Real Talk By: KJ
The Musou spinoffs continue. Sticking to anime adaptations, Koei is using the story of Arslan. This 14-year-old Prince is one tough feller. Leading troops into battle making hard decisions. He does what is necessary to defend the nation of Pars, as he is its rightful heir. His trusty bodyguard Daryun is a great person to have on your side, and a terror on the battlefield as well. Learning about these characters is a big part of the fun.
Subtitled cutscenes are long but interesting. The performances are good, and found myself invested in the storyline. The twists/turns, introductions to friends and foes never felt rushed. Our main character Arslan has depth, and not a spoiled brat by any means. It makes perfect sense why Koei decided to go for this tale.
Graphics are comic book style, with transitions from cutscenes to gameplay happening often. This reminded me of “Dynasty Warriors 8”, how they attempted to make it seamless. For the most part it works, because Character models impress. From a grunt, to a boss character, attention to detail is clear. Environments could still use work however.
Fighting will unlock other weapons. Switch with the D-Pad. I was happy to see that characters use the bow and arrow (for-example) differently. Other musous we would see multiple characters fighting the same regardless. While this has a smaller cast than most, each person truly feels fleshed-out. Certain levels will offer more than one character option. This isn’t by player’s choice. Hitting a certain goal in the mission with one fighter, will automatically trigger the shift.
This is one of the smoother running musou games performance-wise. I’ve rarely encountered slow-down (current gen). Gameplay remains fast, and fluid. You’ll still see ghosting enemies popping in and out from a distance, but the game has no problem shoving a bunch of people up-close. There are times when there are so many baddies on-screen, I can barely see my character. This overwhelming feeling fits well with musou series. This is war.
The Rush Zone attack gives you brief control over a large group of troops at the same time. This is one of the more enjoyable parts of the game. Players step into a huge cylinder of blue glowing energy. Literally run through soldiers. It’s definitely overkill but it looks cool.
Aside from the typical carnage, the main goals feel more important in Arslan. A scoring timer is placed on objectives. Depending on the length of time take to complete, either an D, C, B, A, or S grade will be issued. Typically if I can’t get an S ranking, going back with a better version of my character is the thing to do.
One of my main complaints is the same issue that hindered “Fist of The North Star: Ken’s Rage”. Every boss character has a sheet of armor wrapped around their life. Players have to chip-away at it, then the vitality is exposed. I’d rather face an intelligent enemy, then dealing with this long snooze-grind. Zaps some of the fun away.
Online play is a two-player set up. I was unable to find anyone (insert sad face here). I tried on several occasions to play with others, hosting and searching but to no avail. Local split-screen is here thankfully. Buying this with the intent on playing with strangers isn’t the best idea.
Campaign should take you 8 hours to complete. Replay levels with four difficulty options. Free mode lets you play any mission with whoever. I went into this game unaware of the Arslan series, and left with high interest. This is an anime I will be watching in the near future. Koei delivered on making a new title that feels like its own thing, without ignoring the fun from similar games. Hopefully the word gets out, because this is a Top 5 musou game in my opinion.
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend Gets
4 out of 5
+Smooth Combat (Rush Zone fun)
+Solid Story Mode
+Varied Cast of Characters
-Small Online Community