Top critical review
2 of 2 people found this helpful
on 27 March 2014
I am a big fan of the game mechanics of "X COM Enemy Unknown" and when I heard that Slitherine Studios had cheekily copied this for a World War Two game I thought where can they go wrong? Unfortunately they have gone very wrong, in probably every conceivable way.
History Legends of War takes the turn based strategy of "X COM" and adds just enough differences (presumably to avoid being sued for copyright) to ruin it entirely. It's a shoddy substandard game that shows the programmers to be either lazy or incompetent. The whole appearance of the game is slapdash from the very unattractive menus, to the times where even subtitles have subtitles, to spelling mistakes in the menus (my review probably has a few but no ones paying me to check).
The graphics are particularly poor. The maps look a bit like World War Two has come to Trumpton. Little cartoon style houses with symmetrical walls, plastecine looking trees and bright colours make the world look strangely surreal and child like. Not only that but the 2D shadows and naff lighting effects often make it hard to see that is going on. Vehicles look like something rendered about 20 years ago, and when they are destroyed they dissapear without leaving any wreckage, just a pile of ash (a bit like in "Invaders").
The gameplay retains the same movement style as "X COM" but it has taken out the system of different levels of cover. Instead soldiers are either in cover or out of cover. In some cases something as simple as a wooden picket fence can provide cover from tank shells, but in other cases gaps in cover leave your men horribly exposed without warning.
The biggest difference is in the way vision works. Although the maps you play on are tiny the soldiers of WWII were apparently extremely short sighted. They have a small cone which visibly shows the area they will react to when set on overwatch (firing automatically when an enemy crosses their path), but they also have an invisible limit to their vision. This can be as little as about 100 meters. If you move too far in one turn you can suddenly reveal enemy soldiers who were previously invisible. If you move into their overwatch area they can appear, shoot you and kill you before you can do anything. This can also happen in reverse where a previously invisible enemy moves one inch into visibility range, shoots, and then retreats and dissapears. This epidemic of short sightedness also applies to weapons which have a pathetic and very unrealistic range - I don't mean it reduces their chance to hit, I mean you literally can't fire more than about 100 meters.
The weapons also suffer from a strange lack of ammunition. Each rifleman might have only a dozen shots before he runs out of ammo. You can improve this a little with experience points but you'd think the Allies would have landed in Normandy better prepared. This lack of ammunition is particularly bad when there is a scenario involving tanks. Only your own tanks and AT units have any chance of damaging an enemy tank and they cost a lot of points to buy. If your one tank runs out of ammunition you can throw as many grenades at an enemy tank as you like but it does no damage to them. Although this might be relatively realistic it can mean the destruction of your entire army in one go. Also, although enemy soldiers who are killed might visibly drop a panzerschreck right in front of you there is no command to pick the thing up and use it.
The campaign game is very different from "X COM" in that you get no choice whatsoever. There are a predetermined number of missions of each type that you complete in order and you can see the set progression on the campaign map right from the start. Patton obviously had the gift of foresight. Missions vary between attack missions, defensive missions, infiltration and sabotage. None of it makes a great deal of sense when the game claims to be about Patton and the US 3rd Army. With thousands of men to choose from why do you have to pick just three guys to sabotage one objective. With thousands of tanks and planes at your disposal why do you have to send just two guys to infiltrate an enemy camp without being spotted. Nothing in this game makes sense in a realistic historical campaign.
For each mission you pick your own squad buying different troop types using earned experience points. Unfortunately though the points you are granted are extremely stingy and early on you struggle to field even one unit with anti-tank capability while the Germans happily attack you with about a dozen tanks at one time. Fortunately the AI is extremely dim but if you lose your only anti-tank units your remaining men will be slaughtered. If they do survive your soldiers will gain experience and can be improved and upgraded. As you advance through the game you get more types of soldiers to choose from, although the selection does become a bit strange with British paratroopers, Spanish Republicans and various other soldiers all joining the American Army.
It's impossible not to compare this game to "X COM" but in every comparison "X COM" is greatly superior. "Legends of War" is a very poor game, which came out around the same time as "Grand Theft Auto V" which as a benchmark shows what the PS3 is really capable of. The fact that the game has the History Channel logo on it is absolutely laughable. During the introduction it even has to say that historical events have been changed for the sake of the game. Well thats somewhat understating the fact. This game really should never have been made - if you are going to copy another game at least try and improve on it. Before you even think of buying this game check out some of the gameplay and screenshots first, it really is as bad as it looks. It may be at budget price now but save your money and try something else, its not even worth the price of postage.