Land of Legends (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, January 19, 2006

Graphics: 5.00
Sound: 5.25
Gameplay: 8.50
Replays: 8.00

Land of Legends is a fantasy themed turn based strategy game that will unfortunately be overlooked by many gamers. Simply because the graphics are more in the vein of a handheld strategy title than most mass marketed PC ones, many people will look past the game without even giving it a chance. And that would be a mistake, as the game is a very in depth strategy titles that fans of the genre will absolutely eat up. Provided you can look past the relatively simple exterior, a very enjoyable experience awaits.

The basic story in Land of Legends revolves around eight unique races fighting for supremacy in a world corrupted with evil. While this concept is fairly simple, each race has four missions and its own storyline that will keep you involved. Also, each race’s story is connected to the other in various ways, and everything fits into the game world. I was also quite pleased with the mission structure. Races must be played in order, but once the third mission of a particular race is completed, the first one of the next race is also unlocked. This makes it so you have an extra mission to play in case you get stuck on the current one, and it is a nice feature. But if you get bored with the single player story missions, there is still more to do. Tiny Hero Game Studios has included a Skirmish mode (either against the computer or a friend), as well as online play that includes stat tracking and matchmaking. A lot of work was put into making this a multi and single player experience, and it shows in the quality of the final product.

Players are eased into the game through the use of tutorials that will initiate them with every aspect of the game. The essentials are as follows though. Basically, at the beginning of each mission you are given winning and losing conditions to take into consideration. Using available resources (in this case just money), players can create various units to use. You begin with one big capital city, and must take over others in order to steadily increase your cash flow and eliminate enemy opposition. This is done by putting units on a neutral or enemy city square on the map and waiting a few turns for your units to take over. Based on the stats of the unit(s) you use, a city may be conquered in a certain number of turns. All the while, players will have to be worrying about enemy forces to take on, as well as using many of the 70 unique abilities distributed throughout the game. This may sound like a relatively concept on paper, but when put into the confines of each mission it comes out pretty tough at times. The typical mission will last you between 20 minutes to an hour and a half, but it is possible to save your progress on a mission and resume it later. A lot of work has been put into making the game challenging yet accessible, and strategy buffs will certainly be able to get into it.

If you come into this game looking for a strong presentation or storyline, then chances are good that you will come out being disappointed. Land of Legends was designed more from a gameplay standpoint, as is evident by the amount of strategy one can employ with all of the special abilities and units of each different race. The in-game storyline is actually kind of cheesy and the little dialogue there is will sometimes make you laugh. You can tell that the game doesn’t take itself seriously and wasn’t meant to be an epic or anything, and if you go in understanding that the game is stellar for its game content then you may still be satisfied.

Graphically the game certainly isn’t anything to rave about. While one could say that Land of Legends has settled into its own art style, it still comes off feeling more suited for a handheld or older strategy game. Everything is rendered nicely in 2D sprites, hearkening back to games of the past. The character models used in battle displays and dialogue boxes are about average as well, and could use just a bit more detail. If I really had to compare the graphical look to something, it would be a slightly less detailed version of Advance Wars with a fantasy setting. This isn’t to say that the graphics are bad, but compared to many of the other strategy games out on the market, this one isn’t going to stand out because of it. Sound is done a bit better, with very light orchestral music that is pleasant to listen to. The music gives the game a more laid back feel, which does match the storyline.

Land of Legends is one of those games where the term substance over style has never applied better. While some people may be turned off by the dated presentation and minimal story efforts, anyone looking for an in depth turn based strategy game will not be disappointed. If you go in realizing that you will get a deep and very strategic experience, chances are that you will enjoy the game a bit more. With that being said, if you’re a graphics whore, stay far away from this title. But curious gamers and major strategy buffs will find a lot to like despite the flaws, and that’s who should go check it out.

http://www.shrapnelgames.com/Tiny_Hero/Land_of_Legends/1.htm

Overall Rating: 7.00

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