Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is an interesting title. While it’s effectively the latest entry to the Warriors or Musou games Koei Tecmo have become known for – think Dynasty Warriors or Hyrule Warriors – it’s also very much its own game, rendering the aesthetic & style of the recent anime series in playable form.
The game was developed alongside the 2014 anime series, with both entering production at the same time. The two informed one another as they both follow the same story, something that doesn’t usually happen when producing a game based on a show or anime. From what I played, a fifteen minute tutorial based demo, this partnership worked very well, blending the anime’s military action with the one versus a thousand mentality of the Musou games.
Opening with the titular Arslan on horseback, the demo guides you through the well trodden formula of attacks and combos that send large groups of enemies skyward. As always, it feels really smooth to block, dodge and chain attacks into some truly spectacular cinematic moves. With attacks and styles for characters based off their traits and moves in the anime fans will surely enjoy the callbacks, while newcomers can simply enjoy the exaggerated combat. At its core it’s business as usual, players of previous Musou titles will feel right at home.There are some new features that make Arslan stand out however, arriving in the form of the army. The military force as a whole plays a large role in the anime and this carries over into Warriors of Legend. Atop a horse Arslan can rally the cavalry and forces around him into a huge, organised charge, destroying anything in its path. This is used to break down gates and destroy enemies, making it oh-so satisfying to rack up hit streaks reaching into the thousands after wiping out a field of foes.
This plays in to the epic scale created by Warriors of Legend. The game has a grand feel to it as you command and battle, aided by a lot more cinematics than in previous games. It really feels like you’re playing in the anime rather than just viewing it, aided by the authentic and stunning artstyle the game and show share. It’s a really pretty game with the character designs vividly standing out, drawn by Hiromu Arakawa, the artist behind Fullmetal Alchemist.The map is also quite stunning, with a mix of rocky paths, open green fields and flaming trenches and debris littering the battlefield over the course of the mission. The weaving maze like map structure can get a little confusing at first but once you get used to it the core and side objectives guide you through it pretty well. There’s a time limit to complete the mission in (including slaying the boss) but I managed to complete it with around a minute to spare as I was focussed on completion – had I just wanted to battle I could have easily spent double the time on the map hitting, jumping and laying waste to the armies that faced me.
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is quite a fun game, definitely one for anime and action fans to keep their eye on. With some really cool features and the recent success of similar games like Hyrule Warriors, Arslan is poised to be quite a gem in the 2016 game release line up.
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is set to release in Japan on October 1 and in 2016 for other territories. Thus far it has been confirmed for release on Playstation platforms.