Arslan: The Warriors of Legend Horses-On Preview [TGS 2015]

What button kills a guy? Every button kills a guy. Everything I touched in Arslan: The Warriors of Legend was killing people. Much like that time everybody was allegedly kung-fu fighting, I was chopping them up and chopping them down. This type of war can indeed be seen as an ancient Chinese art, and all those stooges definitely knew their part. Their part was to get killed by me.

Horse controls were, I don’t know, kind of stupid. Are horses always stupid in games? Well it wasn’t bad, really. It controlled well enough, but it didn’t feel fun, probably because my grandma died a few months back. She was a champion horse racer. I’m not even kidding. I always end up thinking of my grandparents during TGS, one way or another.

Do people ride horses? Like, do you have a horse? Can you saddle that thing up and ride it? As a kid I thought a lot of people had horses and everybody everywhere had ridden them at least a handful of times, but no. No, that is not the case. When we moved to an urban area — oh, and I grew out of a 5-year-old’s worldview — I realized, no, horses are a country thing. Here in Japan, so few people have even seen one. A student of mine told me “I’m taking the train to this place tomorrow, to ride a horse for the first time!” She’s like 55 years old. “The hell?” I said.

So you get on that horse and can do the “Mardan Rush,” which is when your guy glows and shouts and rushes in a way that makes you go “Yeah that’s how Mardan would do it. Mardan would do it just like that.” Mardan is the 19th largest city of Pakistan, according to Wikipedia. Here’s a comments challenge: let’s try to name the other 18.

But when Koei Tecmo showed me this and the guy was like “It’s a Mardan Rush!” I could only nod and give a look of fake knowingness. My eyebrows lowered, my head slowly went up and down, as if imagining a rush and some frequently referenced version of Mardan in my head. I wasn’t. I was only trying to help him not feel terrible about what a horrible failure of a person was now holding a controller hooked up to his game.

I always hesitate to say that something was too easy, because show demos are often programmed to be as easy as possible, but… I have to call it like I see it, and this was pretty easy. I never felt like there was any real danger. Everything I did killed a bunch of people. I just ran to where my objective marker was on the map, mowing people down as I did so and kept finding out that I was clearing quests without even trying. It’s nice to win, but I didn’t really feel like I overcame anything.

Arslan did have nice enough graphics, great anime styling art, and general game flow. I also understand that there’s an anime and manga tie-in here, so keep that in mind if you’re a fan of it. It looked like the story might go some interesting places, but the demo wasn’t long enough to get a taste of it. If you’re already familiar with the world of Arslan, it might’ve been some good stuff.

If you don’t like musou games, I don’t feel like this will convert you, but there might be something in it if you can’t get enough of games like Dynasty Warriors, Hyrule Warriors, and Warriors Orochi.

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