Arslan: The Warriors of Legend Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD


It’s funny how you sometimes ignore the most obvious of ideas before someone else finally comes up with them. Until I saw Arslan: Warriors of Legend, not once did a thought of combining the Warrriors franchise with anime cross my mind. I’m not sure why is that so, because it’s pretty obvious it’s a brilliant pairing if executed correctly. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, Arslan: Warriors of Legend is a combination of the two formats, and for the most part, it works quite well.


It’s a Warriors game alright.

I would like to point out at the very start, however, that not every Warriors fan will enjoy this particular title. In almost all previous offerings, the notion of a story represented a fairly loose historic thread that served as an excuse for all the epic clashes in-between. Not to mention the more-often-than-not obnoxious dialogue peppered throughout the levels. Here, though, it’s practically all about the story, which follows the events depicted in the titular manga/anime. This means that Arslan: Warriors of Legend has more believable characters, a solid plot and doesn’t allow the player quite as much freedom when it comes to playable sections as one may expect. If you’re wondering if I’m at odds with this game, you are very much correct in your suspicions.

It’s not that I’m unhappy to play a story-focused Warriors title – quite the contrary! Arslan is a very welcome change of pace compared to its predecessors, and seeing levels that focus on retelling specific events as they took place in the anime is quite interesting indeed. No, my issue with this is that it feels as if Koei Tecmo are feeling out new terrain and, as you will surely be able to attest should you play the game, haven’t really gone through with it. For example, one of the introductory sequences has Arslan helping a young prisoner escape because of reasons. This ‘level’ consists only of a couple of disturbingly empty streets and some rooftops across which players have to jump. It’s clearly supposed to be a city of sorts, but never does it feel any more realistic than Warriors battlefields usually do. Having said that, I’m all for Koei Tecmo trying out new things and Arslan may well be ushering a new era for the developer. Here’s hoping they dedicate more seriously to their future story-focused projects.


The graphics are actually pretty nice.

Naturally, there are changes in other areas as well. For example, Arslan offers a comparatively puny roster of characters to play with – just about a dozen or so. This is in stark contrast to the rest of their projects where numbers sometimes rise close to a hundred, which implies a wholly different approach to things from the developers’ end in return. I feel as if, whereas usually Warriors is a huge grind to max out your favourite character, farm out all the best equipment and mounts and whatnot while having fun, this game doesn’t quite work like that. It’s more of a fan service than anything else, which is kind of jarring when you see that the storyline stops dead at a certain point – the anime/manga isn’t even completed yet. With that in mind, I cannot help but think that this is directed towards a very different kind of gamer compared to the rest of the Warriors portfolio. To each his/her own though, of course. To compensate for the lack of characters to select from, Arslan sports a rather lengthy main story, which is bound to please any fan of the source content.

Gameplay-wise, there are some additions to the winning formula that twist the thing up a bit, but don’t expect anything too drastic. Each character has access to up to three different armaments, which range from the usual longswords and staves all the way to more interesting daggers and bows. Arslan: The Warriors of Legend encourages experimentation and combining multiple weapons into a single combo, which is interesting and makes the gameplay feel fresh for a while. I’d say this is a fair addition, but still cannot compete with the extremely expansive character rosters of the usual Warriors entries. Then there are the skill cards, which are dropped by defeated officers and can then be equipped to your characters to boost their stats a bit. Nothing ground-breaking, but the mechanic translates well to the base we’ve been given.

I do have to praise the graphics and audio this time around, because it fits the gameplay and what happens on-screen much, much better than the usual HD approach does. The mildly cel-shaded textures pop just the right way and in motion the game looks amazing when played at the highest setting. The downside is that the jagged edges are more prominent without any form of antialiasing, but this can be avoided by employing your graphics processor’s specific and specialized options. The animations in-between playable missions are well produced as well, and the whole thing feels great when you’re immersed properly. It does take a bit to get used to the cel-shaded approach if you’ve played many Warriors games before, but it’s totally worth it in the end. I would even like to suggest the developers to consider this approach to visuals in their own Warriors games. On the audio side of things, I’m also happy to say that there’s no annoying voice-over or distracting soundtrack this time around. The quality bar has been inevitably raised for Koei Tecmo, and one can only hope they’ll do so in other regards as well.

Naturally, porting to PC is a bane of this developer’s existence, and while I do feel they’ve messed up the actual framerate optimizations, I also have to applaud them for allowing the game to render at 4K, as well as 60FPS support. Not to be outdone, Koei Tecmo have also included online COOP, which I never thought I’d see in one of their games. One thing I have to keep criticising is the lack of mouse integration which is crucial on PC to say the least. Worse yet, button prompts are those of console gamepads as well. Adding insult to injury, as they say.

In conclusion, this is a mediocre Warriors game, but I believe it may well be ushering a new era for the developer. This makes me hopeful for their future projects, but I can only recommend this particular offering to fans of the anime and perhaps those who would like to see the progress Koei Tecmo have made with their PC projects. Keep it up, guys.