The Legend of Legendary Legends

I like a little bit of fantasy in my first-person shooter, so I was quite looking forward to Legendary back when the first previews were released, back in 2008.  The idea of breaking open Pandora’s box and accidentally filling with world with monsters of legend, then shooting them, was quite appealing.

What can I say?  I played a lot of D&D when I was a kid.

Then the game actually came out and was roundly panned by reviewers, so I saved myself sixty bucks by not buying it, and then I just sort of forgot about it.

Recently, however, I was reminded of its existence by reading some online posts about the game and how, well, utterly disappointing it had been.

Thus reminded that this game did, in fact, exist, I decided that I would load up Steam and see what it cost.  My logic went as follows:  If it’s 20 bucks at full price, it will probably be discounted by 75% during the summer sale, and if it’s five bucks it will probably be worth trying out.

This happens to me quite often; I’m reading a discussion about games that turns to titles that were quite thoroughly mediocre, and I wind up buying the game in question just to see how mediocre it was.  I think this is probably a character trait that there’s a complex latin name for.

Anyway, it was five bucks at full price.  It will probably be even cheaper during the sale, but since I’d already decided upon five dollars as a fair price, I went ahead and bought it.

Then I took a couple of months getting around to it before finally starting it and finishing it over the course of three evenings.  I could easily have powered through it in a sitting if I’d been doing this on a weekend, the whole thing lasted about six hours start to finish.

I’m not going to lie to you, it lived up to the anti-hype.  I like me a good linear shooting game, but the sheer lack of mobility in this particular one sets new depths.  Your character is rendered utterly unable to move by the lowest of obstructions, you regularly drop down things with no way back up, doors close behind you, new doors open only when scripted to… It’s not Homefront bad, but it’s not great.

Thankfully, the creature design is pretty good and the atmosphere gets genuinely creepy at times, and this makes up for the silly level design.

So over six hours, you walk forward, shooting werewolves and fire lizard things and some annoying little ghost children with wings and claws that the game claims are taken from russian folklore and griffons and minotaurs and uh that is actually about the extent of the things you will be shooting, barring a couple of bosses.

I said that the creature design was good, not especially varied.

Oh, and you also occasionally shoot enemy soldiers.  They aren’t very notable.

From time to time, the walking forward and shooting things schtick is interrupted by one of two things:

1) Sometimes the path is blocked by fire and you need to go find a nearby valve to turn to put out the fire.  Generally this involves turning approximately 45 degrees from looking directly at the fire, noting the valve on the wall, and turning it.

2) Sometimes you will hit an access panel that you need to hold down the E button for like 20 seconds to open.

It’s not quite as bad as Heavenly Sword’s Hat Boxes, but it’s not exactly brain melting puzzle time here is what I’m getting at.

Also you will probably hit a bug just before the final boss where you get into an elevator and fall through the floor.  The game was released in 2008 and the graphics engine has problems when your computer gets too good of a frame rate.  There are a few workarounds for this bug, most of which involve limiting the frame rate in some manner.  I eventually hit upon one that worked, but this particular bug was teeth-grindingly frustrating until I found that.

Wow, I don’t have a lot of good things to say about this, really.  I did finish it, so that’s a mark in its favor, and it has a couple of deeply satisfying moments involving rocket launchers and mythological beasties, and really it deserves some points for just trying to break out of the mold.

I guess I’ll sum up:  It’s worth five bucks and six hours of your life, and what more can you say for some games?


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