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Chaos Legion (PlayStation 2) artwork

Chaos Legion (PlayStation 2) review

"Meet Sieg Warheit, a young knight of the Dark Glyphs, and one of coolest looking characters in videogame history. Heís got a beautifully tattered cape, a large sword with a mysterious, blue aura, and a brilliant helmet of blazing orange hair. Closer examination would also reveal that thereís a definite look of torment on his face, and Iíll tell you what tortures Sieg: he wants to know what a badass looking guy like himself is doing in such a ridiculous game like Chaos Legion, and Iíd like to kno..."

Meet Sieg Warheit, a young knight of the Dark Glyphs, and one of coolest looking characters in videogame history. Heís got a beautifully tattered cape, a large sword with a mysterious, blue aura, and a brilliant helmet of blazing orange hair. Closer examination would also reveal that thereís a definite look of torment on his face, and Iíll tell you what tortures Sieg: he wants to know what a badass looking guy like himself is doing in such a ridiculous game like Chaos Legion, and Iíd like to know too.

For Sieg may indeed be Chaos Legionís only truly redeeming quality. Your adventures with him will have you traversing exhausting distances through thoroughly bleak environments, which are all too appropriately populated by legions upon legions of equally bland-looking monsters. Thereís a purpose behind this seemingly interminable monotony, but Chaos Legion never feels purposeful Ė hewing through this unexciting foe is necessary to advance your pursuit of Victor Delacroix, a man driven mad because you Ė that is, Sieg Ė supposedly killed his lover, Siela. Falter and Delacroix will unite the spiritual planes with the real world in order to bring Siela back to life, even if it means causing certain chaos in the process.

Dispelling any possible appeal this premise may have is Chaos Legionís actual storytelling, which is scant and incompetent. Cutscenes interject gameplay with relative infrequence, where clumsily written lines are exchanged in some futile attempt at plot development or characterization. Underscoring this overall horridness are the cringe-worthy attempts to squeeze genuine emotion out of these bland characters. Even Sieg Ė cool looking though he may be Ė lacks any real, definable persona. But at least he has a goal. He has to stop Delacroix.

And he wonít be alone. A few missions into Chaos Legion youíll meet the frail, pistol-wielding Arcia, whose presence is actually quite meaningless. She provides little in the way of help or substance, aside from a short stint where youíll control her, which is sadly no less boring than controlling Sieg. Figuring more prominently however, are Siegís legions Ė summon monsters that provide statistical bonuses, extra combat techniques, and actual assistance during battle. Whether you summon them for a sustained period of time or call them for a quick attack, these legions are indispensable for plowing through the veritable army of creatures ahead of you. Itís just too bad then, that actually summoning them is highly non-interactive, while the quick attack is an extraordinarily simplistic tactic that quickly loses its flair. Rather than keeping things varied and fresh, the legions simply contribute to the continuous stream of blandness.

In those instances that your legions wonít be doing the dirty work, Sieg will rely on a simple set of sword slashes and a clumsy lock-on system that manages to defeat its own purpose. Instead of automatically locking on, or having some special system of cycling through targets, Chaos Legion requires you to shoot out an electrical bolt in the direction of the desired target, and for many reasons, this causes quite a few problems that could have easily been avoided. Largely, the entire point of employing a lock-on system is to make it so this kind of task is actually manageable. Frequently youíll find yourself missing or locking on to the wrong target, and youíll likely suffer a debilitating wound in the process.

But youíll need all of this in the end, or least most of it, because besides being one of the worst games for PlayStation 2, Chaos Legion is also one of the most difficult. For those of you who like difficult games, it bears mentioning that a significant amount of this difficulty stems from the fact that Chaos Legionís mechanics donít entirely work.

Youíll acquire a bevy of new combat maneuvers as you pour experience points garnered from the tiresome massacres into Siegís legions. A monstrously powerful six-hit combo and a crucial double jump withstanding, all of them are far too difficult to pull off to the point where they have no practical use. One of them, a mid-attack dodge that launches Sieg into an aerial kart wheel, is actually likely to cause more harm than good. Adding more annoyance is the fact that as a general rule, nearly all techniques that deal any kind of meaningful damage will inevitably leave you in a precarious position, whereas relatively safe moves barely tickle impending assailants.

Dance around too long with these safe attacks, and youíll inevitably sustain a critical blow thatíll deplete a sizeable chunk of Siegís health bar and knock him off his feet. As youíll soon discover, Sieg is rather fragile, and getting knocked down again right after recovering isnít nearly as uncommon as it should be. Perhaps the former makes some sense, as Sieg is merely human, and as such, Iíd expect him to suffer only the most severe injuries when being charged by giant metallic lizards. In practice Siegís also not nearly as agile and responsive as he initially seems.

After cleaving your way through nine repetitive, nerve-racking, challenging missions, youíll be presented with what seems to be the final solution to all your woes: an item that allows you to revisit previous levels in order to gain more experience for your legions. Boosting your legions to their maximum capacity should potentially eliminate the rest of the gameís challenge, but actually, thatís when the real challenge begins Ė in order to do this, youíll need to spend hours playing through the same levels that werenít even enjoyable to begin with. Manage this without becoming profusely irate, and youíre likely prepared for any harrowing tasks you can expect to face later in life. And they likely wonít be so trying.

If none of thatís enough to discourage you from playing Chaos Legion, thereís little eye candy to savor here, as nearly everything commences in abject monochrome. In the midst of the graphical dreariness however, Siegís unmistakable character saunters brilliantly as he brandishes his blade with a passion almost as fiery as his own hair. Sadly his adversaries canít revel in the same magnificent design, as itís obvious that the developers called for simplistic monster designs to accommodate the massive amount of enemies on screen at any given time. The prospect of aural splendor doesnít seem completely out of question as a few of Chaos Legionís songs start playing, but theyíre quickly and effectively drowned out by the repetitive sounds of combat.

With a character as cool looking as Sieg, I canít help but wonder why his potential was ruined on a game as hopeless as Capcomís Chaos Legion. (Yes, these are the same people who brought us the brilliant Devil May Cry.) Thereís no reward for braving the mind-splitting monotony of Chaos Legionís fourteen levels, aside from whatever spiritual satisfaction you may get from such a difficult accomplishment. And it is indeed a very brave gamer who makes it through to the end.

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Community review by radicaldreamer (March 30, 2005)

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