Arslan: The Warriors of Legend continues a positive trend for Koei Tecmo that has seen the company take its successful Warriors format and merge it with other existing IPs. It has seen the birth of games such as One Piece: Pirate Warriors, Dragon Quest Heroes and even Hyrule Warriors - each well received among their respective fan bases.
This latest collaboration sees developers Omega Force work on The Heroic Legend of Arslan and we were able to check it out this past weekend at MCM London Comic Con.
For the purposes of the show, a small, crafted demo was put together to help highlight some of the similarities and differences that Arslan: The Warriors of Legend has with other games in the Warriors franchise. This was split into two clear parts: an open-area section where you played as Arslan himself and a more traditional section where you played as Daryun, Arslan's protector.
Playing as Arslan, you could see clear, immediate differences when using a horse. In other Warriors games, horses are often most useful to help you get between two locations quickly, but with Arslan: The Warriors of Legend a concerted effort has been made to make them feel more connected and useful when in actual combat. This is epitomised by the introduction of the MardÄn Rushes; special moves that have a massive impact on the battlefield.
During the demo, "heat areas" appeared at certain times and these were used to initiate a MardÄn Rush. When using this move as Arslan, he was aided by a huge wave of cavalry that you were able to control. This proceeded to wipe out hundreds of troops and empty out the battlefield somewhat. In the second instance, the MardÄn Rush was used to summon the same cavalry, but this time they were used to clear an objective on the map. In the final game, it is said that MardÄn Rushes can be chained together in rare instances.
For the purposes of the story in the demo, this second MardÄn Rush initiated a cutscene where Arslan's naive leadership showed, as he directed his troops straight into a trap. This then set up the second part of the level, which saw you switch to Daryun in order to try and rescue him.
This section, which was positioned more as a tutorial than anything else, again highlighted the use of horses, but it also offered a look at the more traditional ground-based combat such as the dynamic between normal and strong attacks. Here, we got to see some newer Warriors mechanics have been applied, such as weapon switching combos to exploit weakness in enemies and deal increased damage. If you're familiar with Warriors, everything works as expected. It's not quite as fluid as the combat proposed in Samurai Warriors 4/4-II, but it feels a bit smoother than the recent Dynasty Warriors game.
Coming to a close, the demo featured a melee that was akin to duel with an enemy general. This harkened back to Warriors: Legends of Troy and I believe a similar style was featured in an earlier Dynasty Warriors title. Duels between Warriors are typical, but they are often in the middle of the battlefield, surrounded by enemy troops. Here, there was a much more focussed battle taking place between you and him and this was further enhanced by the addition of a shielded health meter. You would have to destroy the shield before inflicting literal damage and it meant blocking and dodging was essential to staying on top.
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend is due to release on the 9th of February, 2016 in North America and the 12th of February, 2016 in Europe. It will be arriving on the PS4 and Xbox One.