Having a fondness for Brad Pitt is not required to enjoy the latest tactical hack and slash from the Koei side of Tecmo Koei. Liking the Dynasty Warriors series may be enough to enjoy. Warriors: Legends of Troy as well.
Developed by Koei Canada, the team responsible for futuristic racing game Fatal Inertia and Warriors Orochi games for the PSP, Warriors: Legends of Troy lets players battle as a Greek or Trojan soldier. The E3 demo put us in the shoes, sword and shield of Achilles, but Odysseus on the Greek Side will also be available, as will Hektor and Paris from Troy.
Playing as Achilles, we pulled off the dramatic, speedy and understated stab-to-the-shoulder that Brad Pitt made memorable from the movie Troy when he took down that giant. It was one of many moves from a game where variety in attacks and strategy in employing stabs, parries, guards and throws is important.
Control-wise, Legends of Troy is easy to latch onto, even for the person whose last Koei made game might have been Samurai Warriors on the PlayStation 2.
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game looks sharp, more muted and more sepia toned than your most recent Samurai Warriors or Dynasty Warriors game. As Achilles, we marched through legions of foot soldiers and their commanders, carefully shattering their shields with focused attacks, stabbing them to death with our swords using more carefree attacks.
Along the way, we encountered higher ranked Greek army squads, including a bulky spear master who required more than just hack and slash action, but careful planning. He, like many of the dead before him, dropped weapons we could use on other foes.
The good thing about Warriors: Legend of Troy, beyond giving the Dynasty Warriors enthusiast something different to experience, is that it's combat felt more subdued, less like we were sweeping through hordes of sword fodder along the way. Combat felt fun and immediately immersive, if eventually repetitive as some of us feel about the Warriors franchise.
AI that seemed smarter - running away when it was clearly outmatched after squad leaders were killed - and a Fury power-up that made Achilles a more satisfying killing machine to control were also in the "good" column. The fact that what we played felt like a very small portion of what Warriors: Legends of Troy will offer in terms of a long and storied campaign is also promising.
The bad thing is that it's single-player and offline only, as it's the type of game we wouldn't mind sharing with a friend cooperatively or competitively.
Warriors: Legends of Troy will give the Warriors fan in you something fresher to enjoy this fall, when Tecmo Koei also releases Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage and Samurai Warriors 3 for the Wii, ensuring that we won't be lacking in hacking and slashing in 2010.