I'll never forget the first time I saw Legendary in action. It was two years ago at Gamecock's off-site E3 event (EiEiO '06), held at the strangely beautiful Hotel California. It was in a small, hot hotel room where the developers were overjoyed to finally show the press what they had been working on. Unfortunately instead of giving us a test run, the Xbox 360 they were using kept freezing, crashing and ultimately getting the dreaded red ring of death. Perhaps that Xbox 360 knew something we didn't know, even back then. Because there were times while I played Legendary that I wished my system would red ring and relieve me from my suffering.
Legendary is a standard first-person shooter that is clearly inspired by the greats of the genre, especially Half-Life. You play Jack Deckard, a professional thief who is hired to steal the mythical Pandora's Box from a museum in New York City. Obviously something goes wrong along the way, because it wouldn't be much of a game if all you did was steal the box, get paid and go on with your life. Then again, while that would have been a boring premise for a game, at least it would have saved me from my pain and anguish.
What Jack doesn't know is that there are powerful people trying to get their hands on this box, the kind of people that will stop at nothing to get it. But that isn't Jack's immediate concern. You see, while he was trying to take the box he stuck his hand in a place that it didn't belong, forcing a large spike through his hand and giving him special beast-busting abilities. But don't get too excited just yet. While it's true that Jack's hand is now tattooed with some sort of supernatural ability, the actual ability isn't especially exciting. In fact, I would argue that it's one of the worst "super powers" you will ever run across.
I hate to even call it a super power, because when it comes right down to it your hand is nothing more than a way to store power and refill your life. You see, whenever you kill a supernatural baddie you can suck its energy to refill your health tank. That's not the only thing you can do with it, though. You can also use the energy to push heavy objects out of the way. That's all your hand does. You can't use the super power to slow down time or control enemies or throw lightning bolts. You can't use your super power to force guns out of your enemy's hands or choke them or even make objects float. No. Instead of being able to do anything cool, your hand will slowly heal you and move large objects from your path ... when the story calls for it.
When you're not pissed off about your stupid hand, you're stuck playing a sub-standard first-person shooter with so many problems that I'm not sure there's a box big enough to stuff them all in. The game starts promising enough, huge mythical creatures escape Pandora's Box and start destroying New York City. I'm a big fan of needless destruction, especially when it's a city as iconic as this one. But as you try to navigate through the city you'll quickly realize that you are taking your life at risk by just shooting your guns. From the moment you hold that right trigger down to kill your first bad guy you know something's wrong. At first I couldn't put my finger on it, but then I realized that the game gives me almost no control over my gun. Oh sure, you can aim the weapon just fine, but the moment you start shooting people the bullets just fly in random directions. No matter what gun you're using, it's next to impossible to aim your gun while firing. At best you have to shoot, re-aim, and then shoot a few more bullets. However, if somebody gets in your face and you have to shoot you might as well just put the control down and let them kill you. What's more, larger enemies can actually punch you so hard that you'll aim straight up or into a wall. Trying to get your aim back is often more difficult than dealing with the enemies.
Speaking of enemies, I hope you like werewolves ... because that's just about the only thing you're going to fight. That's not to say that every enemy is a werewolf, you'll still have to deal with minotaur creatures, pesky little sprite characters and huge annoying birds. But these creatures are mostly used as bosses, so you won't run into them very often. Instead you'll be smothered with werewolves and enemy soldiers. The standard scenario works something like this: You are fighting off a bunch of annoying werewolves (who have to be decapitated, of course), but just when you're done with your last one, enemy soldiers show up with their overpowered weapons and kill you. I don't know why, but these enemy soldiers do much more damage than even the biggest mythical creature.
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