Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade
The folks behind EverQuest look to make a big splash on Sony's small screen later this year!
Sony Online Entertainment, best known for its massively multiplayer online role-playing game, EverQuest, and its PlayStation 2 action/adventure offshoot, Champions of Norrath, is entering the portable game space with an original PSP game, Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade. SOE has big plans for this little game--and I mean little only in terms of the size of the screen, the game itself is huge. Nicholas Belliaeff, executive producer of Untold Legends at SOE, hinted that the game will be making its way to console (read PS2) in the near future.
Come the late March launch of PSP, Sony's new fantasy action/adventure game will be the only multiplayer RPG available. But even if it faced competition, this game would likely walk away with the prize. Of the 20 games shown around the CES show, Untold Legends was the most impressive, both visually and in terms of gameplay, despite the fact that there's still a lot of work left to be done on the game.
Developed in North America, this fantasy game will allow up to four players to cooperatively embark on quests to save the city of Aven from evil. Like SOE's massively-multiplayer online RPG game, EverQuest, Untold Legends offers customizable characters, including a druid, knight, berserker and alchemist, so that players can create their own hero and then head into battle with spells and weapons. The game allows you to choose from 15 different skills to power up as you play through the game.
The story begins with the player drinking in a bar, a hero who has rescued the city from evil and is enjoying the spoils of success. All of a sudden, strange things start to happen. Spiders begin crawling out of the sewers and creatures rise from the depths, wreaking havoc. People begin to disappear. It's up to you, as the hero, to discover what's going on and put an end to it.
"The Brotherhood of the Blade is an old group of guardians that aren't around any more and what they once guarded has now escaped," said Belliaeff. "As the story unfolds, it turns out that your home is much older than people had originally believed and Aven has been built on top of something."
The game is massive. There are 107 levels, 26 quests, an additional 20 side quests, and 70 monster types. There are three main bosses and several dozen sub-bosses to battle. To make things fresh each time you play, all of the dungeon levels are randomly generated, which means the experience, whether questing alone or with a party, will always be different. Since it's a portable experience, there are no save points. You simply stop playing the game at any time and your progress is saved.
"This game was made from the ground up for the PSP and we've been able to incorporate a lot of particle effects and weather effects into the varied environments, which include both day and night" said Belliaeff. "About 60% of the game will be indoor environments and 40% will be outdoor."
In addition to a wooded forest level and a lava level, an ice dragon boss level was on display, which included a huge dragon that snaked in and out of the snow. The dragon's attack included a frozen attack and a follow-up swallow, although you're spit back out and allowed to fight back.
One unique feature of the game, especially if questing alone, is the ability to create your own custom pet. Belliaeff showed off his own unique creature, named Gollum, who was large with long arms and jumped into battle to help him kill the game's many enemies.
In the tradition of Baldur's Gate and X-Men: Legends, Untold Legends was built for multiplayer action. Players can join an adventure at any time and all four members of a party can explore any portion of the large levels at any time. You can also build up your character in a single-player game and then bring him aboard for multiplayer action.
With gorgeous graphics, fluid animation and a truly epic story, this game stands out as one of the best of the best PSP launch titles. The arcade action, blended with the RPG elements, should make this a must-have for anyone who buys the PSP. SOE has a new Legend on its hands, that's quite a different experience than its EverQuest.