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New Legends

Infinite Machine





Every so often a game comes along that redefines the way we look at video games. New Legends strives to earn its place in this rarest of game types, but does it make it?

Heroes, weapons, demons, swords! When the premise for New Legends first entered my head I was quickly filled with feelings of joy and hope. It gave me the opportunity to kick major evil Chinese army ass in a beat-em-up title with a fresh plot. For once it seemed that the developer actually forced me to look into one of its titles.

THQ had an interesting formula that could've created a great game. The plot seemingly had a lot of promise. However, a good plot wasn't enough to save New Legends from the problems that plagued it. The ideas are great, but the execution is seriously flawed.

Set in a slightly futuristic China where mythology and technology are meld together, the land is plagued by war. A dictator named Xao Gon, who was said to have made an alliance with a demon from the other world, rose to power. With the help of his five demon-spawned offspring, he challenges and defeats many of the clan territories. Now, only one ancient clan within the Soo Kingdom remains. With all their allies destroyed, they are China's only hope for the restoration of peace. It is a time of chaos, a time of defiance... a time for heroes.

This is interesting; it was enough to turn my head, after all. I'm not one to turn away from a good piece of story; so with excitement, I inserted the game disc and began my adventure. However, after a few minutes of play I was immediately tempted to shut down my Xbox and place the disc back in its case.

You begin with objectives and although the plot moves along fairly well, enjoyment ceases when you reach battle. In fact, you'd have better chances of survival if you just ran from your enemy and avoid directly assaulting them. If you do feel like challenging them, and of course you will have to, you may want to try something other than the usual Rambo. After getting hit it's difficult to get back to your feet. I prefer the use of guns while fighting; it seems to be the best way to continue on. Tip: Strike first and accurately, you'll live longer.

Good news is there's an immense amount of weapons, from melee to tech; knives to staffs, claws, swords, axes, saws, bows, shotguns, rocket launchers, plasma guns, mini guns, and tank "punchers." Certainly a variety is present and you'll need it when you battle the hordes of Xao Gon's armies and his offspring. His children have unique weapons of their own as well which were surprisingly stolen from heaven (one weapon is a sword that is capable of shooting circles of flame). You can possess them, however, only after you have defeated their owners.

The graphics aren't too much better than the gameplay, sadly. The models are well made but colors are too bright. Don't be fooled by the pictures on the back of the screen; the textures are plain, blurry, and too colorful in certain levels. Average graphics, but certainly not comparable to the godlike, Halo.

There's also the issue of low frame rates. It's not just during the heat of battle, slowdown occurs at almost every corner. I don't mind a small amount of this, but when it happens through the entire game? Someone should prescribe eyeglasses to the employees at THQ, I don't know how they could've let such major frame rates pass them by.

It feels like the developers put sound before gameplay, because that's one of the things done right. New Legends' music fits the theme of the game with a Chinese hint. But alas, the voice acting is superb. It certainly is more interesting than everything else gone wrong in this game. I guess the voice actors put a bigger emphasis on effort than the developers did.

On the bright side of things the controls are some of the simplest you'll find for such a complex concept. You move your character with the left analog stick and the camera with the right stick. The A button is to jump, Y is to block, and X and B are different hand attacks (for example, you'll fire your shotgun from one hand and swing your sword with the other). The white button is to use while the black button is for your weapon inventory. You can also combine two buttons to perform a dash or a special attack. Again, the controls are extremely easy and will become second nature as soon as you pick up the controller.

Scott "VeX" Kuss
You may fire when ready.

New Legends: The Scores













The Final Word:  The ideas were there, it seemed like a promising title. A beat-em-up set in future china with a great plot. Unfortunately, the gameplay was choppy and boring and the graphics were drab. The game became old as soon as I placed it into the drive and started it up. Like every game, I would suggest at least renting it (except 4x4 Evolution 2, don't bother or forever be sinned), you may or may not find it somewhat interesting. God speed, soldier.

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