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PAX 08: Legendary

PAX 2008

Legendary, a first person shooter from the indie publisher Gamecock, was shown off at E3 to surprising fanfare. While the production values are below triple-A status, it’s clear that a lot of care has gone into it. I hadn’t had a chance to play the game; however, word of mouth was quite good. With that in mind, I awaited my turn with anticipation.

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The level I was shown starts off in London. Deckard, the main character, is fighting an invasion of monsters that he accidentally unleashed by opening Pandora’s Box. Using his rune-inscribed hand, Deckard can absorb energy from the monsters he kills and send them back into the box. The absorbed energy can then be used to perform attacks against other enemies or to heal. I started in a small alley with a few shotgun bullets. Fighting through the alley, I traded bullets with a group of soldiers who want to use the monsters for their own gain, as well as the monsters themselves. Werewolves clamber over walls, jump out of windows, and sneak up behind you in a genuinely impressive display of enemy AI – I started the level three times and didn’t see the same attack pattern once.

The actual combat is shaping up well, too. The demo shown at E3 focused more on puzzles and platforming than actual combat, but the stage on offer at PAX was a fairly straightforward action romp. The gunfire is appropriately loud, fitting with the action-movie feel the game attempts to give off, and impressive effects like soldiers being torn limb-from-limb by angry werewolves were sickeningly awesome. To use the phrase “over the top” to describe Legendary would be like calling The Dark Knight “a good movie.” Even though the production values are clearly below the industry benchmark, the amount of effort that went into it shines through spectacularly. While being attacked by a particularly ravenous wolfman, I literally found myself swearing out loud – with the demonstrators present, no less. The atmosphere is perfect, so moments like that are incredibly tense – the relief and amusement I felt when I finally managed to jam my shotgun into the offender’s mouth and pull the trigger was insurmountable.

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With the amount of praise Legendary received at E3 with only the heavily scripted tutorial level on display, it’s pleasing to see the rest of the game is shaping up excellently as well. Legendary is set for release soon, and it looks like it may just be the sleeper hit of the season.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in October 2006.

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