Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade ReviewCain Dornan
One of the first Role Playing titles to appear on Sonys handheld platform, Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade serves a solid experience that clearly shows the potential that Sonys sleek unit is capable of performing. A large number of essential RPG elements are present, which combine to form a worthwhile experience for almost any fan of the classic genre. However, the inclusion of a number of watered-down, weak inclusions results in disappointment for a number of different aspects of the game.
One of the immediately noticeable problems that Untold Legends suffers from is the weak, uninteresting storyline. Essentially, you control a warrior that is tasked with the job of protecting a township, known as Aven, from outside attack. Days after you are granted with this important position, the city is attacked by a horde of poisonous spiders, inflicting terror amongst the peaceful citizens, kidnapping the citys female royal member and poisoning her guardian. Naturally, you are called into duty to rid the city of the scavenging creatures and saving the precious hostage.
As luck would have it, things soon grow worst. A number of different creatures that live outside of Aven have suddenly became hostile against the once peaceful city. These creatures quickly devise large-scale offense plans to gain control of the bustling community, with the only prevention of them doing so is your mighty fighting skills.
The problem with the storyline is that it is largely uninteresting. The first problem with it is that it offers no unique variety from any other Role Playing Game currently available on the market. You are tasked with saving a township, a role that appears to form the basis of a large number of RPGs that have previously passed through our hands. The second problem is the delivery of the story and quests. Since voice acting is completely absent, the game relies heavily on text that is served by a range of different characters that you will meet throughout the quest. While there is nothing wrong with not using voice acting, the problem is that the text has been written in a boring manner using simple terms that often treat you as if you are an unintelligent child. Finally, the fact that the storyline does not offer anything particularly interesting certainly doesnt help in improving the poor excuse for a compelling storyline. When you consider that a storyline is a core component for an RPG, it quickly becomes evident that Untold Legends is lacking in an extremely important aspect.
Apart from the bland storyline, it is immediately noticeable that Untold Legends: closely resembles the popular Diablo series on the PC. The game is entirely presented in a top-down view, with the gameplay consisting largely of a hack-and-slash, button-mashing affair. A large range of medieval weaponry and clothing is available, which appropriately varies in defense rating and occasionally offers attributes to your characters skill, with the style of the weapons and clothing closely resembling Blizzards famous series. The style of the dungeons and surrounding areas are also remarkably similar to Diablo, complete with rather simple boss battles finishing almost every quest.
Four playable characters are on offer, each varying slightly in their fighting style and capabilities. The Knight, for example, is a skilled close-combat fighter that has a long history of protecting and serving the ancient township of Aven. The Alchemist, on the other hand, is the complete opposite; their great intelligence allows for them to focus more on the scientific aspects of life, although, they are still skilled warriors. The Druids are slightly more peaceful creatures, who aim to achieve complete harmony in the troubled world. Apparently, these creatures are capable of harnessing the power of the environment to perform their attacks. Finally, the most distinctive of characters available is the Berserker; furious creatures that take on a disease-infected appearance. These creatures offer powerful attacks, proving a worthwhile choice for those who favor power over skill. The collection of characters is certainly satisfying, however, additional variation between each character would have been welcomed.
Untold Legends also allows for co-operative multiplayer gaming. The game supports up to three other players to join you in your dungeon-crawling quest. Interestingly, the developer has allowed for additional players to instantly jump into your saved game, allowing you to alternatively switch between single and multiplayer gaming at your wish. While this feature does not change the games storyline, it does add some much needed variation for those who grow tired of plowing through endless dungeons on their own.
Adding some slight depth to character customization, the game incorporates a skill tree, which can be enhanced as your character proceeds onto each level. As your character becomes increasingly more skilled, you will be able to enhance such aspects of your skills as archery, melee attacks, dual-wield and counter attack. These additional skills allows for needed depth in the battle system, in addition to customizing your character so that they have your preferred fighting style.
Visually, Untold Legends suffers from a regular white-dot or flickering of environments during gameplay, in particular during the dungeon-crawling levels. While these graphical flaws do not prevent the game from being effectively played, it does become annoying white a cluster of small white dots decide to appear on-screen on a regular basis. Apart from this flaw, however, Untold Legends graphical are of a satisfactory level. While they are not the most impressive seen on the PSP so far, they do provide an atmospheric world that offers a solid amount of detail. Environments, in particular during outdoor ventures, offer a varied variety of objects that change according to the area in which you are in. Unfortunately, the simplistic character designs fail to represent an immediately noticeable difference between each of the personalities that you will encounter throughout your quest.
One final annoying problem with Untold Legends is the extensive loading times. While they only occur when moving into new areas, the time taken to load such areas is quite long. The load times never dip below 30 seconds in length, allowing you plenty of time to walk to the kitchen, grab a drink and consume it before the game has finally finished its time-consuming deed. The simple truth is that we want to play the game, and not spend half a bus trip waiting for each subsequent area to load.
While it does have its fair share of flaws, Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade is a solid portable RPG experience that is a notable stepping-stone in the PSPs growing RPG genre. The game is certainly enjoyable, however, a more engrossing and unique storyline would certainly have aided in making this title a more notable experience.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.