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Legion Arena

March 5th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

Three interviews with the makers of Legion: Arena have gone up in the last month or so, so this is as good a time as any to post my early impressions based on the coverage.

As I have said before, Slitherine’s games leave me a little cold. Though lovingly made, they never stay long on my hard drive. And, to this point, all their games have been pretty much the same. Legion, Chariots of War, Spartan…fraternal triplets with little to separate them beyond their settings and unit descriptions.

Legion: Arena looks to be a complete break from that. It is being described as role playing strategy. You build an army that must serve you through the wars as you work to become the most powerful general in the world. SimMarius, I guess. Though originally conceived as an online ladder game only, it looks like Slitherine has bowed to customer pressure and included a pure single player game to go with it.

It’s hard to tell from screenshots what exactly will be included and what won’t, but screenshots like this one make me giddy with joy. First, it looks like there are historical campaign setups, but not purely historical since the Romans seem to have elephants in the Samnite War. Second, the unit descriptions have that whole RPG feel to them that will make your troops more than a bunch of redshirts to send to their deaths.

So far we’ve only seen the Romans and Gauls in action, but in the interview with Merlin, Iain McNeil says that players will be able to play through the Battle of Cannae. So there could be more armies and nations coming. All of which makes sense since Legion: Arena is supposed to be the dry run for their upcoming grand strategy game Legion II.

It used to be the case that any ancients type game would have me dropping a deposit on a pre-order, but the flood of recent titles plus the soul-eating experiences of Pax Romana, Celtic Kings, and Alexander are enough to make me cautious. This in spite of the not-so-bad Tin Soldiers: Alexander the Great and the amazing Rome: Total War.

Legion: Arena has me officially enthused.

It is a finalist in the IGF awards, so expect more news from this month’s Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco.


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