Published by: Paradox Interactive
Developed by: Ice Game Studios
In many respects Legio is a simplistic turn-based strategy title. The game itself has no storyline although the game manual sets the scene by telling us of a duelling prince and princess who are both desperate to get their hands on the throne of the Kingdom of Bella Lagucia. They both believe a game of Legio using real armies is the way to sort things out. The game is rather light on content with no single-player campaign or tutorial. Whilst a tutorial would certainly have been welcome, it’s not an absolute necessity because the game-play in Legio is as simple as it could be. That’s not to say it’s an easy game however and you’ll need to use some thought and you'll require a decent amount of good fortune if you’re to defeat anything but the easiest of opponents.
In a game of Legio you’ll take control of either the blue or red army. Each army has control of a castle and the castles are joined by a bridge. A game of Legio takes place over two rounds of battles. The first round takes place on the bridge with the second battle taking place in the interior of the castle that belongs to the defeated army from the first round. The battle maps are grid based and are fairly simple in design. At the beginning of the first round you’ll have a pool of twenty-five distribution points with which you can purchase units to form your army. The available units are: Warrior, Captain, WarRabbit, Assassin, Archer, Priest, Magician and Giant. There are only a set number of each unit available across the two rounds, there is only one Captain, Assassin and Giant for instance, and each unit requires a specific amount of distribution points to purchase. Essentially then you have to build an army to suit your strategy for the first round but also consider the units that will remain for selection in the second round.
Whilst the game is very simplistic, it can be very challenging. Each of the units have their own strengths and weaknesses which you’ll need to take advantage of if you’re to succeed. Probably the most challenging aspect of the game is that you don’t have any notification of how your opponent’s army will be composed. What this means is that you have to create an army that can cope with most eventualities. To a certain degree this takes some of the strategy out of the game and prevents you from creating specialised forces to deal with specific tactics. You do get to choose the battle map for the second round and you can compose your army to take advantage of this second battle map but this can be all for nought if your rival makes mincemeat out of your army in the first round, especially as remaining units from the first round remain in the battle so the winning army will have a distinct advantage with units still in play and a further twenty-five distribution points with which to call in reinforcements. As a result, Legio can be a difficult game to win from a losing position.
Performing an attack isn’t simply a case of giving the orders and sitting back to watch the attack play out. After an attack has been ordered, a target zone will appear. You have to press the left mouse button when the floating crosshair is centred in the target zone in order to do full amount of damage. If the crosshair is off-centre, it can result in a weaker attack. Whilst I’ve no objection to this method of carrying out attacks, it’s a shame that there is no method by which to determine how successful your defensive manoeuvres are. Instead of moving your units however, you can put them in a stand ground/defensive position which can boost their defensive attributes.
The single-player game has limited appeal as there is no campaign or storyline to enjoy. Having battles against the AI is all well and good but the novelty wears off all too quickly. Thankfully you can engage in both online and local multiplayer battles (played on the same computer with each player taking turns) to liven things up. Playing against human opposition definitely makes Legio a more enjoyable experience but there still isn’t a great deal of depth to the game and there are question marks against its longevity.
The presentation of Legio is rather basic. The unit designs are adequate and don’t look too bad when you’re zoomed out but on closer inspection you’ll see that they aren’t that detailed and the textures are bland and simplistic. The game isn’t subtitled but for the most part this doesn’t cause any problems. The units do make some comments when you issue orders to them and the head of your opponent’s army also makes a few comments when one of their units is victorious or defeated, but on the whole these comments are repetitive and add little to the experience.
Priced at £7.95 (on GamersGate) at the time of writing, Legio offers an affordable and simplistic turn-based strategy experience. Personally I don’t think that there’s much here for those looking solely for a single-player experience. Had you been shown the composition of the AI army prior to the start of a battle, the single-player game would have allowed you to practice specific strategies with different army compositions but as it stands the appeal of the single-player game is very limited. As a multiplayer experience Legio is more enjoyable and with games only lasting around fifteen to twenty minutes it’s a game that strategy fans don’t have to put much time aside for. Whether this is a game that will hold your long term interest remains to be seen however.