Since fighting games usually lack the depth a good adventure game like Zelda has, it’s the amount of immersion that lets you have fun. The ability for gamers to start playing and not have to worry about the controls or get distracted by the visuals is the key to a great fighting game. Does Tournament of Legends deliver that kind of experience? Hit the jump to find out!
Tournament of Legends isn’t very heavy in the story department. As players begin the story mode, a voice over tells them that Jupiter the king of the gods has gone away and the god of death Thanatos is the new boss in town. Players beat seven other fighters who wish to kill Thanatos themselves and then challenge Thanatos.
Aside from the initial voiceover with accompanying comic book-like drawings, there aren’t any other story elements that add depth.
For the most part, Tournament of Legends provides the standard fighter fare in terms of gameplay. Knock out your opponent three times and you’re deemed the victor. Special attacks that are unique to both characters and weapons are powered by energy bars that are filled as players beat their opponents to a pulp. At the character select screen players can equip latent power-ups and change their weapons once they’ve unlocked new ones through singleplayer mode.
Tournament of Legends gives players two control styles to choose from: Wii remote or Classic Controller.
Controlling characters with the Wii remote is fairly simple. Use the analog stick to moe around and double tap it in the direction of your choice to dash that way. Attacks are mapped to the swing of the nunchuk and the Wii remote. Waving the Wii remote will make characters attack with their right hand while moving the nunchuk will have characters swing the weapon or shield in their left hand. Waving the Wii remote horizontally performs horizontal slashes while swinging it vertically produces a vertical chop. Hardly one to one motion, but pretty interesting to feel when you first pick it up.
More complicated moves are done while pushing the analog stick up, left, right and down which swinging the Wii remote. When up against easy AI, the controls work relatively well, but players start fighting the controls and not their opponents when the opponents get tougher.
The left analog stick controls moving, dashing and advanced attacks just like the nunchuk. Instead of waving to attack, “Y” handles characters’ left arm, “A” is linked to the right arm and “B” handles the advanced attacks. Unlike the Wii remote controls, the Classic Controller holds up even against the toughest opponent.
There are a few features included in Tournament of Legends meant to distinguish it from other fighters and I’ve listed a few below.
A red or blue “range ring” on the floor around each character flares up when one reaches striking distance. As small a feature it may be, it is actually quite useful.
Interchangeable Weapons and Power-ups
As players progress through Tournament of Legends’ single player mode they’ll unlock their foes weapons and power-ups. Once unlocked, weapons and power-ups can be used with any character. While it’s an interesting feature, it’s not that compelling. More weapons and power-ups could have easily made this a stand-out feature.
Not only does your your armor take damage statistically, but it can actually be broken and fall off your character mid-match. While this could be a cool feature, it’s implementation ruins the immersion. In between rounds, players can repair their armor by moving their control sticks clockwise and rapidly shaking the Wii remote. The armor system takes away ire from the gaming experience than it adds.
While this may sound like a great idea, in practice it takes players completely out of the game thanks to the technique used to dodge the monsters. Instead of allowing you to have complete control of your character like Super smash Bros. Brawl does while the stage threatens to kill players, Tournament of Legends enters a quick time sequence where players have to move the Wii remote or analog stick in a certain direction to dodge the oncoming attack.
After watching a short movie laying out the story, players choose their character and compete against 7 other fighters. Singleplayer mode can be beaten with one character comfortably within an hour or less. There’s not much depth to bee seen here.
In total there are 10 characters, two of those being ones that can be unlocked by playing through single player mode. Who can resist a giant automaton or an Anubis-like figure that can control the power of the Sun? While there is creativity in the character design, there simply aren’t enough characters to choose from to keep gamers coming back for more.
Multiplayer is where Tournament of Legends, and really every fighter, has the chance to redeem itself for all its wrongs. With friends and cousins invited over to test it out, Tournament of Legends fell flat. While the Wii Remote controls hold up against AI with an easy difficulty level, it degenerates into mindless flailing once you compete with a human that has a decent competency level. Not even the range of attack circles mentioned earlier improve the combat.
The classic controller may improve the situation, but the small number if characters, plain stage design and armor repair mini-games tarnish the experience.
There’s no online multiplayer here, folks. Move along.
Originally named Gladiator A.D., Tournament of Legends was set to appeal to the “mature crowd” with a visual style reminiscent of the movie 300 along with a helping of blood and gore. Early screens of the game showed that it’s realistic look had promise, Gladiator A.D. Lost some of that promise after the transition to the mycological style of Tournament of Legends.
The voice overs are corny and the comic book story scenes have their limits. The Wii has seen much better presentation before.
Tournament of Legends had some major changes done to it towards the end of development and it shows.Â The switch from a realistic fighter with Wii Motion Plus support to a budget title didn’t benefit gamers, just development time and the bottom line. Unfortunately, this development choice made Tournament of Legends a lack luster entry into the fighter genre. It was almost great, but almost fun doesn’t cut it for a hard earned $30.
However, if you have a hankering for a fighting game on the Wii and can ignore some it’s flaws and sparseness, Tournament of Legends might deserve a rental as long as you’r willing to use a classic controller. Other gamers should just hold off until the end of the Summer doldrums when Metroid Other M arrives.
Infendo gives Tournament of Legends 2 out of 4 stars.
This review is based on a review copy of Tournament of Legends provided by the developer.