"Below Average Hack and Slasher"

I don't know what it is about system launches. For some reason, I feel the need to buy games I wouldn't bat an eye at three years into the systems life. I was one of the first in line for the PSP launch despite the lack of any games that I just HAD to have. It was mainly an investment in the future. The one game I did pick up though, was Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade. I always enjoyed hack and slashers to a point, and this was a spinoff of the great Champions of Norrath series so how bad could it be? I went in not really expecting a killer game, just one to hold me off until the PSP really starts cranking out AAA titles. Needless to say, I got what I expected. A serviceable, yet slightly below average hack and slasher.

Like I hinted at in the opening paragraph, it's a straight out hack and slash with alot of collecting. You start out by selecting your class from four options. Druid, Knight, Alchemist and Berserker. The shallow class choices are even more of a letdown when you discover that the Druid and Alchemist, and the Knight and Berserker are just variations of eachother. Another pain in the ass is that you cannot choose your gender for the different classes. Knight and Druid are male. While Alchemist and Berserker are females.

Once you are done with your shallow character selection the real game begins. You wake up to screaming, only to discover the town is being overrun by giant spiders. Of course the task to clean up the town falls on you. You start hacking your way through the spiders until you are sent to kill them at their source. Once this task is done you get to venture out of the town and take on bigger quests and monsters.

The basic meat of the game goes like this. Talk to person A, go to place X, kill boss monster C, collect item W and return to person A. Rinse and repeat. It's not that this is a bad setup. It's just that's all it is. There is really no exploration to be found in the game. Your path to your objective is set in stone and while you can venture off on other paths, you won't get very far before you hit a dead end.

The combat itself is very straight forward. Hit Square until the baddies dead, occasionally throwing in L to heal. The strategy really doesn't change throughout the game until you hit a couple bosses that will disappear off the map and reappear. The button placement of the heal button is annoying. You don't know how many times I wanted to tilt the cameras and wasted a health potion instead. This game won't be remembered for it's epic boss fights as most of them are just variations of smaller enemies. Magic is more of the same bag. Use your staff, pick your spell and fire. Upgrades can be earned as you progress through the levels, such as dual wielding, more powerful attacks, combos, etc. Basic stuff all around.

The game doesn't offer up too much of a challenge either. It is fairly easy and I only died when being ganged up on by 6 or 7 enemies early in the game. It has a average length. On a console I would probably find it a bit short but the 10 to 15 hour length is acceptable on a portable system. None of the missions are very long and can be completed in 10 to 20 minutes.

One last gripe about the gameplay. The game features an in game map. Not really a problem except for the fact that it is a map of the entire dungeon you are in with all the bosses and locations mapped out. It really kills the exploration portion of the game.

What can you say about a first generation PSP game? The graphics are decent, and i'll cut some slack considering it's release in the consoles life span. The default camera is tilted back so you can't see much detail anyways. The dungeons are randomly generated, something I hate because it makes everything so generic looking. UL is no different. All the environments(with the exception of the dreamspace) are incredibly bland looking. The framerate stutters in a few places. Nothing to the point of being unplayable though.

The music consists of fairly generic sounding fantasy tunes and it does sound good coming out of the PSP's speakers but that's more of a tribute to the PSP than Untold Legends.

Closing Comments
Untold Legends is your basic hack and slash. It offers absolutely nothing new or creative and it is a shadow of it's PS2 counterparts. If your looking for Diablo 2 in the PSP, this is not it. If your just looking for a decent PSP game, you could do worse as well as doing alot better.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 05/11/05

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