Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade is a fantasy based adventure game, not unlike many of those we have seen before. Don’t get me wrong, seeing and playing a game of this genre on the PSP was initially thrilling, but soon ran out of interesting material as the game progresses. As I was going through level after level, I realized that this game was not as impressive as I first thought.
The game begins by giving you a choice to select one of four different character classes. Some of the classes are straight forward like the knight, or a little more challenging, such as the Apothecary. The mechanics of the game itself resemble a Diablo or Champions of Norrath. Pretty much grab your weapon and go slug it out with the local monsters. The townspeople are there to help and give quests, as well as gear you up for the higher areas of the game. The game spawns random dungeon areas, so going back in will not give you a new experience every time. The monster locations are also random, which leads to some odd and challenging grouping and also some spots with nothing to fight at all. The game does bolster a cooperative mode, where you can join up with a friend for some equal opportunity monster mashing.
The graphical presentation is quite nice, with all of the different gear changing your character’s appearance. It’s a full 3D modeled game, unlike Diablo and some others. The variety of the map textures gets old after awhile, seeing the same tiles over and over again. Speaking of tiles, the way the maps are constructed, you can see gaps in the tiles as you run around, a minor point but still an annoyance. The models for the creatures are nicely done, with some variety. I especially like the spider queen boss encounter. Your weapons and gear can gain spell effects as you progress, and those are also well done.
The sound is average at best. I really expected a little more from a disk based game, but I guess storage space is still a premium. The effects get repetitive as you perform the same moves over and over again. Standard sound effects for an action game, nothing more, nothing less.
Now onto game play, where the shortcomings of this game are most apparent. The control of your character’s movement is left to the analog button. It is difficult to maneuver at first, but, after a little while, it becomes fairly easy to move around. Some of the button commands require holding down the R button, such as blocking. This is a little awkward in the middle of combat. The camera control is downright awful… the worst part is, if you move from one area to another, the camera sets itself to a random orientation, and it takes time to get it set to how you like it. The menu navigation is OK, it takes awhile to get used to. There is a skill tree similar if not identical to the Diablo II that lets you customize your character’s abilities as they level. Unfortunately, the game is just an endless series of button mashing. The quests are simple and there aren’t many puzzles to solve. Saying this game is repetitive would be an understatement. The game boasts random encounters to enhance replay value… well, I think a fun game that doesn’t get boring enhances replay value more than random dungeon encounters. Don’t get me wrong, the game is fun at the beginning, but I was always looking forward to something new to happen, but it never happened. And, what would a PSP review be without mention of the load time…its not very good in this game. It takes way to long to get from area to area. That and trying to begin the game is an exercise in patience.
Overall, Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade could have been a very interesting game. It seems like they stopped developing the game about halfway through and just went into autopilot. It is fun for awhile, and it’s nice to see a fantasy game so early in the PSP’s development, but it just cannot overcome its problems. Repetitive game play and unimaginative adventure is just not enough to keep it interesting. That and you should have some ice standing by for your poor thumb. Graphically it is nice, and it does show the power of the PSP, but unless you are a huge hack and slasher, you will see why no one ever talked about these Legends before.
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