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King Arthur: Legion IX Review

King Arthur: Legion IX Review

Have you ever wanted to be an undead Roman Legionary looking to find your way in a new world that hates and fears you? Well, in the event that you did, then NeocoreGames has the perfect experience for you with its latest game: King Arthur: Legion IX. Now, I should make one note here that this is technically a continuation of the game King Arthur: Knight’s Tale,King Arthur: Knight's Tale however, you really don’t need to have played it to play this one, but if you're interested, you could check out our review of that one here. So, with that out of the way, let's look if this game deserves to rise or if it should be left in the grave.

King Arthur: Legion IX’s plot revolves around the legendary ninth Roman Legion, who happens to be undead, that had been sent to find the entrance to Tartarus by the dead Emperor Sulla. Obviously, going to the Underworld's entrance is not a fantastic idea, and the entire legion is transported to the magical realm of Avalon first. You take the role of Gaius Julius Mento, a tribune within the ninth who must explore this strange new world and fight off the hordes of monsters and foreign tribes that stand against him.

The initial plot could be clearer, and that is mostly down to a lot being explained in the prior game. However, it doesn’t really have to explain much for you to not feel lost, and who cares why you’re undead anyway? One interesting thing to note is that King Arthur: Legion IX includes a morality system that has you choose to remain as human as possible or to fall deeper into being a monster. It’s an interesting mechanic, and the choices appear to happen and predetermined points, so it’s easy to replay.

The characters are one of the game's weaknesses, mostly because the voice acting feels stale. Although they do their best, some of the conversations feel like they lack emotion, and the cast doesn’t feel like they are actually talking to each other. It’s not the biggest dealbreaker, but it is noticeable. The character's writing is fine, it's just working with a lacking performance. 

This leads to the biggest issue with the plot of the game, the real lack of agency. When I started I was honestly surprised that the characters didn’t really seem to be bothered about what had happened to them. It’s never explained to the player why they are undead, how they got here or anything else that preceded the start of the game. It is slowly revealed but, with the added lack of apparent concern, it feels a little too late at that point to be valid.

Gameplay in King Arthur: Legion IX feels like a mix of XCOMXCOM and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War IIWarhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II. You have a world map where you will pick a goal, which then takes you to a map that you will have to explore. Each map will contain a main mission and often a couple of side quests the player can choose to complete. It is up to the player what they do and when, and it is possible to explore the map once the primary storyline is complete. The quests vary in terms of what you need to do, but they usually involve walking through the map and either killing or destroying something. The side quest offers a bit more variety, for instance, one had me competing in a tournament set up by the ghost of a gladiator. 

Each level will start with you entering the map, and then it is up to you to explore the area, find the main quest points (which are helpfully displayed on the map) and solve any side quests you come across. I didn’t find the actual quests too bad, and most of them were pretty easy to follow. However, some were a bit vague on what I needed to do or where I needed to look, and the in-game hints weren’t exactly helpful. Thankfully, the other part of the game made up for this.

Obviously, a game where you play a Roman Legionary wouldn’t be complete without combat, and King Arthur: Legion IX doesn’t disappoint.  When you encounter an enemy, you will enter a grid-based map where you can set your characters in position and then begin the combat. The main design is essentially the same system we have seen a fair few times recently: tactical stamina turned-based combat. Essentially, your characters each have a set number of stamina points, called AP, that you use to move and attack. It is a tried-and-true system, and there's enough difference in the classes that each fills their role perfectly. However, one new addition is the armour that each player has. Essentially, each character has a set amount of armour that will take the damage for each hit but will also break with each strike. 

This is where the game's main challenge comes in because there are only a few ways to fix your armour and heal. Each map will have a set number of campsites, each of which is single-use. These campsites allow you to EITHER heal or fix your armour, not both, so it becomes difficult to determine the best option. For instance, you could replace your health instead of your armour but then any future hit will take more health off, etc. The only issue is that the game can be really unfair in combat, and some of the side missions take off so much health that there is no point in doing them. 

For the most part, this was entertaining and the combat does a great job of mixing the sense of challenge with the thrill of being powerful. However, it can be a bit too tough at times, and the heavily armoured enemies can be a real drag to bring down. I never found myself out of my depth, but there were points where the challenge felt a bit unfair. The Game is also not great at explaining a lot of its mechanics, there are tutorials in-game but they’re all static text that doesn’t translate well into the game. Honestly, it feels like they expected people to have played the initial game and, as such, didn’t go into as much detail as they should have done.

Saying all that, there is nothing really new here to hold on to after about half the game. The mechanics all work, but we have seen similar things in other games, like Dawn of War II, that offer better plots and acting. This means it’s hard to recommend the game on combat alone, although there is something to be said about the game's visuals.

Visually King Arthur: Legion IX looks great, and the animated movies are impressive enough on their own. Although the in-game models are a bit bland and some of the attacks are pretty dull looking to start with, although that does soon change. However, as I said, the voice acting is pretty lacklustre, and the combat sounds all feel weightless and slightly generic. Meanwhile, the music is impressive and some of the level designs are historically fascinating to look at, although others appear quite generic.

Overall, King Arthur: Legion IX isn’t a bad game at all, and everything works well but the problem is that the game does nothing new. Everything you see here has been done before, and the plot isn’t interesting enough to really draw you in. If you enjoyed King Arthur: Knight’s Tale, then you’ll enjoy this, but as a glorified DLC, I don’t think it will be enough to bring in any new players to the series.

6.00/10 6

King Arthur: Legion IX (Reviewed on Windows)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

King Arthur: Legion IX is competent and works as it should, but it lacks any draw for new players and is likely better for fans of the series.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Joshua Render

Joshua Render

Staff Writer

Became a writer and all he got was this lousy bio

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