Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is the latest title to come out of Omega Force, featuring a property that perhaps isn’t all that well known here in the West. This property is known as The Heroic Legend of Arslan, and it aims to provide a solid battlefield for players to engage upon while at the same time enjoying a deep story. Are these goals attainable, or is Arslan: The Warriors of Legend attempting to bite off more than it can chew?
The story of Arslan follows the titular prince. At the young age of 14, the crown prince Arslan is forced to step up after one of the worst wars his country had ever seen, with his father falling to a treacherous plot devised by Lusitanians and his own retainers. An elusive person known as Silvermask has claimed the throne, and now, with the kingdom of Pars on the line, Arslan is journeying throughout the nearby realms as he seeks out allies with the intent of reclaiming the throne from Silvermask.
These allies each have distinct personalities, and finding your favorite, whether it’s the ever-confident Gieve, the genius Narsus, or the martial expert Daryun, can be tough, even if there are only 15 officers that you will be able to play as (fewer than Warriors fans may be going in, expecting). The camaraderie between the characters is also quite engaging, and can lead to you not wanting to put the title down.
The game does a good job of catching you up on what’s going on, even if you have no clue as to what Arslan is. Unlike many of the Warriors games, Omega Force decided to utilize narrative and cut scenes between the conflicts to get players more involved, rather than breaking battles up into individual levels. Due to this, the story feels cohesive throughout, both on and off of the battlefield, and, due to the way it’s handled, it feels almost like watching an episode of the anime each with each scenario.
The main disappointment in the story is not even a shot at the story itself. Rather, because it is following the ongoing The Heroic Legend of Arslan, it can only go so far with the plot, and it’s honestly disappointing when you reach said point.
In terms of actual gameplay, if you’ve played a Warriors game before, you have a good idea of what to expect. The combat features the same light, heavy, and super attacks that fans of previous Warriors games have come to expect, although it does mix things up a bit. One difference is the weapon switching and chaining mechanic.
As each character has access to three different weapons, Arslan allows you to begin a combo with one, then continue your combo with a completely different weapon with a simple tap of the R1 button. For example, you can launch enemies into the air with a Great Sword, then swap to your bow to blast them out of the air.
Perhaps the biggest addition to combat is the technique known as the “Mardān Rush”. This allows you to temporarily gain control of an unstoppable force of mounted units, infantry, or even archers as you cut a swath of destruction in your wake. This technique is primarily utilized to smash through walls or piles of rubble.
In addition, Omega Force has added in some slight RPG elements with the addition of the skill card system. As you defeat various officers, they will drop cards that can be equipped to your heroes to boost their attributes and allow them to perform special moves. It’s a nice feature, and does give players something to work towards outside of the story mode,
In terms of battles, you will alternate between large-scale battles with changing objectives and thousands of soldiers to one-on-one boss battles. These boss battles are considerably more challenging than the large-scale battles, especially when you factor in the fact that each boss has a shield system. You will need to whittle down this shield before you can do any real damage, and it regenerates, forcing you to repeat the process as you attempt to defeat your foes.
The tasks you are given come in a decent variety as well. For instance, one battle may find you attempting to rescue the young Arslan from a band of villains, while another has you defending a mighty fortress from waves of opposing soldiers.
Once you have finished the game’s Story Mode, you unlock Free Mode, which allows you to replay any of the battles as any character of your choice. Where in Story Mode, you will be forced to regularly swap between characters, based on the narrative, you can pick your favorite Each of the 15 officers can be a deadly force if utilized correctly, and it can be interesting to see how the others handle the stages.
Art and Sound
Arslan successfully achieves the look of an artistically rendered anime, This art style helps the game feel like an interactive movie, which, depending on your point of view, can be either good or bad. Many of the scenes feature lighting and architecture that work together quite well, but it also has some cut scenes that look less impressive.
In addition, the battlefield environments themselves can be quite bland. That said, the character art will likely distract you from this blandness as you mow through the hordes of enemies.
The soundtrack is decent, and the scripts are fully voiced by Japanese actors, which can be a draw to those who enjoy watching subbed anime, particularly when combined with the art style.
When all’s said and done, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is basically just another Warriors game with an anime coating. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as this coating helps out the story, which is, in this reviewer’s opinion, the best part of the game. Perhaps because of the story, the other content, including the Free Mode, just doesn’t feel as satisfying as similar modes in the other Warriors games. Considering Omega Force’s track record with similar games, this title feels a bit like a set-up for a bigger and better sequel.
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend feels like one of the better Warriors titles to be sure, however those who are getting sick of the franchise and aren’t interested in Arslan’s story may want to skip it. Those who aren’t should be able to find plenty, particularly with the cast and story, to enjoy.
Final Score: 3.5/5