For years, aliens, zombies, mutants, and other guys with guns have dominated the shooter genre. Now Legendary aims to show that fantasy can be just as scary as science fiction. You play as Deckard, an art thief unwittingly hired to open Pandora’s Box and release mythological monsters on the modern world. The creatures you face aren’t limited to Greek stories; the game draws from Jewish, Japanese, and Slavic legends. But when you’re facing a colossal golem animated from the debris of ruined buildings and rampaging through the streets of New York, it’s hard to care that it never appeared in Homer’s writings.
From raging minotaurs to evil fairies that possess inanimate objects, the monsters are well-animated and use a variety of tactics and the scenery against you, making each fight feel unique. Trying to gun everything down is a mistake even with your ever-growing arsenal, and many times you’ll need to shoot while on the run from superior numbers. But the variety is lacking—with all of mythology to choose from, Legendary still saddles you with fights against commandos with machine guns. The plot and dialogue are cheesy, with groan-inspiring lines like “We thought it was the end of the world. But it was only the beginning.” The writing would be more forgivable if the gameplay was considerably better.
The game’s attempt to throw in movement puzzles when your character can only hop over the tiniest of obstacles is another recipe for frustration. You can summon a compass that indicates your next objective, but when it points you somewhere that’s unreachable until an external force opens the way, it drives home how linear Legendary is.
Beyond the game: Spark’s last foray into shooters was the Nazi-fighting February release Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty.
Worth playing for: Getting to blast your way through your old mythology textbook.
Frustration sets in when: A werewolf stands up again because the aiming system just isn’t good enough for you to decapitate him properly.
Final judgment: Legendary isn’t the most involved or technically excellent shooter to come out this season—Left 4 Dead and Gears Of War 2 outclass it. But it’s a fun change of pace with some extremely satisfying combats.