Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-02-25 PSP Action/RPG T (Teen) Sony Online Entertainment

RPG and hack-and-slash games seem to be my favorite genres on the PSP. At one of the local Blockbusters I found Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code available for rental, but it took me a while to pick it up and bring it home. It was always out, which is normally a good sign. When I finally did find it available and brought it home, I was so addicted and eager to proceed. All I could think was "why didn't I grab this sooner?"

The Warrior's Code is the second in the Untold Legends series. As usual, I can jump into any "sequel" without having played the first game, which usually means that I will have a more partial review and treat the game as a stand-alone. Such is the case.

The story speaks of a realm bathed in chaos and oppression as a warlord sends out his minions to kill and enslave the people. Members of a shape-shifting race start disappearing without a trace, and those remaining flee, fearing for their lives. It's in this exodus that some of the changelings discover a secret that gives them the hope of a new beginning and peace for the land.

You play as one of the changelings. There are five to choose from, each with its own class and a different shape-shifting form: Guardian, Prowler, Scout, Mercenary and Disciple. Don't let the names confuse you, they're basically warriors, mages and rangers.

A few character customization options let you pick the hair style, hair color and skin tone. It's not much, but there is a lot more detail once your character starts equipping armor and weapons, which appear as soon as you put them on.

It took me a while to get used to the interface, I kept navigating the wrong way to find items and equipment, the map, my stats and other things. Maybe it would have been easier to adjust if I had played the previous game...

The bulk of the game is pure hack-and-slash dungeon crawling (in other words, keep pressing X), with a few interesting components such as shape-shifting, charge attacks and attacks of opportunity.

Shape-shifting happens only for a short period of time. As you kill monsters, your Essence meter fills up. Once it's full, you can transform into beast form (holding L trigger and triangle). You remain in beast form as the Essence meter slowly depletes, but in the meantime you can do a nice amount of damage. Save it for boss fights, it's especially useful there.

To use a charge attack, you hold down X. The result is a single more powerful attack instead of a series of little ones. Attacks of opportunity happen for example, when a monster has its back turned on you. It's somewhat like a critical attack.

Furthermore, there is an array of gems that add properties to your weapons and armor, so you can have poison attacks, elemental modifiers or debuffs on whatever weapon you are using (ranged or close-combat).

Your quest is linear, but spans through five chapters, each composed of several stages and at least one town where you can sell your excess goods and buy items or equipment. It's a pretty large single-player adventure.

Additionally, there are two multiplayer options, co-op (campaign quest for two) and PVP for up to four players. PVP games include the traditional Death Match, Survival and Capture the Flag, as well as some innovative challenges: Hunter, Miser, Gold Rush and Robber. An online lobby and matchmaking service take care of the connectivity. There is a very basic chat function, but it only works with pre-set macros, which is a shame.

Graphically, I enjoyed the look of Warrior's Code. There is a good amount of detail on the characters' weapons and equipment, as well as in the environments. Each level has a unique look, and as you go through jungles, dungeons, battlegrounds and icy landscapes, you can't help but notice little things like crumbling houses, frozen ponds or burning logs. The lighting and effects (such as colorful glows on weapons or spell particles) are also very nicely done.

The orchestrated musical score is amazing and it sounds very "Everquest-esque" to me. You know, epic, heroic, the kind you won't soon forget. I adds a good amount of depth to the cut-scenes.

And while the voice acting is really good, unfortunately our hero is of the silent type... how cliche.

But I truly enjoy adventures such as these. Dungeons filled with enemies, traps, treasures, monsters, boss fights, saving the world or die trying.

And although my rental period ended without having finished the game (I played up to chapter 4 and then got stuck trying to kill some tentacle monster I couldn't find), I had a blast with my character and her quest. I was playing it on every little bit of free time I had, I wanted to know more about the story, I wanted to see new places, kill new things and find new treasures. For the time period I had it, Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code consumed me.

If I can find it available once more, I will have to rent it again and finish my adventure. Because I'm just a girl trying to save the world, by killing one monster at a time...