Review by dutch206

"Legend: Hand of God"

DESCRIPTION: "Legend: Hand of God". A single-player game made by Valu-soft/THQ. Genre: adventure/RPG [hack and slash]. (See package for minimum system requirements.)

Your character comes with name and gender already selected. After the brief introduction FMV, you are allowed to choose two of the following five character classes: Warrior, Villain, Wilderness, Magic, and Priest. Each two-class combination has its own special name. (For example, warrior plus priest equals 'paladin'.) The 'villain' in this case does not refer to an evil character, but to the fact that 'villain' is the medieval term for a thief/rogue. 'Wilderness' refers to a character who is good with bows.

GAMEPLAY: Valu-soft/THQ didn't see a need to re-invent the wheel here. The gameplay is very similar to Diablo 2 and WOW by Blizzard Entertainment. Controls are very similar, health potions are red, mana potions are blue, dungeons and treasures are randomly generated, quest givers have exclamation points over their know the drill. The keyboard commands and mouse commands are fully mapable, so you can customize the controls to suit your own style of play.

Unlike Diablo 2, you are able to adjust the camera angle in a 360 degree radius. However, you can't adjust the height of the camera, which means you can't see far into the distance. This has the effect of limiting the range of missile attacks and spells.

The game is very different in one respect: Your cursor is a sprite who doubles as a light source. She also makes comments from time to time, some of which are helpful. (Such as shouting "run!" when you reach one-quarter health.) The best part of this is that you can send your sprite over to check out a dark corner without having to walk over there yourself.

To me, the best part of the game interface is the mini-map in the upper right-hand corner. Not only does it show you an overhead view of the terrain, but people and monsters show up on the map as well. Hostile creatures are red dots, non-storyline characters are grey dots, merchants are green dots, and quest-related characters are gold dots. This helps a great deal in figuring out where you need to go and how to get there.

Similar to Diablo 2's waypoint system, the game areas contain large black standing stones called 'runestones'. Once activated, you can travel between any two runestones in the game. Also, you should be aware of the fact that if you save and exit the game, the monsters regenerate. When you resume the game, you will appear next to the runestone closest to where you exited the game. Runestones will not activate if a monster is nearby.

STORY: You are Targon, the only resident of a monastery to survive a demon attack uninjured. Your master survived as well, but he is too injured to travel. Your master knows how to close the demonic gateway and sends you off to recover the Hand of God, an artifact of immense power. As you travel, you see that monsters have overrun the land and many of the locals are in need of your help. Helping these locals results in side-quests, which can gain you experience and sometimes items. (Again, if you are familiar with Adventure/RPG games, you know the drill here.)

GRAPHICS AND SOUND: I am playing the original release version of this game, so my comments reflect this fact. Some owners of this game have reported crash-to-desktop errors when playing this game with Windows Vista 64-bit (Service Pack 1). I personally have not experienced any crashes, lags, or graphics glitches. The graphics and sound settings are customizable, as is common with most video games. The sound effects and creature noises are inventive, but the music is totally generic.

REPLAYABILITY: High. There are three difficulty levels and ten possible character class combinations. Also, the dungeons and treasures are randomly generated. The only low-point is that there are only 30 types of monsters in the game.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: According to the Game FAQs rating system, I give this game a rating of 6. It isn't a bad game, but it is hardly what I would call original. The sound track is generic, and the game has a very familiar feel to it. On the one hand, this makes Legend easy to learn if you have played similar games in the past. On the other hand, if you aren't a big fan of the hack-and-slash genre, you won't find anything of interest in this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 08/04/08

Game Release: Legend: Hand of God (US, 08/01/08)

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