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Arslan: The Warriors of Legend (PlayStation 4) artwork

Arslan: The Warriors of Legend (PlayStation 4) review

"Anyone looking for a story-focused Warriors game is likely to have a good time."

Does a Warriors-style game need an exhaustive story mode? I never thought so, but Arslan: The Warriors of Legend has a difference of opinion. That difference leads to a game that often forgets itís a game.

Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, based on an anime series called "The Heroic Legend of Arslan," is the latest crossover from Omega Force and Tecmo Koei. It has all the hallmarks of the genre, with a few wrinkles of novelty here and there, but it first and foremost wants to tell players a story.

Arslan: The Warriors of Legend (PlayStation 4) image

The story it tells is that of, well, Arslan. He's the crown prince of the fictional Middle Eastern nation of Pars. After his homeland is attacked by a rival nation and his father is captured, Arslan travels the region, recruiting heroes to help him take back the capital city. The plot is a standard military campaign the likes of which youíve seen before, but the diverse cast of warriors who help Arslan on his quest bring some much needed personality.

Unfortunately, Arslan really wants players to become intimately familiar with the story told in the anime. It certainly wouldnít be a problem if the story were told through gameplay. Instead, the game opts to present lengthy cutscenes that recount the entire story from the first season of the anime. As somebody who hasnít watched those episodes, I valued the context the cutscenes provided. I just feel that the story could have been told in a manner that kept me actively engaged, instead of forcing me to sit back and essentially watch an episode of anime in between missions.

When Arslan actually lets you play the game, it produces a much better impression. Those familiar with either Dynasty Warriors or Omega Forceís crossover games like Hyrule Warriors will be right at home. Players are tasked with mowing down hundreds of enemies with flashy moves while capturing control points, defeating bosses and defending bases. Itís pretty standard fare, but with a few interesting new ideas.

Arslan: The Warriors of Legend (PlayStation 4) image

My personal favorite is the Rush Zone. During a rush, the player character will lead hundreds of their own soldiers to mow down the enemy or break through obstacles. The visual spectacle that results is pretty awesome, and really sells the idea that youíre actually in charge of an army.

Some characters also come equipped with two weapons that they can combo into each other. For example, Arslanís standard weapon is a sword, but he can combo into a spear to wipe out tons of enemies. Once I got the hang of it, I found myself unable to do anything else as the utility of combining weapon assaults was just too advantageous. Not to mention, it looks really cool.

As for the maps, most offer pretty straightforward capture-or-kill scenarios. When the game diverges from this path, itís pretty interesting. For example, an early mission has a young Arslan escaping with a slave. Instead of fighting through enemies, the two characters had to negotiate a platforming challenge. The mechanics felt out of place and weren't well implemented, but I still appreciated that the developers tried something different. Later missions also play around with conventions by having a one-on-one boss fights in a small arena, but the Warriors engine is built for one versus many fights so itís a little awkward.

Arslan: The Warriors of Legend (PlayStation 4) image

Speaking of boss fights, they are the most annoying part of the game. First, all bosses have a shield that must be broken before any damage can be dealt. The time that it takes for a shield to regenerate seems arbitrary, as Iíve seen some shields recharge within seconds of breaking while other bossesí shields never returned. Some bosses will also enter into a charge state once their health has reached the halfway point. When this happens, a short cutscene plays as the boss emerges at the entrance of the current area with their shield fully recharged. As you can imagine, itís pretty annoying to have this cutscene interrupt a combo that had the boss at your mercy.

Fortunately, Arslan is consistent with its impressive visuals. It doesnít look as good as Dragon Quest Heroes, but the cel-shaded artwork really brings the animeís world to life. The transitions from the animated cutscenes to the game are seamless and left me wondering if I was still in the cutscene the first time one occurred.

Overall, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is a pretty enjoyable game. Itís not as good as Hyrule Warriors or Dragon Quest Heroes, but itís solid. Fans of the anime or manga will get far more out of it, but anyone looking for a story-focused Warriors game is likely to have a good time.


Phazonmasher's avatar
Freelance review by Zachary Walton (March 04, 2016)

Zach Walton likes JRPGs, visual novels, horror games and anything that gives him an excuse to drink.

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