Review by KnightsoftheRound
"The story might be an untold legend, but the gameplay is definitely not."
Untold Legends is an action RPG hack 'n slash dungeon crawler from Sony Online Entertainment. It was in fact the first "RPG" for the PSP system. Untold Legends was actually a launch title for PSP and sold very well when compared to the rest of the launch games. Untold Legends also garnered a large amount of good feedback from players but was unable to impress reviewers among gaming sites.
RPG fans looking for an engaging story will be highly disappointed by Untold Legends. It does not put any emphasis on its story and the progression of the story is slow and rarely very interesting. There are several parts in the game where you travel to some really neat looking places with a decent reason for going, but ultimately all your missions are the same. Either find a person and return to town for rewards and more story development, or find and slay someone and return to town for rewards and more story. The bad thing is that you don't really care about the story. Sure rescuing a girl is fun every now and then (since almost every game has done this we're used to it) but dragging it out for the entire game makes you relatively uninterested. Especially when you go on quest after quest for an item to save someone and then you find out you need another item to make that item work and now this item needs it's other half, ect. The story is decent and has some neat books you can read for some back-story and some journal logs written in first person by your character that further explain where you need to go and what to do. Just don't expect a very engaging story and you'll do fine here.
At heart, Untold Legends is a very bare bones dungeon crawler. It lacks depth in its gameplay and is very linear and simplistic. Yet, for some reason it's fun to play and incredibly addictive... at the beginning. You will soon realize upon playing the game that there is no goal in your missions, since they are all the same. Even though you are given a "task" the objective is always the same. Travel to an area, fight monsters fight a slightly stronger version of one of the typical monsters, and pick up a key item, teleport back to town. Rinse and repeat for the rest of the game.
Untold Legends DOES have its fun points though. For one there are four different classes to choose from which are all different in their own right, although they do tend to play very similarly in pairs. For example the Knight and the Berserker play very similarly while the Druid and Alchemist play very similarly. Disappointingly customization is very limited with your character. You can choose from 3 skin tones, 3 hairstyles and 3 hair colours, and that's it. There is really no point of customizing your character at all because once you get a helmet you will never see your characters hair anyways. So basically all you really need to do is decided where your character is light, medium or dark skinned. You can't even choose the gender of your character either, since the classes are gender specific. The knight and druid are always men, while the alchemist and berserker are always women, respectively.
The best things about the three different classes are the skill trees. Although each class shares a few of the same abilities each skill tree is different enough from each other to keep the different classes interesting. Although none of the special moves really stand out so it's hard to find some that really make you go "wow that's a cool move". You will also end up having to generally just use 2 of the active abilities since you assign them to the circle and triangle button, which makes it so you can only use 2 at a time. But along with the active skills comes passive skills, which are extremely useful. Such as being able to carry extra items by increasing your characters "strength" for being able to carry extra weight, since each item has it's own mass which makes it so you can't carry a million different swords in your bag.
Sharing many things with Diablo/Diablo II untold legends feature a very similar level up system along with its skill tree. The best thing about levelling up in Untold Legends is that the higher level you go the more skill points you will get to put into the skills you want to level up. So eventually you will get 4 skill points per level so you can level up lot's of skills at once instead of just one.
All in all, the best thing about Untold Legends' gameplay is that it is familiar enough that even though it becomes repetitious you always feel "at home" with it, and it's really easy to just pick up and play for brief or long periods of time. It has a certain addictive element that I just can't quite put my finger on.
Graphically Untold Legends stands out, especially amongst the other launch games. Specifically since it is probably the best at resembling a PS2 game in graphical quality. The only downside to the graphics in Untold Legends is that there is a bit of tearing in certain areas, which can be irritating if you're a little fussy. But it's really something that isn't there enough to annoy you too much if that kind of thing gets on your nerves.
There are plenty of different environments to explore in Untold Legends ranging from deserts, to many different forests, to castles, dungeons, wilderness, snowy plains ect. Each environment is very detailed and interesting which gives the game a lot more personality and helps you forget about the repetitious gameplay. The character models are also very good looking and customizing your characters appearance is fun and lot's of the armor looks really cool when you put it on your character. Untold Legends is ultimately, very pleasing on the eye. One thing I do think could have been improved upon was the magic spells that you can cast. Non of them are terribly awe-inspiring when you see them, but they look decent enough, they just don't give you that "wow" factor that you can find in other types of games in this genre.
Generally pleasing to the ear Untold Legends contains plenty of enjoyable, yet forgettable music. It's actually an odd since many of the tracks are very pleasing and enjoyable to listen to, yet none of them really manage to stand out and immerse you in the music. Although there are some cool sound effects like fire burning on torches that change from one side of your earphones to the other as you move around it (if your wearing headphones) and it's really neat the first time you notice it. It is like that on the PSP speakers, but not as noticeable.
Although a very repetitious and familiar game that borrows many aspects from other games, hence the "uninspired" classification, Untold Legends is a highly enjoyable game. Something about it keeps bringing me back to it, just like Diablo and Diablo II keep brining me back to them. I think it's because so many things about this game remind me of the Diablo series that it's just fun to play it on the go. It's almost like a watered-down portable Diablo game. It's provided me with lots of entertainment of trips when I get that dungeon crawling itch that is usually satisfied after an hour or so of playing Untold Legends. Also the fact that you can play the story over as many times as you want with the same character, play multiplayer with up to four players, or play any of the four different classes Untold Legends can keep you occupied on a trip for quite some time.
It basically comes down to the following. If you love action RPG's and always get that craving to play one when your not at home or even at home but you just don't want to play the ones you have already Untold Legends fits the bill. Just remember that Untold Legends is a few steps down from games like Diablo but it can still provide you with hours of enjoyment... simple enjoyment. Untold Legends is perfect for fans of this genre, but people who are not familiar with it approach this game with caution, and I recommend renting it to see if it's your kind of game.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/11/06
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