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September 7, 2005
Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade - Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
1/9/2005ActivisionActivisionSony Online Entertainment
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The wolves are easily defeated.
While the Playstation Portable launch has been dominated by racing and sports titles there have been a couple of games filling other genres nicely. In the action RPG department Activision have come to the party with this game, Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade. Developed by Sony Online Entertainment it's fair to say the game plays in a very similar vein to Champions of Norrath: Realms of Everquest and Champions: Return to Arms, both highly respected games on PS2.

The story in Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade sees you journey to a fantasy world beyond the realms of imagination and engage in battles to save Aven, a timeless city of safe haven and the last remaining stronghold for your people. As a dark threat looms and the gathering of unknown forces grows ever so stronger, heroes have been called and the Brotherhood of the Blade must be formed. It is up to you and your chosen Brothers to venture out into the wilds and barren regions beyond the walls of Aven to unravel the mysteries of this looming peril.

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The effects really are spectacular.
When you start a new game you can select from four unique character classes including Knights, Alchemists, Druids or Berserker. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses which must be catered to throughout the game. After selecting your class you then have the option to make some small modification such as skin colour, hair style and hair colour. It's all pretty superficial as it won't be long before your almost fully covered in armour. The game is pretty generous with what it has to offer as well. In all there are over 100 levels to explore, 110 unique monsters, 40-odd quests and 1000's of items - although many of them are slight variations of others.

The quests in Untold Legends are usually a fairly straightforward series of progressions through a location, usually dungeon, to defeat a boss and collect an item which he has been keeping. Each quest typically takes 15-30 minutes but when you combine that with general wandering around you're looking at a game time of at least 20 hours, and probably closer to 30 or so. The boss encounters would be pretty tough, but the ready supply of extra health means you're never really in any danger. In fact, that's one of the problems with the game - there is so many pickups and health available that you never get the sense of being periously close to dying.

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Damn, trapped.
One very exciting prospect is the ability to play this game wirelessly with up to 3 other PSP owners allowing the party of four to work together to complete missions. We only played 2-players in this manner however it was very evident that this adds much more to the enjoyment of the game - going 4-players would be a blast.

Unfortunately I can see some people tiring of the hack and slash leanings of the game and if you don't like other games of a similar ilk it would be hard seeing you enjoy this one. The need to re-enter the same areas over and over also gets a little tiring and while you ultimately are heading for different dungeons or tombs within an area it still becomes repetitive. This isn't helped by the similar look to many so called different areas - then again how different can dungeons and caves look I guess.

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Nice explosion...
Accumulation of gold also seems to have little bearing on the game. I mean it wasn't long before I had amassed about 20,000 coins, and with weapons at level 20 only costing up to 700 or so each, and more weapons being dropped in a level then you can poke a stick at it seems like this was a wasted opportunity. How about donating money to charity in the game to get special rewards, or even being able to "buy" special content such as artwork or pictures from the games design to view seperately similar to Mortal Kombat.

Unfortunately while the game engine runs fine on PS2 it seems to struggle a little more here on the PSP with some very small stutterings as you move accross the land. The texturing is average but the game world just lacks a bit of liveliness. There's no NPC's walking around the town and the enemies, while over 100 in the game seem limited to their own areas meaning in one quest you're only ever likely to see a handful of different enemies. Sadly, Untold Legends doesn't have any cut scenes, only still pictures or dialogue in text boxes. A little disappointing in that regard. On a brighter note the animation and combat looks pretty special and some magic spells are pretty sweet too.

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Taking on two enemies.
While there are no voiceovers in this game the audio still impresses primarily due to the music. Primarily orchestral based it is quite well placed in the various locations and while it can become repetitive it never grates on you. Sound effects are generally restricted to screams from enemies as you slash them to pieces as well as some great effects for the clashing of weapons.

What more can we say. Sure Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade is no Final Fantasy, not Baldur's Gate either, but it is one excellent hack n' slash adventure title destined to keep your PSP running for hours on end. All-in-all one of the more engrossing and time wasting titles we've played on the PSP and when you think about it that's why you buy games isn't it? Certainly recommended.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSNot the best looking RPG, but not too bad either.
SOUNDRepetitive music, no voices but some fairly good effects.
GAMEPLAYIt can get repetitive, but is also strangley addictive, very addictive.
VALUEIn all the game will take around 30 hours to complete, if not more.
OVERALLSo the game isn't the greatest technically, nor in design, but it has certainly had me hooked for days. If you like hack and slash type games then this is a game well worth considering.

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