It’s always nice to see an under-represented culture or time period in video games. In The Legend of Tianding, you are thrown onto the streets of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, in the early 20th century as the legendary criminal Liao Tianding. This is a surprisingly authentic option with amazingly beautiful surroundings. alive with bustling streets and high imposing buildings along the roads. It’s also a game that unfortunately doesn’t quite respect the players’ time, stubbornly refraining from showcasing its best aspects at frequent intervals.
The game is divided into chapters, each of which tells a separate story from the life of Liao Tianding. Typically, stories begin with a variety of exposures and settings before you enter the main mission area, where you navigate a series of aisles and arenas, battling hordes of enemies in your path. This is an easy look at the Metroidvania genre; Locations are generally fairly linear, with only a few additional areas to explore in search of items or collectibles.
The real essence of the game is focused on combat. If we were to compare it directly to another game, it is very similar to Guacamel! series, but showcases its own style and flavor with an emphasis on disarming enemies and using their own weapons against them. You will use everything from tantos to police batons and even rocket launchers as you crack down on opponents, with the game gradually introducing new abilities as you progress, allowing you to combine attack combinations in style.
You will also need to use all the abilities that you have at your disposal, as the enemies will attack quickly and quickly. Since the game is set to Criminal Wanted, these guys don’t hold water; you need to be fast, agile and aggressive as it only takes a few mistakes to get back to the last checkpoint. Of course, you can reduce the difficulty to Gentleman Thief for an easier ride, but we recommend at least starting at a higher setting for a more reliable and rewarding experience.
At the end of each chapter, you will come face to face with an area boss. On the tougher difficulty setting, these opponents really put your skills and patience to the test, requiring you to use every move at your disposal while dodging, diving, diving and dodging multiple projectiles at the same time. Be prepared to face them multiple times (at least!), As understanding their routines and attack patterns is vital to success. Let’s just say they can give some of the boss characters in Metroid Dread the opportunity to earn their money.
The Legend of Tianding shines brightest when you’re knee-deep in its superb combat. It’s a shame that he insists on wasting So a lot of time for other aspects of the game. As each chapter begins, you get to know new characters and get context for what you are required to do (and who you should fight in the process). This is fine in and of itself, but the game spends too much time on this aspect, often asking you to move from one end of the map to the other just to pick up a key item and bring it back, with lots of interruptions from NPCs. way.
Admittedly, this is a good way to reinforce an already impressive sense of place in Taipei city, but when you just want a great fight, stopping to hand over money to beggars or buy meat from the market seems like a lot. as wasted time. The experience will benefit greatly from a little cropping here and there to improve overall speed.
Aesthetically speaking, The Legend of Tianding is a pleasantly colorful event with anime-style visuals providing a pleasing style throughout the presentation. Unfortunately, character models are repeated quite often throughout the game, but there is still a lot of personality in both the friendly NPCs you encounter and countless enemies. Likewise, the cutscenes used for each chapter are inspired by traditional manga, with an authentic Taiwanese storyteller guiding you through the beautiful images presented on screen.
From a technical point of view, the game runs at a stable frame rate for the most part, with slight dips during more intense action scenes. They are noticeable, of course, but rarely get in the way of impressive gameplay. The loading times are also short, which will surely be a favor when faced with a particularly brutal boss that requires you to reload the checkpoint several times.
As a combat experience, The Legend of Tianding sits alongside Guacamelee! a series featuring excellent gameplay that allows you to combine multiple attacks and use your enemies’ weapons against them. However, with individual chapters presenting their own standalone missions, the game relentlessly forces you to endure a huge amount of customization, with long conversations with NPCs and difficult treks through the central world of Taipei. Trimming that fat would significantly improve your overall pace, but keep doing it and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most immersive combat experiences we’ve come across in a while.