Warriors: Legends of Troy
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2011-04-10 PS3 Action M (Mature) Tecmo / Koei

While I am not a big fan of the Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors series, I do like a hack and slash fix now and again. Warriors: Legends of Troy is based on the Warriors games, but brings one of my favourite themes into play: Greek mythology.

The story revolves around the conflict between Greeks and Trojans and the ever famous Helen of Troy, who, thanks to Aphrodite, fell in love with Paris and left her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. You will learn more and more about the events with every cutscene, and in between those, battle your way through as a hero of either side, including Achilles, Ajax, Paris and Hector. And if you're unaware of this story, I'm sure this is all sounding Greek to you! Worry not though, the "history lesson" you will be getting from the game is far from boring.

Legends of Troy offers three difficulty levels to start your game in, Easy, Medium and Hard, and it will ask you if you want to switch to a lower difficulty if you repeatedly fail a stage. Progression is done by killing everyone in your path, including some mini-bosses, and completing various objectives along the way. There is usually a boss fight waiting for you at the end of a stage, which is basically a duel while soldiers from both factions form a circle around you, defining the arena. These bosses will change their tactics during the duel, which means you need quick reflexes to adapt to their techniques. While you can basically hack and slash through the enemy troops, some mini-bosses and especially the final boss require some strategy and smart use of blocking and rolling out of harm's way. You also have Fury, which is a special skill that builds up over time as you attack, and when activated makes you stronger, slows down time and temporarily stuns enemies. Obviously, Fury is best saved for "special occasions".

Another interesting combat feature is the ability to pick up weapons and use them for a period of time. My favourite was definitely the spear, which offered more range and a very neat way to stop the odd fleeing enemy by throwing it and impale him - can't tell you how much that made me laugh the first time I did it. Evil cackle kind of laugh. And no matter how many times I do it, it still makes me smirk.

Each character has a different way of fighting, being proficient in a certain weapon: some specialize in close combat, others prefer ranged weapons. The animations for each are really well done, and it's nice to see little details like finishing moves: press triangle when someone's back is turned to you for some bloody action. And I'm all up for bloody action! However, I found the combat somewhat sluggish. Then again, I've been playing N3II, which is extremely fast, so this was a big change of pace.

Completing stages earns you kleos, the game's currency, which you can then use in the item shop to purchase equipment. Items are equipped in a limited-space grid to boost your character's abilities or unlock longer combos and more powerful attacks.

Aside from the Story mode, you have the Challenge mode, with Arena and Rampage stages to play in. Arena is a one-on-one fight with another champion, while Rampage places you against hordes of enemies. You can still make use of your equipped items for these challenges.

Legends of Troy grabbed me mostly for the epic story, and Story mode really is just that: a lot of story. And I really mean a lot, to the point when the stages sometimes felt short in between. The narration sequences were great, with the traditional drawings (as you would see on Greek vases) as the protagonists. The FMV sequences were absolutely fantastic, with realistic characters, facial expressions and professional voice acting. However, somehow I feel like these characters still had a bit of the Asian look present in the other Warriors games, and not really the facial features one would expect for the Hellenic people.

As much as I like this game, it is not without its faults, and one of them resides in switching factions all the time. This makes it more difficult to follow the story and to recognize your enemies, since you're alternating between Trojan and Greek all the time. It would have worked better having separate campaigns for each character/faction, with the story being presented from one side only and in sequence.

I also found the combat somewhat sluggish. Then again, I've been playing N3II, which is extremely fast, so this was a big change of pace. My third complaint is the timed events, because there is nothing to indicate that you have started one. All of a sudden and with no warning, there's a timer counting down on the side of the screen, and go "Um... wtf, what do you mean, 30 seconds?"

But in the end, I am pleased with the experience. The combat requires a bit of strategy since not all enemies are the same, the boss fights are interesting and keep you on your toes, and the theme and story are one of my favorite things ever. If you like the Dynasty Warriors series and appreciate Greek mythology, you're definitely in for a treat!

Special thanks to Vincent Slaven and Tecmo Koei for providing a copy of this title.