Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chaos Legion

You call it repetitive? I call it genius.
Review By Chiquita
Whoever says Chaos Legion is a rip-off of Devil May Cry or is even related to Devil May Cry is an absolute idiot. Sure, they were both made by Capcom, and sure, they both feature a sword-swinging male lead who slashes through countless foes in Gothic environments, but that's basically where the similarities end. The Zelda games also have a male character whose weapon of preference is a sword, but do you see people saying Devil May Cry is a rip-off of the Legend of Zelda? NO!

Devil May Cry focused on chaining stylish moves together in order to gain more “experience” from your enemies. Devil May Cry required lots of strategy, forcing you to look at your enemies and learn their strengths and weaknesses. Chaos Legion, on the other hand, requires you to mash the Square Button over and over and over and over again, with the occasional break to summon monsters (Legions) and use their abilities, and jump to avoid enemy attacks. Chaos Legion simply puts your button mashing abilities to the test. Plus, the enemies are dumb, unlike Devil May Cry, where the enemies were overwhelming, unbelievably powerful and extremely adept in the art of combat. The enemies in Chaos Legion are tough due to their vast numbers and the way they crowd around you, beating away at your main character without mercy.

That's not to say that Chaos Legion is a bad game. Chaos Legion is by far the best hack n' slash out there. This game is not Devil May Cry, and is far more similar to the Dynasty Warriors franchise. In both games, you are faced with constant waves of enemies armies, with your only weapon being a simple weapon combo. Sure, both games threw in a few extra moves to grab your attention, but for the most part, that basic weapon combo turned out to be your best friend when you were in trouble and in need of clearing a crowd of vicious adversaries. Chaos Legion essentially takes any Dynasty Warrior game and adds Legions, or monsters that you can call to aid you in battle.

In Chaos Legion, you play Sieg. He and his two best buddies Selia and Victor Delacroix are part of some Holy Court who, one day, tried to stop some dark god from being released into the world. Sadly, Selia died in the process. Victor became all angry with her death, blaming it on Sieg. From here, Victor's anger turned into insanity and he decided to bring Selia back to life by uniting the World of the Dead (where Selia is) with the World of the Living (where Victor is). To do this, he goes about the world finding the Three Glyphs which will summon the worlds once and for all. Sieg is chosen by the Holy Court to stop Victor using the help of these things called Legions, which are fiery blue demonic creatures who seem to be the world's last hope for survival.

The story of Chaos Legion is actually quite good when compared to other action games. The story has a very dark tone to it, and there are no moments of humor or light-hearted chit chat throughout the whole thing. Sieg's determination to stop Victor really fleshes his character out, and Victor plays a great villain, though I wish he could lose the Sephiroth-like hair.

Chaos Legion takes place over 14 levels of mindless button mashing. Do any of these 14 puzzles contain a single puzzle? No. Moments of peaceful exploration? No. It's simple formula consists of charging into a room, slaughtering everything in there, and proceeding onto the next room in order to slay everything there. The only real strategy involves picking your Legions, staying alive, and finding who to slash to bits first. It's a lot more fun that it sounds. Most people find the game too repetitive due to the fact that your combat options are fairly limited. But under its supposedly boring veneer Chaos Legion packs a lot of RPG substance and customization, thanks to its legions.

By the time you're halfway through Chaos Legion's 14 stages you'll have an army of Legions, all of which come from crests. Each Legion comes with stats that determine attack, defense, the number of Legions that belong to that crest, etc. and moves which are handed down to Sieg when that Legion's crest is equipped. For instance, equip the sword-wielding Legion and Sieg's basic 4-hit combo gains two extra hits to become a more powerful 6-hit combo. When a Legion is not summoned, they give Sieg some sort of neat ability. Like the bomb Legion gives Sieg “Crimson Carnage,” a move that allows Sieg to kick bombs at all the enemies in front of him. When a Legion is summoned, they can either be put on a passive mode where they stand close to Sieg or an attack mode where each Legion simply acts on its own, attacking enemies at will.

With all this customization, one might think there is no need for Sieg to carry around different weapons, because Sieg only has one weapon for the entire game – a standard sword. This is one of Chaos Legion's greatest flaws. It would have been great if Sieg could slash his enemies down with his sword, then switch to a powerful battleaxe and cut his enemies down to size once more as they get back up, then maybe unload some clips of ammo using a pair of pistols. Unfortunately Capcom decided one weapon was enough for Sieg.

The controls of Chaos Legion are very near perfect. However, I have a gripe about the “lock-on” button that Chaos Legion has. Unlike other games, where locking on has you focus on one particular enemy, Chaos Legion's lock on has Sieg fire a thunderbolt at an enemy. When you press the R1 Button, Sieg's faces that enemy. It sounds great on the surface, but when you consider Chaos Legion has you up against dozens and dozens of bloodthirsty enemies at a time, the lock on button is virtually useless. I'm aware of the fact that each stage has certain “target” enemies which need to be defeated in order to progress to the next room, but Sieg swings his sword expertly and efficiently and controlling the direction of where he swings is no problem either. If it were up to me, this button would have instead been a special attack button.

Chaos Legion is also a very tough game to beat, even though it isn't very long at all. I completed Chaos Legion's Normal Mode and beat the first few stages on Hard Mode just by renting this game. I wouldn't recommend buying it if you want a game that will keep you busy for a long time, not only because Chaos Legion is short, but also because it is pretty hard to look at.

When it comes to graphics, Chaos Legion isn't downright terrible. However, a lot of stages use the same environments, which aren't the prettiest things to look at. Expect a lot of drab grays, browns, and greens as you make your way through the game's empty ruins, forests, and caves. The enemy and character models look great though, and there is zero slowdown found within the game, even with its alarming number of on-screen baddies.

If there was any music in Chaos Legion, I missed it. In fact, you will too if you play this game. Yes, there is music, but Sieg's sword makes a very loud “Kish! Kish! Kish!” sound as it collides with enemies, so loud that it drowns out every tune you might expect to hear. Couple that with the shrieks and grunts enemies make as you beat the crap out of them, and you've got one hell of train wreck when it comes to the musical aspect of Chaos Legion.

Chaos Legion is not Devil May Cry. It never was, and never will be. It is, however, great competition for any other hack n' slash that the gaming world will bring forth. It's certainly not boring, and for you hardcore gamers, it's got an extra character and the usual set of unlockables. For those of you who want to kill some time over the weekend playing a great game, Chaos Legion is definitely worth a look.

Pros and Cons:
+Better than average story
+The ability to customize Legions
+Fun hack n' slash action
-Repetitive stages and graphics
-No audible music

SYSTEM: PlayStation 2, PC



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