Omega Force has a habit of providing second to none hack and slash gameplay via the art of simple button combos and frantic battles featuring hundreds upon hundreds of enemy soldiers. Dynasty, Samurai, and Pirate Warriors games all feature these typical tropes and over time these series have grown and improved on their simple inception, providing tweak after tweak to ensure the recipe for disaster is just right. Arslan: The Warriors of Legend has a great art style to it and the story is an intricate, historical epic; if you’re a fan of musou games then you’re probably not going to be disappointed.
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend has been adapted from the various anime and manga titles with the same name, with the majority of the focus on the 2013 manga series by the creator of Full Metal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa. It tells the tale of Arslan, a kind and gentle Prince that is forced to fight for the kingdom in which he has been ousted from after the betrayal and defeat of his father, the King of Pars, Andragoras III. Before becoming an anime or manga, the series was written as a novel in 1986, with a subsequent fourteen novels following it, providing a lot of content to draw from. It really does feel like you’re playing something really important – something that has such an integral place in Japanese fiction and the way in which Omega Force has presented it does a fantastic job of sucking you in.
Being blunt, combat here does very little different from other musou titles. While on foot, you have normal attacks and charge attacks acting as the foundations of battle; laying bodies to waste by pummelling these buttons helps build your special attack gauge. Once filled, you’ll be allowed to attack the hordes of enemies with a furious and powerful manoeuvre. There are Unique attacks as well that provide you with more opportunities to kill the enemy, and being able to change between weapons in battle can help mix things up. With that being said, the combat does end up feeling somewhat monotonous, echoing the same kind of gameplay you’ll probably be familiar with if you’ve already played an Omega Force game before.
There are some minor tweaks and additions to gameplay that try to add to the experience such as skill cards and weapon arts. Skill cards grant addition points to certain stats and you can select three cards at any one time. You’re also given the option to synthesize a handful of cards to create a brand new one. Weapon Arts add skills to certain weapons once the mastery has increased, giving you additional power on certain attacks, but they never feel as though they help you a great deal.
Many of the areas let you travel around on horseback, but rather than simply being used for getting from A-to-B, you can also attack enemies whilst sat on the saddle. The awkward camera angles make striking enemies incredibly difficult on your steed and it can take quite some time to master the art. It’s certainly easier to ride through select groups of enemies on your horse, but having to turn around to wipe out the few you missed can be a lurid mess.
In many of the battlefields you’ll be able to initiate something known as a Mardān Rush. There are three different varieties of the Mardān Rush mechanic and each one allows you to cause a great deal of damage to the opposition; you can charge at the enemy on horseback, fire hundreds of arrows down on areas of your choosing and have spear-wielding infantry attack in great numbers. This is by the far the most enjoyable element of the game as watching these rushes unfold can add large amounts of XP and treasures to your virtual caddy, not to mention it looks bloody impressive.
There is a lack of variety outside of the main story mode, but that’s not to say what’s there shouldn’t be dabbled with. In free mode you can replay the various missions you’ve played through in story mode with characters and outfits you’ve unlocked along the way. You’ll also be able to co-op online and offline, which is good if you have a friend that wants to help you tackle either the story mode or free mode, both of which are available at your disposal.
So this is a musou game with a meaty narrative, but the likes of One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 executes the combat a lot better, and when you’re frantically running about from one checkpoint to the next, its camera angles can interrupt the flow of battle. Arakawa has made the game look stunning with his signature style and the cell-shaded aesthetics help to set it apart from other Omega Force titles. It’s a great stress relief game after a tough day at work and a chance to become acquainted with one of Japan’s finest fantasy tales.
Artwork is beautiful.
Great story throughout.
Camera angles can be off-putting .
Combat on horseback is very awkward.