GAMES - Review
09:41 - 22nd June 2016, by David West

Arslan: The Warriors Of Legend

Adapted from the anime adapted from the manga that’s based on an ancient Persian tale, Arslan: The Warriors Of Legend is the story of the conflict between the kingdoms of Pars and Lusitania, and the rise of the young prince Arslan from timid teen to hero. The game employs the same 1 vs 1000 gameplay format as the Dynasty Warriors and One Piece: Pirate Warriors series. There are two modes of play – Story Mode allows players to experience the plot of season one of the anime The Heroic Legend Of Arslan. In this mode, the storyline determines which character you control in which scene, while Free Play lets the player battle through the various scenarios using any character of their choice, including two antagonists from the series, as well as playing the Extra Scenarios, which are scenes from the manga not included in the anime.

This is no open world scenario – it’s a linear plot, so there’s no room to produce different outcomes. The battles are interspersed with some quite lengthy cut scenes where the story plays out and the game faithfully reproduces the beautiful artwork of Hiromu Arakawa, creator of Fullmetal Alchemist and the artist behind the Arslan manga. Arakawa’s style is unmistakeable ,and one of the key characters, blond haired, golden eyed Etoile, bears more than a passing resemblance to one Edward Elric.
The battle scenes are very much in the button-mashing tradition of the Warriors titles, with endless hordes of hapless soldiers to be clobbered, and periodic boss battles to provide more of a challenge. The PS4 version, reviewed here, has smooth flowing battles, and different characters have distinct strengths of their own. Arslan slowly grows in power and ability as he progresses, while the dashing Daryun is ferocious right from the get-go. Stick him a horse with a spear in his hand and watch as the minions faster than dominos in an earthquake.

Other characters, like the page Elam and the fanservice-providing priestess Farangis, favour the bow over the spear or sword, and are most effective when picking off enemies at a distance. The most distinctive fighting style belongs to the strategist Narsus, who wields a paintbrush on the battlefield to colourful effect, giving new meaning to the words Art Attack.

The game has a modest RPG element in the form of the Weapon Arts that allow players to develop each character’s combo strikes, but it’s first and foremost an action title. Despite all the bladed weapons being slashed and stabbed into opponents, Arslan is a bloodless affair and defeated enemies are recorded as Knockouts, not Kills, which helps keep the tone family friendly even when Daryun impales a target with his spear and then spins them around to clobber anyone else close at hand. The game rewards offensive tactics and most of the time there’s little need to use the characters’ defensive possibilities. The game’s biggest weakness is repetitiveness, with huge swathes of hapless foes rushing forwards to be dispatched like so many lemmings. That said, it employs a tried and tested formula with skill!

Arslan: The Warriors Of Legend faithfully follows the blueprint for a Warriors title. Adding an encyclopaedia of Arslan’s world is a nice touch, while the design work, based on Arakawa’s drawings, is very appealing – but the linear plot and thumb-numbing battles represent the shortcomings of the Warriors format.
SCORE: 3.5/5
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