Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hunter's Legacy Review (PlayStation 4)

Written by James Nicolay

Developer: Lienzo
Publisher: Lienzo
Genre: Action, Platformer, 2D
Price: $6.99
Also available on: PC, Xbox One

Hunter's Legacy is a single player 2D action platformer game with Metroidvania and puzzle elements. While the art design of the game is attractive and charming, as you control a female feline that wields two swords and shoots with magical arrows, the imbalance of difficulty could turn off some gamers to enjoy its whimsical world.

You play a character named Ikki, who is adept with twin swords and a bow--and you find out in the story that she is a Great Huntress of Un'Amak. Her town is ravaged by evil after Evil Lord Morodir stole the Fang of Alliance. Your job is to traverse the platforming world of Hunter's Legacy, find three orbs to enable Ikki to defeat Lord Morodir.

The controls are simple enough: you move forward using the sticks or the direction pad, you can attack, jump, roll, or shoot an arrow. Eventually, you unlock the ability to do a downward strike, dash, etc.

The design of the platform world, made up of nine interconnected areas, is also good as some areas can be further unlocked the better your skills would get. You can also improve your stuff by buying with coins and exchanging ores (that can be difficult to find), and you can max out your health and find other goodies in treasure chests or by talking to other NPCs. You can travel by portals and access save points once in a while. The entire game gives you three slots for save file, but you cannot save your current file into another save slot just in case you want to bookmark your save file.

The main difficulty I had playing Hunter's Legacy is how some enemies seem to be overpowered. While the game seems to respect the intelligence and skills of the gamer, I wish that there's an Easy Mode where the enemies are a lot easier to defeat as majority of the enemies require at least 2 strikes before being vanquished. The easiest enemy is the Caterpillar, but it requires three strikes before you can defeat it. Some flying enemies can be defeated with one arrow, but only if the arrow is charged (by pressing the triangle button longer). The imbalance of the game appears when the difficult enemies gang up on you--and this happens quite a lot. Many enemies, since they require many heats to be defeated, could collect in a single screen at times. While you can be hit at least 8 times before dying, this could be disappointing as even two or three overpowered enemies can really be fatal even if your health bars are maxed out.

There are times when I feel that the game would be so much more enjoyable if only Ikki would slowly feel more powered as the game progresses and the enemies would feel slightly weaker. Unfortunately, the game punishes you once you upgrade your skills and weapons--they don't seem fazed by your upgrades and they are still thick-skinned.

There are only three bosses before the big boss, but my complain with the bosses is that their life bar seems unnecessarily long. Granted that there are only three of them, but it seems a bit cheap that the difficulty relies on the length of their life bar. Worse, is that sometimes their movements can be too random to predict especially when you can only do significant damage when you're too near. There is a boss which I had difficulty defeating because shooting arrows on it barely makes any dent on its life bar. Like if the villain has 300 points for life bar, it probably only removes 1 point. And this is while I only have a max of 40 arrows. My dual sword does better with probably 3 points per hit, but you need to come close in order to do that damage. Unfortunately, the boss moves unpredictably and can hurt by coming to contact Ikki, and worst of all is that it emits tiny flying stones that change temperature and can cling to you at all times, further dipping your health until you die so many times.

And that is my number one complain with this game: the enemies are damn clingy. It's almost as if Ikki is honey, and the enemies are bees who are fond of flocking around and buzzing around until they pester you to your death.

While this happens, this is when I notice that the background music is not as catchy or great. It's serviceable, but I feel it could be better.

While the game has great art style and simple animations, the frame rate drops often, and even the pacing of any area as the world moves from one scene to the next, the transitions are noticeably rough

While there are power-ups and collectible to pick up along the way, the imbalance of difficulty, and not getting any feel of being powered up, makes me not really want to replay the game

To conclude, Hunter's Legacy feels like a missed opportunity to make itself in the same league as other great 2D platform action modern games like Shovel Knight. I feel that had it gone more testing on different types of gamers, maybe the game would've been more fun to play.

SCORE: 3/5