reviews\ Aug 13, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Legio review


Considering how the strategy genre has grown stagnant over the past several years, it can be quite exciting when a title releases that goes against the grain, offering something different than what you're used to. However, when that title becomes a missed opportunity due to several compounding minor issues and repetitive gameplay, then it can be even more frustrating. Such is the case with Legio.

There is a basic storyline on tap here, involving a power struggle for the kingdom of Bella Lugacia following the passing of the king. The king’s twin children, Lorenzo and Florentia, each feel that they are the heirs to the throne (there is some question as to who is the rightful successor due to the fact that they were born at exactly the same time). So as you do when there’s a kingdom on the line, they decide to settle the dispute by amassing their respective armies and taking to the battlefield. The exposition is fairly minor, so don’t expect much in the way of compelling plot elements.

You’re given a variety of units on the battlefield, including knights, archers, and even fantastical units like mages and monstrous Warrabbits. The game’s combat is more fast-paced and action-oriented than other turn-based strategy titles, requiring you to use timed attacks in order to inflict maximum damage on your enemy’s units.

The battles in Legio are divided into two different parts. The first part has you battling it out with your enemies on a drawbridge between the two opposing factions’ castles. The second part kicks in when one of the sides breaches the enemy’s castle, moving the action to the inside their hallways for the final push towards victory. While it is possible to turn the match around if the action hits your castle, pushing your enemy across the drawbridge into their own territory gives you a definite upper hand, as any surviving units that you had on the field from the first part would carry over to the second, with an additional 25 thrown on top.

While the fast pace and arcade nature give the game something that you typically don’t see in the genre, there are still major issues that can't be ignored. Legio’s gameplay doesn’t branch out from its formula, making the game repetitious. The rinse-lather-repeat nature isn’t something that will be likely to hold your focus for the long haul.

Additionally, while the game passes itself off as an intuitive affair, it is anything but for the first few hours. So sure were the developers that the game was easy to pick up that they left out any kind of tutorial or instructions on how to play the game or develop any strategies. This leads to quite a bit of frustration in the crucial early moments of the game, and a learning curve that is steeper than it needed to be.

The AI can also be problematic. Your enemies are sharpshooters that seldom miss when attacking your units, and always seem to know exactly what units you’re setting out into the match with. This also makes it very difficult to win and, when combined with the lack of a tutoria,l is a big issue for newcomers trying to get into the game.

Graphically, Legio does sport a nice feel and design, with brightly colored units and environments that have an almost fantastical quality to them. However, on the technical end, the game is nothing that will tax your machine -- lacking the bells and whistles of other games in the genre as well as special effects. The sound effects are also fairly simplistic, with music that sets the tone well and other sounds that toe the line, but don’t add much to the overall package.

Legio is an interesting hybrid of strategy and board game elements, and one that sidesteps the standard mechanics of the genre in favor of fast-paced, arcade-inspired action. However, the ease of play isn’t quite to the level where it needs to be for a game of this nature due to overly tough AI and a lack of tutorial modes, and the overly simplistic and repetitive nature of the gameplay.

Above Average

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