Chaos Legion
ChaosLegion.jpg

There are many titles that blur the line between action/adventure and role-playing game, for instance, Nintendo’s long-running Legend of Zelda franchise. Another title that blurs the line between the aforementioned genres is Capcom’s Chaos Legion, based on a novel by Japanese writer Tow Ubukata, which proves to be a solid, if somewhat brief, experience.

One thing that makes Chaos Legion seem to be less of an RPG that most other titles blurring genre lines is the presence of an intermediary stage select screen with various levels from which to choose, although the game doesn’t allow the player to return to previous stages until late in the game after obtaining a certain item. In the interface between stages, the player can equip protagonist Sieg Warheit with two Legions (which provide him with a certain number of special allies during the levels), level them up, use items to grant Legions additional experience, and save the game.

In each stage, the player can fight solo with Sieg or summon one of his two equipped Legions into battle; while fighting solo allows Sieg to move quickly, fighting alongside Legions slows his movement speed. When Sieg doesn’t have his Legions fighting alongside him, the player can press the triangle button to have him execute special moves with either Legion that consumes one soul level, with souls obtained from attacked and defeated enemies replenishing his supply. When Legions are in battle, the player can further press the circle button to execute an electrical attack that sends a shock through an enemy and will cause Legions to focus their attacks on that foe.

Soul levels also double as the Legions’ energy, and enemies can deplete it as they attack them. If they run out, the Legion will “break,” forbidding the player to summon the broken Legion back into combat until they increased their Soul level a certain amount. Hacking away at the enemy will gradually increase experience points for both Legions, and at any time, the player can quit the stage with experience obtained for their Legions retained, although new items obtained will be lost, items only being retained if the player actually completes a level. Special items can increase one of Sieg’s stats such as attack, defense, and life, and consumable items can replenish his health and soul levels.

Fortunately, if Sieg dies in a stage, not all is lost, as the player can simply return to the stage selection interface in this instance and expend experience to increase his Legions’ stats, with consumed items lost in the level attempt restored, as well. Ultimately, the game mechanics work fairly well, with the camera surprisingly not being too big a nuisance, although the initial inability to revisit previous stages can be somewhat burdensome even on the easiest difficulty, especially if the player lacks recovery items, and can thus make playing the game on hard seem far more daunting.

The game’s control scheme is mostly adequate, with the linear structure of levels keeping players always moving in the right direction, although with easy character and Legion management, and while story scenes are skippable, they are unfortunately not pausable. Otherwise, Chaos Legion generally interfaces well with the player.

The story is one of the game’s weakest links, with the generic goal of chasing after an antagonist who is basically an Expy of Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, and is angry at protagonist Sieg Warheit for the death of their female friend Siela. Little backstory is given on the game’s world, as well, , and while the plot isn’t hard to follow, it’s probably the worst aspect of the game.

The aurals are also nothing to write home about, with some tracks that mix choral and rock elements, the latter seeming out of place in the game. Also seemingly out of place is a southern-accented narrator that narrates the text that is sometimes visible before levels begin. The voice acting, otherwise, is largely solid, but aren’t a reason to buy the game.

The graphics are also fairly generic for a PlayStation 2 title, with dull brownish and grayish hues and poor view distance and plenty fade-in in most places, although the FMVs look superb.

Finally, the game is fairly short, taking from fifteen to twenty-five hours to complete, with plenty replay value that tends to come with a short game. Overall, Chaos Legion is a solid game hits many of the right notes but leaves some room for improvement in a few areas, such as the story, music, and graphics. If you can find it at a decent price, it’s definitely worth a purchase.

The Good:
+Solid hack-and-slash gameplay.
+Great control.
+Excellent localization.
+Plenty replay value.

The Bad:
-Story is run-of-the-mill.
-Music and graphics are generic.

The Bottom Line:
Decent hack-and-slash title.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation 2
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 9/10
Story: 6/10
Music/Sound: 7/10
Graphics: 7/10
Localization: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: 15-25 Hours

Overall: 8/10

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