Review: Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace (PS4)

Review: Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace
Format: PSN (4.18 GB)
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Oasis Games Limited
Developer: MegaFunGames
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), £13.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 16
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace is a game that looks good on paper – and possibly even in screenshots – but it ultimately fails to deliver due to a lack of polish and a feeling of progression.

Comparisons to Strider are warranted, and upon first booting it up, I felt like I was going to be treated to a martial arts version of that more sci-fi action platformer. It wasn’t an unfair expectation, as the main character, Lu, has a conventional fighting style of Square mixed with Triangle buttons presses: respectively light and hard slashes.

For a few minutes during the tutorial, I felt as if I was going to enjoy plowing through countless enemies with my bright flashy blade… that it until I just didn’t.

After completing the tutorial, I was immediately thrust into the game proper where Lu escapes from prison and immediately… you know what, I’m not really sure what Lu is supposed to do. The acting and cinematics are so PlayStation 1 that I could barely discern what was happening and I was itching to just get back into the action.

The game isn’t without merits though, and fighting countless enemies is fun. You are even afforded an upgrading system, where collecting essence from dead enemies grants you upgraded attacks that help you take on more refurbished bad guys.

And boy, are these villains sponges. I am accustomed to bosses absorbing attacks and seeming almost invincible. But when the peons just keep getting up after I’m sure I sliced them into pieces, my desire to ditch Lu for Bayonetta became pretty strong.

One redeeming element to the enemy issue is that you can “farm” levels you’ve completed in order to gain more experience and ease the pain of completing more challenging levels, but the repetitive fighting makes that a chore in itself.

Visuals:
From afar, Lu’s world looks semi-decent. The problem is that the bold developers chose to use those same elements to tell a story with in-game cinematics. Not only are the graphics murky and glitchy in these sequences, but the animations themselves look pretty archaic, with Lu turning in place without any real body motions and harsh camera movements reminding my of my first time using a 3D program in high school.

Audio:
If only the graphics I mentioned above were accompanied by incredible voice-overs, then I would allude to Metal Gear Solid on PlayStation 1 and use it as an example of how great voice work can transcend crappy graphics.

Unfortunately this comparison is not true here either. Lu sounds like someone that, despite his martial arts expertise, I’d stay away from in a bar, and much of the supporting cast falls into the same category.

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

Conclusion:
The problem with Hidden Dragon Legend is that the price/quality ratio is skewed and for what you are getting. Lowered expectations make this an “okay” game. Anyone with expectations higher than that should steer clear.

Score:
5.0

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

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