It’s a match made in heaven. Take a popular novel series that based on fantasy medieval warfare, and mix it with Dynasty Warriors tried-and-true, hack-and-slash gameplay, and you create something special. The result is Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, an entertaining brawler that’ll have players craving the battlefield once again.
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend
Developed by Omega Force \ Published by Koei Tecmo
Available on the PC, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. Reviewed on the PS4.
*Review code provided by Koei Tecmo
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is based off the popular Japanese fantasy novel series The Heroic Legend of Arslan (also adapted into an anime and manga), which tells the story of a young prince fighting to take back his kingdom after a betrayal has unseated his father the King and has left the land of Pars to a new army. The game provides an abridged version of the tale told in the animated series, taking players through the main experience and covering the most important events and craziest battles in the epic series. The game does a very good job at going over it too, allowing players new to the series to appreciate the plot and the vast cast of characters through animated cutscenes.
When it comes to playing however, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is a pure Dynasty Warriors experience, with little to no variation from its predecessors. This isn’t a bad thing though, as it’s quite an enjoyable experience that’s only highlighted by a richer plot and fantastic anime-inspired visuals. As expected, players step into the shoes of one of the many characters from the series as they take to the field and battle against hundreds of soldiers at the same time, completing a variety of objectives in order to win battles and finish missions. Players have their standard attacks, charged attacks and combos to clear out enemies, as well as special attacks that’ll either clear out a ton of enemies in the immediate vicinity or deal major damage to a single foe. Players can also switch between weapons at any time to create unique combos and maximize damage output, as well as ride a horse to move about quickly through large, outdoor maps.
Unique to the game are skill cards, which players collect in the battlefield and equip to improve their stats, like damage, defense, etc., in addition to the typical level up systems. There are different rarities to the cards, so getting the best ones are a matter of completing difficult tasks, and players can stack cards of the same kind to reap even more benefits and make their characters stronger than ever.
Another new feature in the game is the Mardān Rush, which allows players to take control of a mass of soldiers and destroy enemies or obstacles with powerful attacks. Once activated in specific spots on the map known as Heat areas, players can lead the large group of soldiers on horseback or on foot, or have static archers rain hundreds of arrows from above, causing massive damage to a large group of enemy soldiers, as well as destroy barriers that can keep you from progressing forward. The Rush system is a nice touch, as it gives the typical hack-and-slash combat a grander sense of scale.
Other than those features, the rest of Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is pretty standard, with a couple of game modes to keep you busy for a while. The game features a story mode, which as previously mentioned takes you through the main plot, and a Free Mode allows players to select from the unlocked characters freely and do battle in previously played maps and gain some other perspectives on the action. The game also features an online mode, so players can cooperate together as they take on the main story missions or action from Free Mode.
While there’s not a lot that’ll separate it from the typical Dynasty Warriors experience, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is a welcome addition to the genre, bringing along an entertaining franchise and its colorful cast of characters to the world of hack-and-slash. A couple more modes and new additions would have been nice, but so far it’s a fun brawler that’ll keep fans of both the source material and Omega Force busy, while newcomers will have a good old time.