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Review – HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND

In Ancient China there are rumors about a mysterious object that multiple factions are fighting for. In HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND, the main character is in the center of all the events. Whether if it is a faction battle or the said item, you the main character will find yourself in the middle of it all. What does this all mean? Do you want to be the said character in the middle of all of this? Find out in our review of HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND.

HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND

Release date: September 19, 2017 – PS4, TBA – PC
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Developer: MegaFun Games
Publisher: Oasis Games
Genre: Action, Adventure, Side-Scrolling, Metroidvania (Castlevania-like).

*Thanks to Oasis Games for providing the Playstation 4 Review Code.*

Intro/Story:

According to the official game page:

Set in ancient China, HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND challenges players to battle fierce foes, perform acrobatics to avoid obstacles and enemies, build their character through a deep, RPG-style skill tree and solve puzzles in the heat of battle. Players will utilize all their skills while engaging in hack and slash combat and unleashing stunning combos. To succeed in the game, players will navigate their way through tough enemies, powerful bosses and Metroidvania-style puzzles while building and customizing their fighter for their preferred style through an extensive skill tree. In the game world, competing factions vie to obtain a powerful object called the Dragon Cauldron, which grants inhuman powers at the cost of sanity and reason. When the player character finds he has been put under the spell of the Dragon Cauldron by a dark faction, making him a mere puppet forced to kill, he ventures forth to settle the score.

That is the gist of the main story from the game’s main page. As for how it plays out, this is a different story. Most of what is described in that passage is told over time as you play and foreshadowed as progression occurs. How the story unfolds is unique to say the very least. More of this will be elaborated in detail in the sections of visual and audio. However, in terms of story and its presentation, this game is reminiscence of a directly translated film straight from Chinese to English. It is if a movie that was coming from America completely skipped a localization process and went straight a 1 to 1 translation. It as if the developers knew what it was doing and how it came to presenting the story was aimed in that regard. Down from the presentation, to the characters, to the voice acting, and to pretty much anything in the game has that same atmosphere. The story is presented, then suddenly stops at key parts, you have to progress to keep it going, a bunch of gaps isn’t filled at all, and by the end of the game, you are left thinking about the experience quite a bit.  It is not a bad thing but is also not a perfect thing. It is just the HIDDEN DRAGON thing. It is trying to tell a unique story, but it does fall apart in the same way some of these “cult” films do. That is part of the charm. Now let’s look at the game further.

Intro/Story score: 3/5 – HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND has the “fill in the gap” story as you play. You are given point A then left to the rest of the story to fill in. This includes past and present of the character. It is done well for the most part, with some exceptions. That is the pacing of the story delivery. At times the delivery just does not match what is going on in terms of the game itself.

 

Gameplay:

Gameplay in HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND is rather simple as any other 2.5D side-scrolling adventure game. You have two main attacks (weak and strong attack), your secondary attack, your skills attack, evade, and other movements. You can level up your attacks, skills, and combos. In addition, you can unlock and enhance each one. It goes in the very traditional style of combat most games in the action-adventure genres go through.

However, while it has these basic elements, the delivery is clunky at times. The player will find themselves unable to dodge despite properly pressing the button. You will find that your attacks won’t connect or some awkward glitch will occur, while it looks funny, it would make attacking useless. There will find a number of glitches that can make combat itself very clunky at times. An example of this is that when an enemy has their own invisibility frames (I-frames) moment where they cannot be hurt, and them endlessly attacking you. Once you are caught in their combo, it is difficult to get out of that combo. In return, you have no such thing as I-frames either. You can be pincer attacked and attacked nonstop. The balancing can be very unforgiving in this regard.

In terms of the platforming/adventuring aspect on the 2.5D plain, it is actually well done. You have exploration in new weapons, collectibles, and whatever else the levels may hold. The areas are all unique in their own way and with their own discoveries to find. No cons can be really found here.  This, however, plays into the combat too. This makes combat very predictable as to when it will be coming. It is a 2.5D side-scroller game. You will move left to right, but be forced to stop immediately once you appear at combat area. It has that retro feel to it similar to past games. It is welcomed here, as it is balanced out with exploration as well.

Gameplay Score: 3/5 – HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND’s gameplay is average at best. It does nothing new, and it isn’t anything beaten to death. It does have its issues in terms of combat and all combat aspects.

Visual and Audio:

Visually, HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND looks beautiful. This is an indie game that was shown at PAX West 2017 and one of the very notable compliments from then to now was that it is a very beautiful game. The final product shows just as much. HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND is very impressive for how it looks being built on the Unreal 4 Engine.  It is one of the best aspects of the game and very aesthetically pleasing to see how beautiful it is as you explore.

Visual Score: 4/5 –  HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND is a very beautiful game for an indie title. One look and the player can tell that the developer took their time on making something look wonderful. It does have its fair share of moments where it does not look beautiful, but the pros outweigh the con here.

Audio:

Audio wise, I found the game to be enjoyable in terms how voice acting was delivered. As stated in the intro, there are parts of the game that feel that it went from Chinese to straight to English translation. In that regard, it felt like there was no localization. That seems like that with the voice work. The delivery of the voice acting makes it seemed either phoned in or intentional. At some moments, some sentences that are delivered in the game simply do not make sense either. It just reinforces my thoughts that its part of the game’s aesthetics. I can see how that this can be misinterpreted in several ways, it’s just the way I took it. Others can take it as the voice work is a joke, but I wouldn’t believe that. As you play, you can tell the passion is there, but the delivery is something left to the player to take in. From my experience, I took it as part of the game’s charm despite it having some major issues.

Outside of the voice work, the music is alright and the sound of the game occasionally glitched for me. Was it game-breaking? Not at all. Did it detract from my experience at all? Not at all. Was it annoying? Yes, it was.

Audio Score: 3/5 –  HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND had some sound issues as I played it. It also felt much like a cult classic Chinese film with a 1 to 1 translated to English and shipped. It works well with the theme of this game but can be offputting at times especially if there is a different expectation in place.

Replay Value:

This was a one and done type game for me. You can go back to get the collectibles and find other things to explore. Not much changes when the game is finished. The game isn’t really that long at all and does the job it set out to do in the game. It could be seen as a blueprint for something bigger.

Replay Value Score: 2/5 – There is not much to do once the game ends, however, there is going back and finish unlocking/collecting everything. In a game like this, more should be available to accomplish. In defense of the game, it does serve its purpose on finishing it.

Fun Factor:

Is this game fun? It has its moments. It kept me having fun until to the end game which gets points there. Outside of that, the game as some unique gameplay moments that was enjoyable to actually play through. At other times, I would find myself forcing myself to finish just due to some sluggish and unforgiving combat. It is a mixed bag, but overall I did enjoy it.

Fun Factor Score: 3/5 – HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND is fun. At times I had to force myself to finish the title, or just step away for a while and come back due to how sluggish the game can be. Regardless it is still fun for what it’s worth.

 

Score wrap-up/Conclusion:

HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND is an interesting title. It can be examined and interpreted in several different ways. At its core, it is a 2.5D side-scroller action adventure game. However, there is this certain aesthetic the game gives as you play it. It is like that one random night you have no idea what to watch on Netflix or any other streaming service. For that reason, you decide to just choose a random film to watch you never heard of. As you watch, the film is one of those films that seems very budget but still pretty well done. This is HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND. The Game has its moments from start to end. However, it is full of glitches, laughable voice acting, decent combat, and looking great in the process. HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND is not necessarily fully bad by any means, everything comes together and works well for that reason. For the time I invested in HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND, I did enjoy despite its flaws. If the player is to give it a chance, I am sure they will see the same. There is just something there when everything comes together, that makes it aesthetically pleasing to enjoy on all levels to some degree.

Til next time, Mgs2master2 out!

Score wrap-up/conclusion:

Intro/Story score: 3/5 – HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND has the “fill in the gap” story as you play. You are given point A then left to the rest of the story to fill in. This includes past and present of the character. It is done well for the most part, with some exceptions. That is the pacing of the story delivery. At times the delivery just does not match what is going on in terms of the game itself.

Gameplay Score: 3/5 – HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND’s gameplay is average at best. It does nothing new, and it isn’t anything beaten to death. It does have its issues in terms of combat and all combat aspects.

Visual Score: 4/5 –  HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND is a very beautiful game for an indie title. One look and the player can tell that the developer took their time on making something look wonderful. It does have its fair share of moments where it does not look beautiful, but the pros outweigh the con here.

Audio Score: 3/5 –  HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND had some sound issues as I played it. It also felt much like a cult classic Chinese film with a 1 to 1 translated to English and shipped. It works well with the theme of this game but can be offputting at times especially if there is a different expectation in place.

Replay Value Score: 2/5 – There is not much to do once the game ends, however, there is going back and finish unlocking/collecting everything. In a game like this, more should be available to accomplish. In defense of the game, it does serve its purpose on finishing it.

Fun Factor Score: 3/5 – HIDDEN DRAGON LEGEND is fun. At times I had to force myself to finish the title, or just step away for a while and come back due to how sluggish the game can be. Regardless it is still fun for what it’s worth.

 

Final Score: 3/5

About Mgs2master2

Mgs2master2

A gamer and jack of all trades. I enjoy many things, but overall just enjoying life. Hopefully, I can add enjoyment to your life through my articles or interactions.

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