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Koei Tecmo and Omega Force drop another entry in their “Musuo” series. This time it’s based on the Heroic Legend of Arslan franchise.
Arslan: the Warriors of Legend brings the 1980’s novel, the Heroic Legend of Arslan to life. The game is created by Koei Tecmo’s studio Omega Force, which is the driving force behind the Dynasty Warriors series. While Omega Force delivers good or even great games in their own series, they shine even brighter when they develop third party games. Games like; One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, Hyrule Warriors, Dragon Quest heroes, and now, Arslan: the Warriors of Legend.
Omega Force’s formula is simple, they give us a few heroes to control and a thousand enemies to destroy. While this formula can be repetitive and sometimes even downright boring it still works for most of their titles. Arslan is such a title, Omega Force’s formula is perfect for a game adaption of the anime and it looks stunning.
Since I’m not familiar with the book, manga or anime it’s hard for me to be hyped like fans of the series would be. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Omega Force’s previous games, but Arslan is a whole new setting in a land unfamiliar to me.
What is Arslan: The Warriors of Legend?
Originally written as a novella in the late 1980’s, the Heroic Legend of Arslan has been adapted to manga and anime numerous times, with the most prominent being the 2013 release of a manga series by famed illustrator Hiromu Arakawa (the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist). It tells the story of the young crown prince of Pars, Arslan, as he is forced out of his kingdom when his father, the king, is betrayed and defeated and his domain conquered.
Arslan and his few companions must re-assemble an army and fight against overwhelming odds to regain his throne and liberate his kingdom. Through his exploits he reaches emotional maturity, while the series also tackles underlying issues of slavery, religious fanaticism, betrayal, and humanity.
What makes Arslan: The Warriors of Legend unique?
The game adaptation of this magnificent story seamlessly blends the fast paced tactical action gameplay indicative of the Warriors franchise with a stunningly engaging narrative. Using cell-shaded graphics and basing all character designs on the anime series.
The game is keeping close to the spirit of the rebooted anime and manga version illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa and incorporates a new type of action – the Mardan Rush. This action is designed to match the setting of ‘The Heroic Legend of Arslan’, the Mardan Rush allows players to wipe out large numbers of enemies by taking control of special ‘Rush’ units (mounted, ranged, or melee) and dealing devastating damage. The Rush attacks are mostly used to destroy blockades and large groups of enemies.
The game also features new unique battle moves for each character, like the Chain Strike and Weapon Arts. As the story progresses, all playable characters will gain access to different weapon types (bows, swords, spears and more) and Weapon Arts to upgrade and customize your weapons. Chain Strike allows for a real time switch between your characters available weapons while executing a power attack, which brings more variety to the action and can be used to accumulate higher combos.
Now that we have had enough information on the world of Arslan and its unique features, it’s time to talk about gameplay. Like mentioned before Omega Force have used their well know “Musou” formula for Arslan. The game lets you fight dozens, and dozens of enemies, while you’re playing as one of the key characters from the Arslan Anime. Fans of Omega Force’s games will have no trouble getting into Arslan and the team yet again delivers a highly enjoyable game for fans.
The game can be played in Co-op and that’s just what I did. I’ve played previous “Musou” games with my significant other, and while she rides around on her horse (mashing the square button), I will make it my quest to slay as many enemies as possible. This is pretty satisfying. I can have the opportunity to destroy enemies and worry about objectives, while she has fun on a horse and accidentally kills some enemies. The only problem I had with Arslan’s Co-op feature is the fact that every time you completed a mission player 2 would have to join again. However, that’s not a big problem, it’s just a small detail. My significant other has a tendency to fall asleep, or randomly decides it’s time for bed, which made this “problem” more of a relief.
Combos and fighting in Arslan, and all other “Musou” games, can be done easily and once you have mastered one character, all the others are just a piece of cake. You can combine normal and power attacks to create a combo, but just mashing square button (normal attack) will suffice. Once you’ve filled you special meter you can do a special attack, which will deliver quite some damage to your opponents.
The story is quite interesting and highly enjoyable, even though I’ve never watched the show or read the manga. The story is told via beautifully drawn images and in-engine cut scenes, which gives the game a more anime style finish. I even might have found a new show to watch.