The game's combat system is executed so well that it saves the game from being just another cookie-cutter beat-'em-up.
Designed by Infinite Machine, whose founder, Justin Chin, previously worked on the hit PC shooter Jedi Knight, New Legends is one of the few Xbox games that originally started its life as a PC game. But the development team saw fit to change gears and switch the targeted platform to the Xbox. In the end, New Legends isn't a game that will win any awards for its graphics, nor will it be known for having an engaging story or being an incredibly polished game, but New Legends does one thing right: It plays great. The game's combat system is executed so well that it saves the game from being just another cookie-cutter beat-'em-up.
New Legends' story begins with Sun Soo--the game's lead character--defending his homeland from the forces of Xao Gon, who has started his bid to take over all of futuristic China. Soo is eventually defeated and exiled from his home to a prison camp where he meets up with a half-demon, half-human brute named Boo, and the two quickly become allies and attempt to escape the prison camp. As you progress through the game, you'll meet up with even more characters, some of whom will actually join your party and help fight Xao Gon's army. The story is pretty one-dimensional, and later on it simply becomes a tool for relaying mission objectives. That's unfortunate because New Legends has some interesting characters that probably could've been expanded upon, such as Topo and her dragon Talos, who speak three or four lines of dialogue throughout the entire game. Most of the spoken dialogue in the game comes from Boo and another one of Sun's allies, Zhang, but again, most of it is for the purpose of explaining mission objectives with a few lines of banter between Boo and Zhang thrown into the mix.
Regardless of whether or not it adds any depth to the story, it's always a good idea to listen to Sun's sidekicks because they can offer some information on how to complete missions in the game. The action in New Legends takes place in several locations across China, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing, a Buddhist temple located in the mountains, and even on the top of a runway. Nearly every area is divided into two or three subsections, each having its own set of objectives that range from simply defeating enemies in the area or finding buttons to open doors, to setting explosive charges in specific areas. Fortunately, the objectives are varied enough that the game doesn't feel particularly repetitive. However, some problems with level design combined with an almost worthless objective "aid" can create some frustration.
Many of the levels in New Legends are absolutely massive, and it's quite possible to get lost if you're not really paying attention to your surroundings. Foreseeing such a problem, Infinite Machine incorporated a pointer icon that functions much in the same way that the arrow works in Crazy Taxi: When you're heading in the direction that the arrow is pointing, it can turn either red or blue to indicate whether you're on the correct or the incorrect path. If that sounds confusing, it is, and you'll spend a significant amount of time running around, looking for the right way to go. This problem becomes amplified particularly in indoor levels because rooms look so similar--you'll be running around in circles for some time.
As is the case with so many other games, New Legends also suffers from some horrible camera problems. The camera usually stays behind Sun Soo, and at any time you can rotate it around using the right analog stick on the Xbox controller. But there are more than a few moments when the camera will change perspective on its own, making it difficult to get a good perspective on the action. This gets much worse in tight areas or during indoor levels compared with outdoor levels--you can't move the camera through any walls, and as you might have guessed, the jittery camera doesn't work well in areas that require precise jumping (and there are a few such areas in New Legends).