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Chaos Legion (PlayStation 2) artwork

Chaos Legion (PlayStation 2) review

"Love. Betrayal. Vengeance. Richly artistic cinematics explore the depths of the human psyche and emotional repression . . . or something. Capcom gives these stylish but laughably-voiced cinematics the treatment they deserve by making them skippable and shoving them between levels so they donít interfere with the action. "

Love. Betrayal. Vengeance. Richly artistic cinematics explore the depths of the human psyche and emotional repression . . . or something. Capcom gives these stylish but laughably-voiced cinematics the treatment they deserve by making them skippable and shoving them between levels so they donít interfere with the action.

Jumpstarted by the most rocking first level music on the planet, Chaos Legion rolls out the carnage without wasting any energy on tutorials or exploration. Accompanied by the awe-inspiring Thanatos legion, holy assassin Sieg Wahrheit dons his frilly coat, stylishly taps broadsword to broad shoulder and dives into the murky heart of Victor Delacroixís beast-infested city with one bloody goal: kill everything. Whether clearing pits of lumbering ogres or arenas stuffed with enormous inorganic crabs, Siegís savage cuts and his companionís searing bursts of light reduce all opposition to quivering, twitching corpses. Chaos Legion starts out easy but amazing; this is the perfect introduction to a high-powered 3D action game.

Donít get comfortable; this isnít an easy game. Sieg soon loses the blistering power of Thanatos but earns other, more interesting sidekicks as he topples each colossal boss. When threatened, order a quartet of sword-swinging spirits to form a protective circle around you, hacking to bits any chrome metallic panthers that dare approach. When feeling vicious, send your knights to hunt down fleeing thugs! You can even command them to surround an opponent and slash in perfect flesh-tearing unison. With dozens of optional upgrades and unlockable skills, Chaos Legion lets you play the way you want to play; snipe lurking guards from afar, barrel through stone walls, double-jump over fat mutantsí heads, or grab enemy archers with a plasma whip and pull them close enough to spear their wicked hearts. Get over here! The array of abilities is insane and youíll need to master more than a few to make it to Victorís cocky self.

Thirteen challenging levels, from neo-gothic cities to desolate forests to barren fields bathed in bloody moonlight, stand between you and the dark paladinís throne. Every level is split into a series of arenas, each separated from the next by a rusty iron gate. Your performance in each arena is judged, graded and rewarded based on important criteria like killing things and killing things quickly. Perform well and purchase more skills; perform poorly and suffer the cruel pain of humiliation! You can go back and give difficult levels a second try without losing your progress to strive for that elusive AAA+ rank or a 500 enemy smash count while testing out new legions on familiar opponents in unexpected ways. Shooting far-off zombies with arrows is tame and expected; igniting the bomb legion with SOCCER KICKS and blasting distant foes to pieces is stylish!

Even though itís fun to experiment with wacky killing techniques, donít think that you can screw around when the bosses arrive. When a huge armored centaur starts spinning his massive shield around the coliseum like a buzzsaw, emitting a painful screech as it tears through the solid earth, youíd better run, dodge and roll or youíll be cut apart. If that sounds dangerous, just wait until you meet the spider boss! This wall-walking leviathan and its deluge of spider babies would eat Devil May Cryís Phantom alive.

I enjoy the blatant symbolism of a story-driven Berserk or the atmospheric exploration of Devil May Cry, but I absolutely love the unrelenting action of Chaos Legion. No matter how theyíre dressed up, video games are interactive, and this one never sacrifices interaction for atmosphere. Chaos Legion allows for so much customization of character attributes and play style that itís never the same twice. Control, gameplay and challenge: all are handled with razor precision. The game even includes a cool unlockable character that completely changes the actionís pacing! Every improvement I can imagine would only be aesthetic . . . and believe me, Chaos Legion doesnít lack for aesthetics. Filled with strategic but nonstop action, spattered with demented bosses and rounded out by the most rocking final level music on the planet, this gameís got me hooked.

lilica's avatar
Community review by lilica (January 28, 2005)

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