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11 Sep, 2005

Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade Review

PSP Review | The PSP gets it's first RPG.
When it comes to the PSP's launch there is a wide variety of genres, we've got racing games (and a hell of a lot of them), sports titles and platform titles. However, amongst the plethora of racing and sports titles there are a few under represented genres, such as fighting games and RPG's. Activision have come to the rescue with Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade, officially the PSP's first RPG title. So is this the first of hopefully many RPG's for the PSP or a title that is not worthy of your attention?

If you're an RPG fan it is unlikely that you will listen to this review, and you're likely to just rush out and buy this game, simply because there is no other choice. The Playstation 2 has a mountain of RPG's so we're surprised that this is the only one on the horizon for a while, the good news is that Untold Legends is a fairly good first attempt.

Untold Legends is developed by Sony Online Entertainment, who are mostly notable for the Everquest series, but rather than rehash this game SOE have developed an entirely new title, that still feels a little like Everquest from the outset. Initially players choose from magic fighters and then the player will also determine what equipment they will use.

Hack and Slash, you better get used to this

Hack and Slash, you better get used to this
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The game tells the story of Aven, a town that begins with a small problem (a spider infestation) and soon spirals into a large scale battle where Aven's future is threatened. The storyline is fairly generic, a lot of RPG's take pride in their storyline, in this game it definitely takes a bit of a back step.

Whilst primarily an RPG, the game could also fall under a 'hack and slash' genre, as the first few missions are just based on this. Characters can be upgraded, and when they do characters can choose a focus for their character, such as more powerful attacks. Along the way players will be able to purchase new equipment and gain special abilities.

One of the most unique features of the game is the randomly generated dungeons. Through the game no dungeon will be the same, which is supposed to create a completely different experience every time. Whilst this seems like a novelty idea, the randomly generated environments aren't as good as they could have been. This means at times there could be a completely empty dungeon for a long time, whereas at other times the player could be shrouded with monsters.

SOE have included multiplayer support, whilst the title isn't an online game there is multiplayer co-op. The multiplayer is a unique setup and puts players all on the same stage. The players have to work together to defeat all the enemies in the stage and complete the level. Each player is able to use their own created character from the story mode, so it plays out much better if players are similar in experience and skill.

The guy on the left looks like he is from Doom..

The guy on the left looks like he is from Doom..
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The gameplay in the game is fairly reliable, players are fully upgradable and the 'hack and slash' gameplay works well, later in the game players will begin to feel they are just doing the same thing over and over again, but with more power.

The loading is fairly reliable, the initial startup is easy and fluent, but sometimes the worlds will take a while to load. When there is a lot happening on screen there will sometimes be a bit of slowdown, but this only happens very occasionally.

Graphically the game looks good, the environments are fairly vibrant and large, but they aren’t very inspiring. This doesn’t mean the environments aren’t epic, they just aren’t very atmospheric, and this could have been achieved with more things happening in the town. However, overall all the characters look great and the worlds are extremely large, it is often easy to get lost in the town you’re navigating through.

The sound in the game is fairly generic, and definitely could have been better. With RPG’s we expect soundtracks that are simply epic, huge soundtracks to compliment huge games, and unfortunately the sound comes off a little flat. Some of the sound effects themselves are a little bit vague and definitely could have been better.

Now this is why i avoid going to the desert.. this and it's hot

Now this is why i avoid going to the desert.. this and it's hot
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SOE have tried to ensure the title lasts a long time and as such the game includes over 100 levels, navigating through all of these levels takes a fair amount of time, but there aren't many side quests for when you've finished the main quest. The wireless multiplayer is a big highlight of the game and is surprisingly enjoyable. Both players will require a copy of the game to play this game in multiplayer.

As we mentioned at the top of the review Untold Legends is a fairly good RPG for a first attempt. This is a franchise we expect to see more of in the future, and we’re hoping SOE can improve upon the game by adding more side quests, and making the game a little bit more original. At the moment the game can sometimes feel like a culmination of some of the best elements of other RPG’s, and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it makes the experience feel very familiar, even the first time through. However, those who are after an RPG for their PSP will settle with Untold Legends and whilst it is not a brilliant game, it is a competant RPG whilst we wait for another RPG or at least the inevitable sequel.
The Score
The PSP gets it's first RPG, we just wish it was a little more refined, this game could have been longer and provided more side quests to keep gamers entertained after the action has finished.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Activision
Developer:
  Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

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