Some people can say lots of negative things about Japanese videogames (for instance, I find most of them too colorful or flashy), but you can’t deny the fact that most of the greatest beat ‘em up and sword slashing games come from our Japanese friends. Capcom is one of these friends and they have already demonstrated their developing skills with games such as Resident Evil or Devil May Cry. Especially that last title was awesome and their newest action game Chaos Legion often reminded me of that particular game. Let’s have a closer look.
The first thing you’ll notice about Chaos Legion are the great FMV movie sequences. No less than fifteen of these beauties have been implemented in the entire game and each one tells you a bit more about the story, which is quite exciting. You are Sieg (pronounced as “Zeke”), a Chaos Legion warrior and your former friend, Vincent Delacroix, has commited a murder. You are sent out to catch him, but it appears he has some demons waiting for you. As the plot unfolds, you’ll learn why your friendship ended (it seems you killed his girlfriend … ouch) and there are some nice twists.
The game features 15 chapters in which you pursue Victor. Each chapter is divided in 2 parts. The first, where you run through the level, killing every demon on your path, and the second, where you have to defeat a boss. This may sound (a little too) familiar, but don’t worry. Except for the final one, all bosses are fairly easy to defeat once you know how to kill them. The only annoying thing about them is the fact that some of them keep spawning new monsters so you have to watch out for attacks coming from both the boss and the other demons.
Fortunately you’re not completely on your own. At the end of each of the first 6 chapters you’ll receive a so-called “crest”. Each one holds a different legion that you can cast at any given time and which is a great help in combat. There’s a legion of sword fighters, archers, bombs, shields (that take damage in your place), strong demons and one of little fast demons with claws. However, you can only carry 2 of them along with you, so you’ll have to choose wisely at the beginning of each chapter.
When a legion takes damage, your soul energy bar with available souls will decrease. When the legion isn’t casted, they can still aid you for a couple of seconds by performing a special attack on a targeted enemy. This can consume a lot of soul power, but is very effective. But watch out, because when you run out of soul energy while having an active legion, that specific crest will break. This way you won’t be able to cast this legion anymore until you have gained enough soul power again.
Fortunately, you’ll receive souls from each enemy that is slain and along the road you’ll collect life and soul recovery items. And I have to say the amount of them in the game is just perfect, knowing that I finished the game with probably the lowest amount of health possible (when not dead) and absolutely no potions left. Nice work, Capcom !
While the legions are a great help, you’ll still have to hack and slash for yourself. And you’ll be doing that a lot, since each level has demons crawling all over it. At first you can only perform a small combo with your sword, but later on you’ll expand this combo, learn new devastating moves (including an awesome double jump), and so on. Your character won’t really be upgraded, but your legions will. By killing demons your equipped legions will receive experience points, which can be used to strenghten them at the end of a level. Among other things you can increase power, defense, assist, etc. An improved legion can let you perform special moves when equipped, a bit weird maybe but definitely not annoying. It’s a shame however that at the end of the game Sieg still won’t be able to make “that” many moves, and there aren’t a lot of awesome moves, like the ones we witnessed in Devil May Cry.
Throughout the game you’ll encouter different types of monsters. Mechanical spiders, walking iguanas, invisible tall guys and some weird bulls are just a couple of them. Each monster also has its weakness, for instance your sword legion will deal with those iguanas in no time, but for the invisible ones you’re better off with the claw legion. Although in the first couple of chapters demons will just come after you individually, in the last chapters they will march in groups with a leader in order to attack you more effectively. The AI isn’t astonishing at all, but you can’t expect an ordinairy demon to work out special tactics or run away when outnumbered. No, a demon is designed to fight until his last breath, and that’s exactly what you get in this game.
The graphics are very nice, especially the character models are dazzling. Nothing to remark when it comes to quality, but unfortunately the environment can become rather repetitive after time. There are merely 3 or 4 different settings, such as a ruined city or a forest, and you’ll notice the same textures over and over again.
The sound effects are nice, just what you’d expect from a game like this, and the music is fine as well. Nothing really worth mentioning about these aspects however.
Once you’ll reach chapter 8, a surprise awaits you. For once you won’t play with Sieg and his legions, your main character in this level is Arcia. She follows Sieg throughout the game and helps him whenever she can. But why do I mention this ? Because playing with Arcia f*cking rocks ! She can punch, kick and even use her 2 silvers guns to blow the enemy to bits. She can perform awesome moves, like jumping backwards while shooting, she can shoot while lying down and even move like a whirlwind, turning 360 degrees, shooting all surrounding enemies. Very impressive, and if you complete the game on normal difficulty you can even play through the entire game with her !
In conclusion: In the end Chaos Legion is a very decent action game featuring both original elements and an entertaining story that keeps you in suspense until the very end of the final FMV sequence. Combined with beautiful graphics and sound, this game is definitely worth checking out if you’re into action packed hack and slash games. After time, it may get somewhat repetitive, but just bare in mind that if you play a little longer, you might unlock Arcia as a playable character. However, if you played through Devil May Cry already and are looking for a similar title, remember that Chaos Legion may be a bit disappointing due to the limited moves Siege can perform. But for everyone else looking for a decent action game: look no more and give this one a try.