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Legion Arena

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: BlackBean / Strategy First
Developer: Slitherine

About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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'Legion Arena' - Screens

by Judy on Feb. 1, 2005 @ 4:24 a.m. PST

"Legion Arena" is a role playing strategy game created on a massive scale, providing gamers with more than just the pure taste of battle. Set during the period of the Roman Republic, players take command of a band of simple peasant warriors and train them into a formidable fighting force. With each victorious battle, gamers can reap the rewards of fame, money and experience along with the opportunity to 'level up' their units. Troops will learn hundreds of new talents through their field experience, and will progressively upgrade their skills with each new combat they face. Gamers can play as the Roman Empire and Celtic Clans through over a hundred scenarios and must use calculated strategies in an attempt to crush their Roman enemies on the front line-Fighting for the pride and glory of the battlefield!

Setting

Legion Arena is set at the time of the Roman Republic. At this time, Rome were the fearsome Celtic tribes that would periodically raid from Gaul down into the heartland of Italy. Initially the player will only be able to play as Rome, but army packs will be released allowing other sides to be played. The first planned army pack is the Celtic tribes.

Gameplay

There are two main parts to Legion Arena, training your army & fighting battles. As the general in charge you choose which troops to recruit & how to equip them. You decide which skills they learn as they gain experience. When it is time for battle you choose which scenarios to challenge, how to deploy your troops and which orders to issue. Once the battle starts you can control your troops in real time by issuing new orders.

The Look

Legion Arena will be fully 3D, with polygonal units and terrain. The focus will be on making realistic looking battlefields with thousands of men moving around. Using our bespoke 3D engine we can easily handle multiple levels of detail which will allow fast machines to make the game look amazing & slower machines to play with reduced visuals.

After initial release we plan to add in a 2D system that will allow older machines to play, but at this stage the focus is on getting the 3D engine completed.

Generals & Orders

Although Legion Arena's battles are fought in real time we did not want them to turn into a click fest like some other RTS games. For this reason we've implemented a comprehensive order time system. Each general will have a number of order points based on their command ability. These order points are used to issue commands to troops during battle. It is easier to control a regiment of trained Legionaries than a mob of peasants, so it uses less order points to order a Legionary unit change formation or set their target than it does for peasants. The general issues so it is essential to keep him alive, as without him you can no longer issue orders. It may still be possible for the battle to be won, but it will certainly make things a lot harder!

As the general gains experience the player must decide whether to specialise their general in command and control or in combat and each area has its own advantages. After all, what use is the best command and control general in the world if he drops dead the second he enters combat!

Objectives

Every scenario has an objective and though many of these may be "Defeat the Enemy", there will be numerous other options. E.g. scenarios can be designed where the only objective is to survive for a period of time, or you may have to ensure less than 100 casualties are received in the process of winning. Other objectives include killing a specific number of enemy, ensuring specific squads survive on your side or die on the enemy side and more. As the player progresses these objectives will get harder to complete and may require the player to play through multiple times to find a winning strategy and to share ideas with other players through the forum. Some scenarios will be easier or harder depending on which types of troops you have recruited. If you've gone for an entirely mounted army, the battles in forests are going to be extremely difficult, and armies without heavy infantry might find it hard if the enemy has lots of solid infantry.

Every scenario is allocated to a group and before the player can progress to the next group they must win every scenario in the current group. This will then unlock the next group. Players may return to easier scenarios if they wish to train up their troops some more, but as their men get more experienced there is less value to be had from the easier scenarios as the men gain less experience from fighting opponents who are inferior to them.

Customisation

Players will be able to choose the colours & shield designs of their squads. This is not done on an army basis, but on a squad by squad basis. E.g. You could have a Legion with red shields as well as a Legion with blue shields in the same army. This allows the casual players to have fun, but also allows the hard-core historians to set up armies exactly as they would have been historically with the correct uniforms.

Players can also modify the textures using templates we will provide to completely change the look of their units any way they can imagine & draw.

Scenario Design

Players can use the maps we have provided to design their own scenario for other players to challenge. Scenarios are designed with the designing players army acting as the opposing force, and any customisation they have made will appear in those armies.

Initially player designed scenarios will not be included in the ranked battles, but players will be able to vote for which scenario they want to move up from the design area to the full ranked battle area.

How to Get Connected

To play Legion Arena the player must download a free client. This will allow them to log into the Arena server and register their account. The player will then be able to play Legion Arena for free for a limited time. Once the free trial period has expired players may choose to sign up and continue their conquest, or just retire their army.

To play Legion Arena you do not need a fast connection, but you must be connected to the Arena server. The server records the results of every battle, how much experience was gained, how many kills inflicted, who won and numerous other stats & also check that no cheating was going on. These results are stored on the server and used to rank the players army against other players.

This title will be released in the UK release in October 2004 and carries a suggested retail price of £19.99/$19.99 US.

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