Hidden. Dragon. Legend. Three words that ultimately can send shivers down the spines of many platform gamers alike. I mean, just by the title, you already kind of know what the context and themes may be about the game. I had to check out the trailer to see if it indeed met those assumptions and it did…to a certain degree. One thing that really makes me anxious is when a announcement trailer for a game purely focuses on gameplay. Not the story, the characters, or maybe even the set piece and I see this happening more frequently in gaming. I mean, what could they be possibly trying to hide?
Before I get into that, I want to touch upon what the game did right and that is combat and versatility. For a platform game, it didn’t bring anything new in terms of the versatile nature of things but it definitely did keep offering more an more with each chapter, keeping the gameplay fluid. These aren’t changes that necessarily get you hyped for each chapter but it’s nice to have that attitude going into a new chapter knowing that there most likely will be something new being introduced. Combat is really where this game shines. Much like the versatility, the combat is nothing new but it definitely isn’t too boring. The only criticism I have in the area is that it didn’t feel as flexible as I would have liked it to. There will be moments where you’re throwing slashes and jumps in rapid succession but there are often time where the character just kind of freezes between those combat transitions and it did take me out of the flow I expected from a game like this. It didn’t kill the gameplay for me, I still mostly have fun with it but it did frustrate me at times.
Now, onto the cons of this game and I hate to say it but there are a few. Right off the bat, within the first minute of this game, the sound design was SO poor! I can get that and almost let it off because it’s not a big budget game and you have to work with what you can but the character vocals did not at all match the environment or atmosphere. You got the exact same vocal pitch and length from when you’re outside to when you’re in an enclosed and echoed room and the vocals don’t change and adapt to the location at all. There are also these shielded enemies you deal with a lot throughout the game and it makes a metal clunking sound whenever you hit their shields and oh my god, it drove me crazy sometimes. A lot of the sound design in this game were purely from stock and you could tell easily. It may seem like a minor detail but when you look back at certain that were possibly on a similar budget to this game that utilize sound effects in such a better fashion, it’s hard to overlook.
In terms of story, it’s about as basic as you can get. Typical revenge story met with a journey of self-discovery and mystical powers. If you’re thinking of the ending that kind of story right now…it’s the ending to this game. Probably the worst thing about this game was the mixed messages it was sending me throughout the story. There are very cheesy pieces of dialogue that you just listen to and think that it had to have been on purpose and then they introduce enemy types and rankings in a very Quentin Tarantino, badass fashion and then a couple of minutes after that, it tries to be a deep, emotional story and I just didn’t know where to think with this game. It was really sloppy storytelling and people make the excuse that it is because it’s a Platform game and that doesn’t help the case at all. Playing devil’s advocate here but I did like the insight into the actual history of this story and other stories it revolves around which I think did a better job at telling a story than this game did.
To conclude, Hidden Dragon Legend was kind of a big disappointment. I would say that you could enjoy this game if you just ignore the story and the lackluster sound design, that could be possible but even in terms of gameplay, there isn’t as much depth to it as I would like there to be. Graphically, it’s what you expected it to be but that could be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look it out.
Overall, I would say if you are a die-hard platform gamer, you can give this game a try if you so please but ultimately, I don’t think it’ll be a game you will remember or even a game you might not want to continue playing after the first two chapters.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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