Review: Hunter’s Legacy (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC, Mac

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Hunter’s Legacy
Format: PSN (1.4 GB)
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Lienzo
Developer: Lienzo
Original MSRP: $6.99 (US), €6.99 (EU), £4.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: TBD
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

As you may have guessed, the Metroidvania genre lifted its name from the two franchises that birthed the gameplay style, Metroid and Castlevania. These games are typically 2D platformers but they have some distinct features that set them apart from a Mario or Sonic type of game.

With Metroidvanias, you are usually backtracking around an open world sort of map without the divisive level or world system. Areas you may have already visited present new exploratory opportunities as you gain different skills or abilities, allowing you to access new sections and enhance the experience of the epic journey that lies ahead.

Hunter’s Legacy pays homage to the Metroidvania games of yesteryear by remaining true to the genre and it isn’t afraid to ramp up the difficulty in a few notable areas. Although it doesn’t do much by way of innovation or narrative, it presents solid gameplay through the beautiful art style and precise controls.

Gameplay:
You play as Ikki, a feline huntress warrior. Your mission is to retrieve the Fang of Alliance from the villainous Morodir. You’ll start with a simple sword strike but the bow and arrow is quickly introduced and it becomes the staple weapon in your arsenal.

Inipur Town functions as a sort of hub world populated with citizens that will help you regain health and upgrade weapons, for a fee of course. You’ll need the coins and orbs you collect from fallen foes and secret areas to get Ikki the powerups needed to defeat Morodir.

… solid mechanics, fluid movement, and inspired environments …
Hunter’s Legacy is to be commended for its enemy variety, a feature that many games in the genre often overlook. Morodir must be an equal opportunity employer because his lackeys come in all shapes, forms, and sizes. They move at different paces, use unique forms of shielding, and hop around in patterns. The dreaded flying enemies even make an appearance.

Larger than life boss battles are sprinkled throughout the six to eight hour campaign and there are no hand holding hints that give away the keys to victory. Players will have to rely on their skill and draw upon the knowledge gained from games that inspired this one in order to proceed. The boss fights in this game are definitely its high points.

Built upon a foundation of solid mechanics, fluid movement, and inspired environments, the gameplay is both challenging and fun. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take any narrative risks or improve upon the well-known formula so it fills the Metroidvania void for fans of the genre, but probably not anyone else.

Visuals:
The art style is certainly a highlight as I’ve yet to see this particular sect of animation featured in a video game. The backdrops and their features instantly reminded me of the early 90’s Nicktoons, especially Rugrats. Landscapes are unrealistic yet identifiable and the vivid colors compete for your attention.

… enough to put you in a trance …
With the game’s excellent environmental variety comes a wide gamut of themed areas. The lush jungles, fiery volcanoes, and icy peaks make you feel like you’re navigating beautifully hand drawn paintings. The characters themselves showcase significant detail, giving them an animated attractiveness and offering players some serious eye candy.

Audio:
The ridiculous setting and cartoonish feel of a game like this needs to be accompanied by an appropriate soundtrack that also doesn’t take itself too seriously. The upbeat melodies satisfy their surroundings and provide adequate tunes for the action.

Repeating the more difficult sections or boss battles multiple times to an annoying soundtrack would make things that much more frustrating but that is thankfully not the case. The music is enough to put you in a trance while navigating these areas and Ikki’s battle grunts are welcomed.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

… good gameplay, beautiful art, and a demanding challenge …
Conclusion:
Amidst an industry brimming with Triple-A shooters, massive RPGs, and ambitious open worlds, Hunter’s Legacy provides a solid release for an underserved genre. It doesn’t fall into the must-play category but it has obviously been crafted with a passionate focus upon the magic possessed by the genre’s classics.

It may seem odd to knock a game like this for a lack of narrative, but the genre’s best games in recent memory were able to tell heartwarming tales that reached players on another level. Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest did so without a lick dialogue and Insomniac’s Song of the Deep unfolded like a fairy tale. Both of those 2D Metroidvania games achieved new heights in storytelling against a backdrop of tight controls, beautiful visuals, and fulfilling gameplay. This puts Hunter’s Legacy in some tough company.

I recommend this game for players looking to scratch the Metroidvania itch but it comes with the caveat that it’s nothing special. Go in with the expectation of good gameplay, beautiful art, and a demanding challenge to come out properly satisfied with the experience.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Emrah Rakiposki

Emrah Rakiposki

– Food
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It has been my life’s work to properly order the list of this world’s greatest pleasures. There is no right answer.

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