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  • Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade

    Posted on May 30th, 2005 hamster_boy No comments

    UT is the story of Aven, the city in the clouds. It's the last bastion of the Humans of the ancient land of Untaca. You have been training to be a Guardian of the City when something amiss occurs. The animals of the underground are attacking and the citizens are finding themselves under siege. As Guardian, it's your job to protect them. The Academy where you have been training will not o­nly guide you through this crisis but also use you, often as a pawn, for their own means.

    The story is somewhat linear. You'll be told what the crisis is, where to go to solve it and then what to do next. You can have more than o­ne task at a time to complete and there is nothing to stop you from exploring the sewers or countryside along the way to level your character or just to do a little monster bashing. However, the intent is to follow the story, find out Aven's secret and avert the trouble that is coming to your people.

    The controls are simple. You use the analog stick to move, the d-pad for your spells/abilities (although you can have up to eight you can o­nly queue two at a time), the L and R buttons for quaffing potions, right-hand buttons for attacks, select for all levels of character management and start to save. You will spend the bulk of your time with the analog stick and three of the right-hand buttons. Fighting isn't exactly a subtle art; it's simply a matter of overpowering your enemies and as this game – like far too many RPGs – depends upon equipment not skill for prowess, you'll find yourself outclassing the monsters quickly.

    You have the option of playing o­ne of four classes: Knight, Alchemist, Druid or Berserker. Like its cousin, Norrath, the game really is intended to be played in a multi-player setting (which it does well). However, if you find yourself playing single-player – unless you're rather good – you'll stick with the two fighting classes, as the magic classes die often early o­n. Death is a simple experience: you simply return to where you first began that leg of the quest or your last save. This part I really like – your last save. It appears that the creators of Untold Legends have realized that save points are not something that an adventurer looks forward to when death can mean losing the items or experience just acquired. Also, because this is a handheld game, players are less likely to be willing to sit for extended periods of time to find o­ne. Not back-tracking to save points – glorious!

    The game takes full advantage of the PSP's graphics capabilities – right down to the individual leaves o­n trees. When in inventory mode, the detail of the weapons, armor and avatar are quite astounding for such a small canvas – they are astounding for a large canvas! The sound – not so much. Part of it is the repetitiveness of the sound effects and lack of depth to the music. Part of it is that the PSP simply doesn't have good sound unless you're wearing earphones which I do not. (Note from Hamster: I DO have headphones, and the sounds are fine. Torches crackle, running water splashes, etc.. )

    I have to give kudos for building a full-bodied, if unoriginal, RPG for the PSP system. The story is standard, the fighting, inventory, skill system, etc. are all standard; but sometimes the familiar is just what a person wants. As I said above, if you want a dungeon crawler, o­ne chocked full of armor upgrades, weapon upgrades, modifying items, jewelry, spells, quests, skills and stats – this is it. It is enjoyable, and with friends, even more so. And really, that is all that counts.

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