Fallen Empire: Legions

Playing a normal shooter after Fallen Empire: Legions is a bit like coming back from holiday: all the excitement is gone; everything is just as you left it. Legions is the spiritual successor to Tribes, a team-shooter played in a hilly wilderness. You have a jetpack that spurts you into the air and an alternate mode that enables you to ski over the landscape, dodging grenades and shooting enemies. If you’re not part of the small subset of PC gamers who’ve long-missed this kind of action it’ll feel entirely new, slick and surprising. The sense of movement really makes it stand out, as the levels swish by underfoot and the tiny little dots ahead of you resolve into chunky, cybersuited targets to tackle.

It’s such a strange feeling to draw a bead on an enemy, and steady your aim only for them to shoot into the air like a lumpy rocket, trailing neon glow in the air behind them. You leap to into the air to follow; they twist, fire and drop out of sight. It’s Quake III unfettered by gravity. Legions could stand to use more weapons: you have precious few choices between sniper and gunner, and the way they’ve implemented weapon accuracy takes a little getting used to: as a sniper there’s a noticeable delay from mouse-clicking to the shot firing. It seems an unnecessary encumbrance.

But these can be fixed with beta level tweaks. The game plays amazingly well, given that it’s launched from your web browser. It’s another Instant Action game, playable in Firefox or [spits] IE. They’re stealing a march on both Battlefield Heroes and Quake Live, and the playable beta will hopefully give them time to tune out the bugs and tweak this game to make it an essential bookmark.

Aug 13, 2008