I’m going to be honest: I had actually no idea what game I was getting when my editor told me that I was to review this game. I knew the title, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, and that it was for my Xbox One; I knew absolutely nothing else. I was happy to see some very anime inspired artwork when I started the game, and even more excited to see Koei Tecmo’s name flash on the screen after the gorgeous wallpaper. Once I saw that logo, I knew exactly what I was in for. Now I’m not an expert in these hack an slash type of games, but I do enjoy them from time to time. I’m not that guy who unlocks everything for each character and each weapon, I just enjoy swinging a spear and hurling hundreds of enemies to their doom with one attack. I also knew that I would get lost on the map and lose campaigns if they were timed. Thankfully they weren’t, so I enjoyed Arslan a bit more than other Koei Tecmo games.
The game has a pretty hum drum story, based on a Japanese fantasy novel set that began in 1986. You start off in a huge battle playing as young prince Arslan, who is only fourteen years old. He learned how fight at the young age of eleven, trained by the best to be the best. During this training you learn the control scheme, which is fairly easy. “X” is normal attack, “Y” is special attack, “A” is jump, “B” is special move, “RB” is a special attack that begins a huge chain combo, and “LB” is block. Pretty simple, right? I think so. Anyway, back to the story. Basically, something horrible happens during this battle that changes this young prince’s life forever. After the battle, he finds himself kingdom-less, army-less, and most likely parent-less. Even alone, he must find a way to gather forces and regain control of his lost kingdom.
In battle you get to ride a horse a lot, which helps getting from destination to destination, but it’s is pretty useless in battle. There were scenarios when I had to kill a certain general, and seeing as the game has no “lock on” option, killing them on a horse was a tough feat. You have to keep circling and circling until he finally dies from being trampled. I found it easier to get off the horse with “A,” kicked some enemy ass, then get back on the horse by holding “A.” Being on the horse does have some pretty cool battle perks, though; The coolest being “Rush” mode. When you find a “Rush” area, you can pull down on the right trigger and basically swarm your army over anything in your path. I was taking walls down, shielded troops, whole battalions; It was amazing to do, and even better to see. Those were some of my favorite parts of the battles. Nothing says fun like galloping over the bodies of your enemies, right?
As you gaze upon this game while playing it, you’ll get the feeling of being in an anime episode. The visuals are gorgeous and carry throughout the entire game. Cut scenes and actual gameplay look almost identical, and I found myself just sitting there on my horse before I realized it was my turn to play. This is a game that will require you do a lot of reading, though, as there are no English voice-overs–just Japanese. But maybe if I play this enough, I’ll pick up some useful Japanese terms.
The whole style of Arslan is just amazing, and I’m pretty sure it is going to get me into anime. Now if I just had any idea which anime to begin with. The only thing that really turned me off were the controls. While they’re easy, I would lag a lot or perform combos too slowly when pressing certain buttons. I also disliked the repetitiveness of this game; This is the part of the series that keeps me from becoming fully engrossed in all of Koei Tecmo’s incarnations of this formula. There are only so many generals I can kill before I get bored.
The hack and slash genre really has never been my cup of tea. I enjoy dabbling in them every now and then, but I don’t wait on baited breath for new ones. If you are a fan of this type of game, the Dynasty Warriors series and its clones that Koei Tecmo punches out, then by all means pick this title up. It will whet your whistle for some time. If you are a fan of anime or like to dabble in hack and slash, I would pick this title up as well, but it really isn’t something to write home to Mom about. I did enjoy my time with it, and I’m sure I will play it every now and then, but it isn’t a game that will draw me back every day. It does make me very excited for Koei Tecmo’s soon to be released Attack on Titan game. That is one anime I’ve seen, and I can’t wait to take down some titans.
An Xbox One code for Arslan: The Warriors Of Legend was provided by Koei Tecmo for the purpose of this review