2008 Reviews


  • Review Date: 2011-11
  • Release Date: 2008-11
  • Developer: Spark Unlimited
  • Rating: 7.5

I'm initially going to review the first five episodes of this game, ignoring the last episode. I'll get to that later. Legendary was a game I was really looking forward to in 2008 from Spark Unlimited. Then reviews came; IGN a 2.5/10, Gamespot 3.5/10, Eurogamer 2/10. The game was completely rubbished and, as such, barely sold. How could this happen when the graphics and monsters all looked so great in the promo material? Clearly, Spark hadn't paid the top review sites enough for positive reviews because this is the single most under-rated game I've ever played. In fact until the final episode I was looking at scoring it at least a 7/10. Same as what I recently scored STALKER, although I enjoyed Legendary much more.

Legendary isn't revolutionary. It's an old skool shooter, with no unique bells and whistles. You do get type of special ability in your arm (named Animus) that you can use anytime to push enemies away or heal yourself. You charge it up by collecting monsters' souls. And it's a great little idea, but not really enough to get brownie points. Spark needed to give upgrades during the game and have this arm do a bit more. Most of the gameplay is spent with two weapons, mostly machine guns that get more powerful through the game and a shotgun. They're both very effective and great to play with - Spark were spot on with the weapons, and there's tonnes of ammo through the game. Probably too much.

There aren't a lot of monsters in this game, it really could have done with some more, but all those that are used are good. Werewolves and humans are the most common, with werewolves really fun to fight. There are also Minotaurs and Griffins that look fantastic, but aren't in the game enough times sadly. They do take a lot to take down so perhaps Spark considered them more mini-bosses. But I would have had them in the game a little more often with less health.

Their behind the scenes videos of bosses and monsters look amazing, such as Golem, a giant beast as tall as a building completely made up of cars and debris lifted all around you. Or the Kraken, a huge water monster with tentacles sprawling into the sky. And they were both really impressive once you go up against them.

IGN complained that the monsters are all random, although they clearly didn't pay any attention to the story because it's all explained. Besides, Painkiller and Serious Sam had completely random enemies and didn't take themselves too seriously. Legendary does take itself a bit more seriously and features quite an interesting storyline.

The game begins with Pandora's Box being opened and Griffin's attacking New York. You're on foot running through the debris and chaos as people and cars are lifted all around you. Then the giant Golem appears. It's an absolutely epic beginning to a game, one of the best starts I've played. It felt like your latest cgi-rich blockbuster. After mulling around in the underground of Ney York, which was quite creepy, the third episode takes you to an English Cathedral with an old town built around as you join your team-mates in trying to reach a hidden laboratory. Then you return to the British Headquarters as it's under attack from Griffins and Werewolves, before returning to New York. All the levels look great and you can tell it's the Unreal Engine 3 with it's heavy post processing and dirty colours. I've played much worse looking UE3 based games.

85% of the way through this game and I simply cannot understand why this game got panned. The gameplay is fun, the story is interesting, the graphics and settings all look great. The typical problems of no quicksave exist, but this is a console focused game so typical console-crap is to be expected. It does have mouse movement issues, being very jumpy. So jumpy in fact the game gave me motion sickness a while after I turned it off. But nothing major - it's a simple shooter that does nothing new but provides a fun experience.

THEN, you get to episode six and it falls apart. The Kraken boss, right before episode six, I tried so many damn times and was a very frustrating trial and error boss. Cheats are needed. Then right as episode six starts I get constant floods of yellow light and can't see a thing when I use my ability or get struck by a werewolf. I play on with god mode enabled and make damn sure not to get hit by anything. Then the final level has an elevator that you fall through on the PC version. And it's not just a bug some people get - EVERY PC version has this bug. No patch. Game cannot be finished. There is an easy workaround in the config settings, but that's not the point. Clearly Spark didn't bother to do a single playthrough of this game on the PC, and a really simply patch would have fixed it.

Overall, I'd probably give the game 7.5 without the final episode bugs.

Rating: 7.5 without bugs, otherwise 6.0/10


To fix the elevator bug:

Open the PandoraEngine.ini (\Documents\My Games\Legendary\PandoraGame\Config-Folder) and search for "MaxSmoothedFrameRate=300" and change the value to 30.