On Warriors and Dark Gods

lotroyps3It’s been a productive week on The Table Stacks. There was a lot of PS3 love starting with Warriors: Legends of Troy. With Berserk Warriors coming out in February, I felt like dusting this one off would be a good appetizer. Legends of Troy had been on my radar for a long time, but I hadn’t actually purchased until last year. This was partly because I was looking for the 360 version that was never actually released in North America. I’m a huge fan of what Koei Tecmo does, but to be honest there are only so many times you can put down the Yellow Turban Rebellion and run in fear of Lu Bu.

They’ve dabbled in branching out with Samurai Warriors and some of their anime adaptations have been amazing. I was really excited to jump in to an entirely new war and the Trojan War is as epic as you could ask for. You play as heroes such as Achilles, Odysseus, Hektor, and Penthesilea, but in a departure from the most of the Warriors games I have played, the hero you play is predetermined for each chapter you play. While it is good for story-telling, allowing you to see the war from various perspectives, I found it made it difficult to get the timing down on your attacks with any of the heroes. Speaking of difficultly, this one seemed to be a bit more of a bruiser than other titles as well. I found that after a few chapters I had to turn the difficulty down to easy and still had to retry a few scenarios towards the end. This seems to be by design in that the game pushes you towards grinding replays in order to buy better items and then moving your way up in difficulty on subsequent playthroughs. It’s not a tactic I’m terribly fond of, but knocking the difficulty down to easy and wisely choosing what items to buy and equip doesn’t force you to walk down that soul crushing path very much if you just want to enjoy the story from beginning to end.

Beyond that if you’ve played a Warriors game you know what you’re getting. One person vs an army (or dueling another hero) in unadulterated hack and slash goodness. This one even felt a little God of War in some of the boss fights with quick time events to perform wild finishing moves. It was an enjoyable game if for no other reason than it was a story Koei Tecmo hadn’t already told. I’m sad to see it wasn’t well received as I would have loved to see them do more with the setting, such as the Greco-Persian Wars. The Battle of Thermopylae (what 300 was based on) seems like a particularly ripe, low-hanging fruit for a Warriors game. I can dream at least.

After burning Troy to the ground (spoiler?), I started up episode two of Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness also on PS3. I had finished episode one a while back and been itching to get back to episode two to once again do battle with the remaining three dark gods. They kept the combat the same from the first episode. I will admit it took a little getting used to the first time but it wasn’t quite so bad going in to this round. The story picks up right where episode one left off, even giving you the option to import the same character you created. The humor and art that Penny Arcade is known for, either love it or hate it, is still there and the story is quite good in its own ridiculous way. There are some running jokes from the first game so while you can play episode two without having played the first one, you would be doing yourself a disservice.

This episode felt a bit shorter than the first. This may or may not have been a precursor to Penny Arcade and Hothead games not collaborating on episodes three and four. From what I understand the remaining two episodes done with Zeboyd Games take quite a different approach in both visuals and gameplay. I have both in what can only be called the digital “stack”, which is much like the physical stacks except less tangible and judgy. I’ll probably try to keep momentum on the series and play through the remaining episodes in the coming months. The decision I face now is what to play next? Do I finally play through Soul Reaver 2 on PS2? Do I go even further back and play LandStalker on Genesis? Is it time for Assassin’s Creed Unity? What about those 50 games I have on Steam that I’ve finished zero of? Find out next week!

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