Spyro Shadow Legacy (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew
Because I'm reviewing this game rather late it was interesting to see what other areas of the press had written about Spyro's first outing on the DS platform and to be honest the majority were none too flattering. This does appear to be all too common now though and we seem to be at a stage in electronic gamings life cycle where we really have seen it all before and, as a result, everyone is looking for the next big thing. The more gullible believe it lays in new hardware release but others who have been with it since the very beginning know it's all about ideas. This brings us neatly back to Spyro who, in gaming terms at least, is a bit of an old timer who has never really broken out of the action/adventure genre. This has a great deal to do with the 'if it 'aint broke, don't try and fix it' line of thought but with yet another new platform is it time for the forever young purple dragon to learn some new tricks?
As with all games of this nature it's up to the hero (in this case Spyro) to fend off evil and so bring harmony back to the land. Shadow Legacy follows this same storyline and it's now up to you to aid him in his quest. In addition to the usual action adventure themes the developers have also added some RPG elements and you'll first notice this with the combat system. It's here Spyro has to gain experience with each enemy he defeats in the hope that he is equipped with enough experience when it matters. The rest of the game is a very simple affair with the usual talking to inhabitants to gain information, and even keys, and solving puzzles in order to progress through the game. I'd love to say this was a more complicated, in-depth experience but it really isn't but as a beginners title to this genre that's no bad thing.
While Spyro is intuitive enough to control there are some glaring issues, which really should have been ironed out during the beta stage. The first of these is the collision detection and you'll occasionally meet your doom even though you are playing it safe. This happened to us on a number of occasions when Spyro was a little too close to the water only to be 'sucked' in. The same sort of thing occurred with seemingly simple jumps that had to be constantly repeated until you cleared the gap more by luck than skill. The other problem is the over use of some of the controls which causes confusion with one of the buttons controlling up to four actions. Not exactly what you want when it's a life and death situation.
The visuals here both please and disappoint in the same breath and while on the positive side they do look wonderful you can't help feeling that the developers have made no attempt to tap into the power of the DS. Animation is also smooth with some inventive characters design and there's also a fair amount of special effects, which accompany spells and battles. But that's your lot really and the game has little deviation from the isometric viewpoint, which is even more puzzling given what we already know the system is capable of.
The soundtrack is actually quite pleasant neatly balanced in between the annoying and foot tapping departments while perfectly conveying the magical theme of the game. The sound effects are far less memorable but as with the music enahnce the various characters and their actions unlike the generic effects, which feature in the majority of games at the moment.
As with every other aspect of the game there's been little attempt to make this a true DS product and the bottom screen remains almost redundant for the majority of the game. Its only real use is as a kind of inventory, which is always available, but given the innovative uses we've seen recently for the touch screen you almost get the impression that the developers were oblivious to the bottom screens existence.
If you don't expect Shadow Legacy to be a life changing experience then you'll no doubt enjoy this latest Spyro outing and while it delivers absolutely nothing original it does do what it says on the box. The biggest criticism is probably the fact that while this is on the DS system it in no way utilizes either the power or unique features available, which is the least you'd expect really. As a result this is definitely one for the younger gamers (although Spyro always was) and if any of your pre-teen siblings have a DS on their Christmas list this year you won't go far wrong with this.
Pro: Wonderful Visuals (but this is a DS game)
Con: Nothing Original, feels Like a GBA Game
Final score: 7
|Genre:||Action / RPG|