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Hunter's Legacy

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Lienzo
Release Date: July 19, 2016

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


PC Review - 'Hunter's Legacy'

by Brian Dumlao on Sept. 9, 2016 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Hunter's Legacy is a 2D single-player platform action game inspired by classics that we grew up playing and it's designed to challenge gamers of any kind.

There are certain expectations once a game is given the Metroidvania designation. Paramount among them is the heavy use of exploration with a good pacing of new powers that enable you to open up new avenues in previously traversed areas. Combat should be decent, and puzzles should be very solvable without too much thought. Boss fights tend to be exciting affairs, and while story isn't always the strongest, there tends to be some effort in making one care about why you're going through all this trouble. Hunter's Legacy makes an attempt to fulfill all of those expectations, and it does just enough to be serviceable.

You play Ikki, a famed huntress in the land of Iripur. That land has been at peace for a long time until an artifact known as the Fang of Alliance was stolen by a powerful being known as Morodir. Without the artifact, Iripur was plagued by monsters. As the bravest of all of the hunters, Ikki takes it upon herself to chase down Morodir and retrieve the Fang to restore peace.

For a game that tries to sound grand with its use of unusual names for characters and places, it does nothing with that beyond the introductory cinematic. The lore is hardly touched upon by the villagers you encounter, so you're not aware of how dire the situation has become after the Fang was stolen. Speaking of which, you're never clued in about the artifact's powers or why it's important. You're simply adventuring for the sake of adventuring, and while the title doesn't necessarily need a grand narrative to explain why you're risking your life, a bit of backstory or flavor wouldn't hurt.

As alluded to earlier, Hunter's Legacy adopts a Metroidvania blueprint when it comes to gameplay. Combat is basic enough, with a sword you can slash in any direction and a bow that can be powered up to take out enemies from a distance or weaken shields. Your move list may begin with a simple jump, but it doesn't take long before you acquire an air dash, a leaf parachute, and a ground slam, along with general health and attack upgrades. Levels connect to one another via portals, so they're more broken up instead of being a single connected piece, but there are enough blockades per stage that you're often encouraged to return to thoroughly explore everything.

While the gameplay can be considered pretty standard, there are a few things that make a good impression on the player. For example, boss fights are pretty fun, and the enemies are varied enough that each environment feels distinct instead of being re-skins of other levels. What's more impressive are some of the environmental puzzles. One may have you trying to aim bubbles so you can use them to cross large chasms or reach higher ground. Another has you trying to use environmental bombs to open up passageways, while a different puzzle has you trying to regulate temperatures to access more switches and weaken foes. You encounter these kinds of things often enough that it makes each environment a joy to traverse.

On the surface, Hunter's Legacy is a decent attempt at a good side-scrolling adventure game, but there are a few things that stand in the way. The first is the combat system, which doesn't feel as refined as expected. This partially has to do with the bow, which is pretty easy to use but has a poorly thought-out aiming system. Your aiming trail is white, and while that's fine for darkly colored backgrounds, most of the levels have brightly colored backdrops. Since the aiming trail doesn't change colors, it makes the bow tougher to use since you have to squint to see the trail or just fire blindly.

Another element that is detrimental to the combat has to do with enemy reactions. Enemies indicate when they've been hit, but unlike other games of this ilk where they'll get knocked back or freeze after every blow, the foes here seem unfazed by your attacks as they run at you. This making things unfair since your attacks can produce a pause that's long enough for them to get in a cheap hit. Finally, your roll move is pretty useless since you'll still get hit while performing it. A defensive maneuver shouldn't leave you in a vulnerable state.

Another area where the game falters is in the exploration. As mentioned earlier, the areas have plenty of roadblocks that require you to return once you gain new abilities, and while those gates seem abundant in just about every level, it does encourage you to return often to see what you're missing. Unfortunately, lots of those blocked passages simply lead to more coins. That might seem fine, but the amounts won are so small that it feels like quite a grind before you can finally get something of significance. When you look at it that way, the exploration aspect doesn't feel fully fleshed out.

Then there's the camera. The game features no manual camera controls, which is generally not a big deal, but Hunter's Legacy often pans the camera in such a way that it sometimes hides what you're trying to target. One puzzle in particular has the camera shift once you take control of a cannon, so you can't see where you're aiming anymore; it's perplexing since you can see your target when you relinquish control. Things like this occur enough that you'll fight the game as often as you fight the enemies. Luckily, this never happens on a boss fight, but it can be an annoyance during normal exploration.

In still pictures, the game looks rather nice. The colors are reminiscent of Adventure Time, and while the art style for the backgrounds and characters doesn't completely follow suit, it looks like it could've been pulled from an animated series. In motion, however, you'll find this to be a much stiffer affair since some animations are completely missing. Others lack good transitions, which cheapens the overall look. It's a shame since most of the stuff you see is animated well enough.

As far as sound goes, it's pretty middle of the road. The music is standard adventure fare, so it isn't memorable enough to make you want to get the soundtrack, but it works well enough during gameplay. Sound effects are good, but voices are completely absent. There are the grunts as Ikki attacks with her sword, but they're so indistinct that you'd be forgiven for thinking that she was a he.

In the end, Hunter's Legacy could use some improvements. Combat could certainly be tightened up, and the rewards for exploration could've been much more enticing. It also could've done better in the presentation department, since it doesn't stand out in this area, either. The title has the basics down well enough that it can remain enjoyable, and those who aren't too picky can have a good time with this, especially when you take into account the relatively low price of $6.99 on Steam.

Score: 6.0/10

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