Legion Gold


posted 6/18/2003 by Tyler Sager
other articles by Tyler Sager
One Page Platforms: PC
Once spring rolls around and military units are built, it’s time to send them off to war. Battles are done in a fairly unique manner in Legion. Not good, but unique. When two armies decide to face off, a tactical screen opens up. Here, players can decide how the squads are deployed. Players choose a formation and attack speed for each squad. After that, the battle begins, and players have absolutely no control over what happens. Combat takes place with both sides fighting it out in real time, but there’s no control from the player after the initial placement. It’s pretty much like saying, “Alpha team, form a wedge and Get ‘em! Bravo and Delta, you line up, wait a bit, and Get ‘em! Omega squad, you guys just sort of clump together and run real fast and Get ‘em! Now go!” After a battle or two, this gets exceedingly dull. The manual states that this combat system was chosen for historical accuracy, since generals had little control over the troops once things started. That may be true, but “historically accurate” and “entertaining” are not necessarily the same thing.

Depending on a squad’s morale, they may decide to run away after taking too many losses. The side that causes the enemy to run away or die more, wins. At least, that’s what I think happens. Even with lots of battles under my belt, I’m still not sure exactly what is going on. There’s no feedback from the units, no after-battle rundown of which squad performed well in a particular terrain or against a particular enemy. There’s really no way to know which formations or units work better without lots and lots of play. And Legion just doesn’t manage to hold interest long enough to learn the subtle nuances.

That’s about it for the gameplay in Legion. Improve cities, build armies and conquer opposing cities. The AI is fairly competent, however, so this isn’t exactly an easy task. In fact, I tend to suspect at least a tiny bit of cheating on the AI’s part. Regardless of whether or not the computer plays fair, it does play rough. If you can get past the tedium of combat and the lackluster construction progression, there is quite a challenge to be had in the handful of campaigns.

Graphics are uninspiring. In fact, they appear downright out of date. Had I seen this game 3 or 4 years ago, I probably still wouldn’t be impressed. Legion is strictly 2D, and most of the screens are completely devoid of animation. And when there is action, it’s really difficult to tell what’s going on. Units fighting on the field of battle are hard to differentiate. Now, this isn’t a problem, since there’s nothing you can do anyway, but it’d still be nice to tell which side was which at a glance. The music is nice enough, but not outstanding. Sound effects are generic but serviceable. On a positive note, everything was stable and apparently bug-free. All in all, however, Legion’s production values are a bit underwhelming.

Games need to be fun. Challenging is a good thing, but fun is a necessary thing. And Legion just doesn’t fall into the “entertaining” category. Combat is repetitive and dull, replayability is severely limited, and that “just one more turn” factor is missing. Although Legion isn’t an absolutely terrible game, with so many other wonderful turn-based strategy games available, it’s hard to recommend this title to all but the most die-hard strategy gamers.

A turn-based strategy game that is lacking in many ways. Combat is dull, resource management and infrastructure buildup is uninspired, and there is very little incentive to replay any given campaign. Unless you’re in severe need of a turn-based strategy title, let this one sit on the shelf.

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