WARRIORS: LEGENDS OF TROY – MCM MEMORABILIA NOV ’10 ACHILLES COMBAT DEMO IMPRESSIONS
This weekend I have been at the MCM Memorabilia show at NEC, Birmingham and between buying Stars Was figurines (Jawas, Astromechs & the ‘fit him with a restraining bolt’ driod from Jabba’s Palance) I got to spend some decent time playing the Warriors: Legends of Troy demo on PS3. This was the same ‘Achilles’ demo that has been shown at E3, TGS & London Expo this year.
The demo involves bad-ass Achilles bloodily massacring his way through grunts and officer squads towards the Temple of Apollo and then fighting the supernatural-possessed statue in a boss fight that involves a God of War-style QTE sequence at its climax. (On a side note – I wonder if the games industry’s developers are paying enough tribute to Yu Suzuki for inventing the Quick Timer Event [QTE] in Shenmue?).
Whilst playing the Warriors: Legends of Troy (WLOT) demo I noticed a number of changes to the Warriors/Musou system combat formula. From this point on I will call Warriors games ‘Musou’ as it just sounds so much better.
I thought for my first blog I would list my top-3 combat system changes. I hope this helps the Warriors fans out there to understand a bit about where Tecmo Koei Canada are going with this game. WLOT is not just a DW game which switches Achilles in for Zhao Yun, adds some blood in and is done what it.
So here are my top-3 changes to the Musou combat formula for WLOT:
1. Shields & Enemies with Defence Tactics.
In WLOT enemies of all levels have developed ideas of self-preservation. Soldiers, squad-leaders and even the sub-boss of the demo I played – Troilus – hunker down behind large (sometime spiked) shields. Trying to attack with the usual Musou game hacks and slashes will just see your sword harmlessly ping off your enemy’s shield – leaving you stunned and easily counter-attacked.
The addition of shields and enemy defensive strategies adds a new layer to the Musou combat system – it’s also the reason why your character cannot jump. Pressing X now results in a shield attack. If you time you shield attacks well you will be able to knock your enemy’s shield down and break his guard. Once the enemy’s guard is broken you can hack and slash at the exposed flesh of the enemy and do some serious damage.
The shield attacks tend to be focused directly in front of the player’s character and slow to launch hence they are not useful for crowd control. This means players cannot just spam out shield attacks – instead using them only when they have an enemy singled out and under-pressure in most cases.
The satisfaction of killing and enemy that has actually made some attempt to defend itself certainly adds a level of excitement and tension to WLOT that hasn’t been there in Musou games before. (I actually felt a pang of guilt as Achilles deftly whipped a cowering grunt’s shield aside and ran him through the heart!)
Which brings me neatly on to too:
If you stab someone through the neck in real-life does it instantly kill them or does it take off some hit-points from their life-bar?
In past Musou games the amount of damage done to an enemy is generally calculated by the relative power of the player’s character + weapon vs. the enemy’s defence stats. Depending on how the equations played out you did a set amount of damage to the enemy’s life-bar. This type of ‘RPG Rules’ combat worked great within a Musou formula that constantly forced players to keep levelling their characters – however it is not conducive to a player’s suspension of disbelief. If you impale someone on your spear/sword/axe/claws etc by the laws that govern our reality you expect them to just die right?
In WLOT – if you play smartly you will open up your enemy’s guard and get the opportunity to perform a one-hit-kill finishing move. (In the game the possibility of executing a finisher is signified by the appearance of a triangle symbol over the enemy’s torso – it’s kind of like a bulls-eye for Achilles glinting blade.).
In the demo shown at Memorabilia we could see Achilles using a number of finishing techniques depending on his position relative to the enemy. Recognition of the player character’s position relative the target enemy and execution of a suitable/believable finisher animation is another example of WLOT attempting to keep the action within the realms of the believable.
During the Memorabilia demo I saw four finisher animations for Achilles:
1. Sword straight through the belly and out via the spinal column.
2. Sword through the spine and out via the belly
3. Overhead throw with the shield and stab through the neck of the prone enemy.
4. Flying neck slash.
Who knows there could be more?
In the demo finishers can be used on basic soldiers, squad leaders and sub-bosses. This means that if you play smartly you can kill the most threatening enemies with a single a move.
For me the finisher system in WLOT represents a big change from the traditional Musou game system where more powerful enemies just require more slashes with no real change in strategy required by the player.
3. Two Combo String Options
WLOT has a neat addition to the Musou formula in the form of a second option to finish slash-string combos.
As you will know the traditional Musou combos are things like:
square, square, triangle
square, square, square, triangle
Simple, addictive stuff really. We have seen changes to this basic system recently such as the addition of boost chaining in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam but overall the system has stayed the same.
In WLOT we have the option of using X (shield attack) to finish slash-strings rather than triangle (charge).
This doubles the amount of combos each character has at their disposal and because of the shield system mentioned earlier adds an extra tactical level to the game.
For example Achilles’ square, square, square, X combo ends with a very slow to launch but devastating circular kick and shield attack that breaks the guard of all surrounding shielded enemies. That means that all surrounding enemies are then susceptible to a finisher.
If the player is fighting shielded enemies finishing a slash combo with an X is the superior option. If the enemies are unsheilded then finished with a Triangle charge is quicker and has a wider AOE. It’s not exactly rocket-science but at least WLOT is challenging the player to employ some sought of tactical thinking to the way they deploy Achilles’ movset.
In this blog I have limited myself to the top-3 changes WLOT combat makes to the Musou combat system.…
…..There are other cool things such as rag-doll physics that means each enemy death animation is unique depending on the force and direction of the killing blow, dead bodies that stick around, picking up dead enemy’s weapons, throwing swords and spears, squad based AI, the best lock-on system I have seen in a Musou game ….
….but I do not have time to write about them now…maybe in a forthcoming blog if anyone is interested?
I want to say thanks to Gischie who is helping with the graphic design on my blog.
Please keep checking back for more info. on WLOT other Tecmo Koei games.
LEADY 247/365 ^^