The Japanese retail version of Capcom's Chaos Legion showed up at the GameSpot offices bright and early this morning, and we've put the game through its initial paces. Clearly, the success of Devil May Cry has influenced Capcom's aesthetic and design direction with Chaos Legion, as the two games share a lot of visual and gameplay elements. So far, it seems that Chaos Legion is more linear and story-driven than Devil May Cry, but it seems stylistically similar enough that fans of Devil May Cry will very likely want to give it a shot.
Capcom bills Chaos Legion as a "gothic opera," and that's about as apt a label as any. The first three levels that we played all took place in a pretty generic ruined castle setting, and they pitted the game's hero, Sieg, against hordes of twisted enemies. The plot has Sieg fighting to take down his nemesis, a platinum-haired swordsman named Victor, and apparently he'll have to battle through wave after wave of bizarre creatures to do so. The story plays out through FMV cutscenes that have the same flair for drama that's seen in countless anime series.
Like Devil May Cry's Dante, Sieg is a stylish, roguish badass with a big sword, a flowing cape, and lots of fancy combat moves. While Devil May Cry's fighting focused largely on flamboyant aerial maneuvers, however, Chaos Legion's combat is a lot more grounded. You can perform a standard set of sword attack combos by hammering on the main attack button, and you also have an energy projectile weapon that you can mix into combos. Sieg isn't quite as mobile as Dante--he can only perform a single jump, for instance--and overall he doesn't have quite the same flair in his attacks. In addition to your life meter, you have a "soul" meter that fills up as you fight. When it's full, you can unleash a powerful special move that is useful for cutting through the massive groups of enemies.
Though Sieg may not be the one-man arsenal that Dante was, he does have a variety of familiars, known as legions, that will fight alongside him in battle. These familiars can be summoned at any time, and they automatically assume a defensive position or attack the enemy, depending on your command. Your legions help out a lot in battle, but Sieg's movement speed is severely hampered by their presence, so you're forced to summon the legions judiciously and not simply rely on them to do all your fighting. As you progress through the linear sequence of missions, you'll gain new legions, and you can decide which ones you want to use before you start a new level. So far, it looks like the legions are integral to making it through the game, because the enemies are often of overwhelming strength and number when you're fighting them alone.
Chaos Legion also contains some RPG elements, from what we've seen. Though the game's menus are rife with Japanese, we surmised that you can gain experience and upgrade the stats of both Sieg and your legions. Of course, a variety of items is also available to help you out during battle. Chaos Legion looks like it will be a solid action title, and though it hasn't been officially announced yet for US release, we'll have more on it soon.