Legendary Updated Hands-On

London is burning and we shoot werewolves by the river.

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In the upcoming first-person shooter Legendary, you'll find yourself attempting to protect the fleeting remnants of humanity from a scourge of mythical beasts that have come spilling out of Pandora's Box. It's a battle that takes place across several major international cities, a fight in which modern weaponry is pitted against creatures such as minotaurs and werewolves. We recently took a spin through a portion of the game's London setting that let us try to blast griffins out of the sky using--what else?--rocket launchers.

Just picture the fallout of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but with more helicopters and werewolves.
Just picture the fallout of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but with more helicopters and werewolves.

The level that we saw occurs later on in the game. It begins with you strolling through an underground science facility deep beneath the streets of London. All around you are researchers and soldiers doing their part to maintain calm in the face of this newfound terror. We began by hitting up the firing range to get acclimated with the controls. For the most part, the game controls similarly to most sprint-and-zoom first-person shooters in the Call of Duty mold. The one major difference is the triangle button. (We played the PlayStation 3 version, but others will be released for the Xbox 360 and PC.) The health of recently deceased enemies lingers above their corpses in the form of a floating energy ball, and hitting this button lets you siphon that health. This goes into a pool of health that you can cash in through one of two ways: either by using it to boost your own health or by triggering a pulse attack that stuns enemies to give you an upper hand when things get hairy.

That's exactly what happened not long after we got a feel for how the weapons worked. Once we had our fill with the firing range, we headed up to where Pandora's Box was being kept. Things were calm for a moment, and then a sudden rush of evil spirits came barreling into the facility. In just a few seconds, everything turned to chaos; researchers ran for their lives while soldiers did their best to maintain order. But that wound up being a tough task with all of the werewolves climbing on the walls and the ghosts zipping through the air. We were given the order to make our way to the freight elevator and take on the enemies that had mounted the rooftop, and with that, the real action finally started.

We darted through the underground facility while doing our best to shotgun any werewolves in our way. They're a quick bunch, so it wasn't easy, but we made it to the elevator in one piece. We were met there by a group of soldiers who were diligently trying to figure out the elevator's activation switch. We bravely stepped in, offered to display our knowledge of the "action button," and were quickly on our way upward. During this slow-moving elevator sequence, several werewolves came crawling down to take us on. We gladly obliged, testing out each of our arsenal's components: a shotgun, a submachine gun, and an assault rifle capable of firing in burst mode when zoomed in or in full auto when shot from the hip. The werewolves display some tenacious AI, and to make matters even more difficult, you have to make sure that their heads are decapitated lest they regenerate and come back for more.

It's about time those griffins got taken down a notch or two.
It's about time those griffins got taken down a notch or two.

Once on the rooftops, we were treated to a rather unnerving view of London engulfed in flames. Westminster Palace was in shambles, Big Ben looked about ready to crumble over, and even the London Eye bore more resemblance to the Eye of Sauron than its usual self. And to cap all of this off, an army of griffins was circling overhead, ready to swoop down and take us out. We got to fight these beasts in a few different ways. The first griffin that we encountered stuck to the ground and charged after us, forcing us to time fleeing sprints with extended periods of shotgun fire when the griffin was turning itself around. It was a tough little boss battle, but we made it through and carried on. We then found a cache of rocket launchers to use against the cloud of griffins fluttering like bats in the sky. They turned out to be surprisingly easy targets, which confirmed our long-standing suspicion that shooting griffins with a rocket launcher is, indeed, awesome.

That's where our demo came to an end. Legendary certainly has some unique aspects working in its favor, including the London-in-flames background and a unique combination of mythical enemies and modern firepower. If that sounds like an appealing mixture of concepts, you can look forward to Legendary arriving on September 30 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with the PC version tailing on November 4.

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