Tournament of Legends Hands-On

The basics of Soul Calibur and not much more.


Tournament of Legends was formerly branded as Gladiator AD, but has gone through many changes since its first debut. Tournament of Legends is a new fighting game being published by Sega of America and designed by High Voltage Software. High Voltage’s recent collaborations with Sega have included the first-person shooter The Conduit and the Wii version of Iron Man 2. The former was met with lukewarm feelings, while the latter was critically panned. It seems questionable whether High Voltage can turn its luck around, and Tournament of Legends doesn’t seem to be any sort of guiding light.

Similar to the highly popular weapon-based fighter Soul Calibur, Tournament of Legends has you take control of an array of strange warriors armed with various weapons. While each fighter starts with its own base weapon, they can acquire and collect more, including those formerly wielded by their fallen foes. This creates various changes in combat style, as some moves are exclusive to characters, while others can be used only with certain weapons. At times an enemy may seem impossible with a certain weapon, but with a change of arms, he can become a pushover. Weapons aren’t the only form of equipment--characters’ armor will break after a few well-placed hits.

However, those items aren’t lost forever. Between rounds, you are offered minigames to recover lost life and repair broken armor. There are many more minigames, and you will be on your toes to dodge hazards in the environment itself. These seem to suffer the same fate as tedious quick-time events that have been littering too many games. The minigames make full use of the Wii’s motion controls, as does every other aspect of the game, it seems.

Basic attacks are controlled by flailing the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in various directions. An upward swing will result in a vertical cut, while a horizontal swing will perform a horizontal cut. Other movements, such as dodging and blocking, are controlled with the C and Z buttons. At the moment it seems easy enough to button-mash--perhaps “swing spam”--through enemies at the default settings. Hopefully higher enemies will pose more of a challenge.

Graphically, the environments and characters seem somewhat dated. Tournament of Legends hardly makes an effort to push the limits of what the Wii can do. Often the screen seems muddled, almost visually confusing. Between matches, though, are comic-book-style drawn cutscenes, which are very crisp and make the characters appear intriguing. It’s a shame that the in-game graphics are vastly overshadowed by the drawings within the storyline.

Sega and High Voltage are hoping to make a fighter that everyone can enjoy. At the moment, Tournament of Legends seems like only a stepping stone into a true fighting game. Hopefully they’ll improve the game greatly for its July 6 release.

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