enough for a shooter to simply toe the cinematic line these days. Not having seen Legendary before, I was a little saddened that you yourself don't seem to reap any rad supernatural powers from Pandora's Box; all the armament here is of the rifle-and-rocket-launcher variety. In the age of the thinking man's shooter (see BioShock), I'd hope for some more unique mechanics. You do get an area-of-effect energy move that stuns enemies, and you can absorb health from the baddies you slay, but otherwise your strange glowing hand seems just for show. Maybe that will come into play later in the game.

Parts of the demo ran a little choppier than I would have liked, but Wilson remarked that the 360 version is further along in development right now, and made light of the issues the Unreal Engine has had on the PS3 in the past as well. As always, that might improve before release.

Legendary is due to hit the 360 and PS3 at the tail end of September. Keep your eyes peeled in the near future for new video footage of the game accompanied by some, uh, colorful commentary courtesy of Wilson and Miller High Life. Brad Shoemaker on Google+
24 Comments
Posted by Brad
Griffins are pretty metal, you must admit.
I wanted to get excited about the mythologically themed first-person shooter Legendary when I first heard about it last year. The premise sounds neat enough: you're a cat burglar who's sprung Pandora's Box and loosed all its unpleasantness on the poor unsuspecting world, so now you've got to trot the globe and deal with it.

But Legendary's developer, Spark Unlimited, hasn't posted the best track record in its short lifespan. Neither of its past two first-person shooters--the last-gen Call of Duty installment Finest Hour or this year's alternate-history World War II game Turning Point: Fall of Liberty--were worth much attention (or so says the review mill; I didn't play them). Turning Point leaned on its own unique what-if premise, in which the victorious Germans steered their path of conquest straight into the United States via an invasion of 1950s New York. An interesting setup didn't excuse Turning Point's bland plotting and blander gameplay, apparently.

While giving a demo of the PlayStation 3 version of Legendary, publisher Gamecock's CEO Mike Wilson was quick to stress that an entirely different team is making Legendary than the one that built Turning Point, so I'm willing to grant that maybe the third time's the charm for Spark. I saw the game's introductory level--where you bust into a museum and inadvertently let all those mystical beasties out of the box--and one later-game mission that's got you fighting off an assault on a base by a bunch of werewolves and griffins (you know, those things you spent too many hours flying around on in World of Warcraft).

On the upside, both of these levels had massive amounts of dramatic, destructive stuff going on all around you. When you first open the box, a ton of the gigantic griffins soar out and start wreaking havoc on the New York City streets, piling up cars and slaughtering the populace with abandon. Some kind of weird ethereal creature about 10 stories tall stomps its way down a major avenue, drawing cars and other debris to itself to make up its corporeal body as it levels the streets. In the later level, I had to fight off a steady stream of werewolves that were jumping onto a platform elevator I was riding up to the roof, where I then had to take up a guided rocket launcher and shoot down some griffins to clear the airspace for a few attack choppers to come in and lay down heavy fire. I'll agree with Wilson on one point: griffins versus helicopters is fairly badass. There's a good dose of wanky hair metal music in the game, from what I heard, and I think that's appropriate to the setting, too.

Shoot him in the face! The face!
There were a few neat mechanics I caught in the short demo. When you drop a werewolf, it doesn't stay down for long unless you walk up and blow its whole head off--and really, if you wanted to kill a werewolf, wouldn't you want to be damn sure it wasn't going to get back up? In addition to the monsters and your own Military Dude-Force, there's a third faction of armed mercs which seems to want to kill everyone, and you can engineer the occasional three-way battle (warning: Gamecock marketing term) where everyone is fighting everyone else and you can hang back and watch the fray.

It all sounds exciting on paper, but on the other hand, I feel like all this kind of been done before. We've been playing shooters with frantic Normandy beach landings for what, almost a decade now? I can't really knock Legendary without playing the final version, but at the same time I'm not sure it's enough for a shooter to simply toe the cinematic line these days. Not having seen Legendary before, I was a little saddened that you yourself don't seem to reap any rad supernatural powers from Pandora's Box; all the armament here is of the rifle-and-rocket-launcher variety. In the age of the thinking man's shooter (see BioShock), I'd hope for some more unique mechanics. You do get an area-of-effect energy move that stuns enemies, and you can absorb health from the baddies you slay, but otherwise your strange glowing hand seems just for show. Maybe that will come into play later in the game.

Parts of the demo ran a little choppier than I would have liked, but Wilson remarked that the 360 version is further along in development right now, and made light of the issues the Unreal Engine has had on the PS3 in the past as well. As always, that might improve before release.

Legendary is due to hit the 360 and PS3 at the tail end of September. Keep your eyes peeled in the near future for new video footage of the game accompanied by some, uh, colorful commentary courtesy of Wilson and Miller High Life.
Staff
Posted by TimeWaffle

doesn't sound very exciting

Posted by kmdrkul

Looks good and I love the change of enemies.  Here's to hoping the game does well :D

Posted by mrfluke

maybe it will be great we will see come september i mean the premise is cool but then its just standard gunplay attached to it

Posted by roofy

i cant tell if brad liked it or not.
seems good from the descriptions of the battles

Posted by TrulyAlive

I dig the idea of fantasy in a new setting. It's an idea that's been somewhat underused recently. Although, I'm on the fence about super-natural powers. I think it could be cool but then it's been used to mediocre effect in the past.
I like the idea of being a cat-burglar too, though. Especially if it's used to enrich the character furthur down the plot, rather than just being thrown in to give you an excuse to unlesh hell in NYC.

Posted by Vinchenzo

Sweet premise, hope it develops well.

Posted by sociald1077

I love the fact that the previews here are not all bright and chirpy like you get on other sites/mags.

Thank you Giant Bomb for giving us the real deal.

Posted by Scroll

"I love the fact that the previews here are not all bright and chirpy like you get on other sites/mags.


Thank you Giant Bomb for giving us the real deal."

Agreed, it's great to get the negatives and the positives.

I'm alittle worried about this title. I won't write it off just yet, because I never do really. It certainly could do itself some favours and get some decent mechanics of it's own and have a slightly different art style.
Posted by Kohe321

Nice and honest preview. The game sounds kinda cool to be honest...

Posted by Paul

Looks dumb.

Posted by CheeseFanatic

Spark Unlimited seems like an honest developer trying to make a great game.  I hope its good.

Posted by Milkman

The premise sounds incredibly awesome. I hope it turns out good.

Posted by asian_pride

Well, hope it does well though

Posted by MasterSplinter

Just another FPS to get lost in the shuffle.

Posted by Meresin

Hopefully they get the framerate issues ironed out on the PS3 version. I was kinda looking forward to this game...It's got a really cool premise. I've no wish to play another FEAR-grade port, though. Guess we'll see. Maybe I'll pick it up if it turns out okay.

Posted by sandtroll

Variety is a good thing, I'm much more likely to play this than another WWII shooter.

Posted by MvmntInGrn

I really don't expect much from this game, also disappointed to see the PS3 version not doing well since (last I heard) it was leading on that platform. UE3 multiplat is useless...

If there is a demo I will try it but...well... we'll see....

Posted by Superfriend

This game is going to suck. I´ve played everything Spark has developed; They´re terrible at making shooters. Their games always seem incomplete and rushed.

Posted by The_Icon

Skipping it.

Posted by albedos_shadow

I liked it better when they had the subtitle "The Box". It was so retarded it was awesome.

Online
Posted by RenegadeSaint

Sounds like it could get the job done.  I'll be looking out for this one.

Posted by Mawryk

Looks like a solid 'wait-for-the-reviews' title. 

Pseudo-interesting premise, but what they pull off correctly will determine whether or not it's worth putting $$s down for. 

Posted by ZombieHunterOG

i wish i didn't read this i was excited but now i know sparks making it those other game were terrible this isnt looking good for legendary