Arslan: The Warriors of Legend – Review
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is a tactical action game based on the manga: The Heroic Legend of Arslan. It follows the tale of Prince Arslan as he hacks and slashes his way through a warzone to retake the kingdom he was forced from and reclaim his throne. Skimping on none of the details from the manga that made this title famous, this game is one of the more successful Dynasty Warriors-esque titles out there.
If you played one Dynasty Warriors game, you’ve played them all in my eyes, however Arslan delivers some new features on both story and gameplay front which make it worth picking up- even if you thought you’d never play another hack and slash tactical war game again.
It’s all go go go from the very beginning with this game- you’re dropped into a warzone the minute you start out and from there things just become more hectic and crazy. There are the standard tutorial missions but breezing through them is easy and once you’re done its up to you, as young Prince Arslan, to save the day.
One thing I always struggled with in similar games was keeping track of the story line- there are so many characters and so many clans each linked in different ways and it all became a little overwhelming- this isn’t the case with Arslan. The story follows one character and his one mission, as well as the people he meets along the way. It’s much easier to keep track of than similar titles, and I appreciated that a lot. It helped to foster a sense of attachment to the characters, and I found myself really quite sucked into what was happening to them. When a character died I was upset, when my team was betrayed I would curse a lot, and when we had a victory that seemed almost impossible there was a lot of fist pumping. It does touch on a lot more dark places than I originally expected it would however, such as slavery, deception and freedom- not to mention the scene where you hear a whole platoon of soldiers burned alive, but the solid storyline delivers these concepts well, ensuring they get the reaction out of you I’m sure the developers wanted.
The only thing I struggled with in this title was following the speech during battle. There are English sub-titles but no option for an English dub, which I know will please the purists out there, but for me it was annoying. When I’m in battle I don’t want to have to read subtitles in order to follow the conversation, it disrupts the flow of battle and causes me to take wrong turns, miss things and die. And apart from a tiny green square on the mini-map, there’s no other indication outside of dialogue about what you have to do; making it a pretty critical part of battle. That being said, no amount of confusion was going to stop me from charging through enemies on my horse, and I still managed to slay thousands, so I suppose as far as hindrances go it could have been worse.
Despite spending a chunk of every battle confused about where I was meant to be going and what I was meant to be doing, I absolutely loved the gameplay of Arslan. Each battle progresses through the maps organically and there is no shortage of enemy soldiers to slay. My favourite part of the battle mechanic though is the Mardan Rush technique, where you command all your mounted soldiers to rush through enemy lines, crushing everything in your path. This is used quite often to break through barriers and overcome staunch enemy defences, and it rocked every single time. I found nothing more fun than watching my KO count rise by hundreds each time I did this… which maybe makes me a blood thirsty warlord but whatever, it’s fun.
Whilst this game doesn’t offer the realistic graphics of some of the similar titles, it is beautifully animated to appear as close to the manga as possible. It’s obvious much care has been taken to keep the characters and storyline true to form, which is seen through the seamless transition from cutscene to battle and vice versa. Battle animations are also beautifully done, and shines through brightest when playing as Daryun, Arslan’s pole wielding right hand man. Sweeping arcs cut through enemies in one swift, smooth blow with no jolting or staggered animations. It truly showcases the dance of battle as wankerish as that may sound.
I started Arslan: The Warriors of Legend expecting a re-skin of a Dynasty Warriors game, but it’s so much more. Boasting depth of narrative, seamless animations and gameplay mechanics that are easily picked up, not to mention tonnes of fun, this is one game I can see myself sinking many more hours into.