My first real "wow" moment at the Games Convention in Leipzig came when a griffin threw a taxi at me. Mind you it could have been a roc – I'm not exactly up to date on my mythical birds, but whatever it was it was impressive. It was exactly the sort of epic moment you'd expect from a game called Legendary, and after playing through a good 15 minutes of the beginning of the PC version I can see why they decided to remove "The Box" from the title. The box is nice and all, but what comes out of it is much more impressive.The game starts out with the protagonist Charles Deckard at a museum, about to insert a mystical key into a mystical box...well, the magical box. The one you don't want to open? Yeah, he opens it, and in return it brands his hand with a mystic rune and unleashes doom upon the human race as we know it. It's a damn good thing that box came with that branding featuring, allowing the bearer to absorb mystical energy in order to heal himself, hurt mythical beasts, and solve puzzles, because otherwise we'd be completely screwed. Let's hear it for escape clauses! Anyway, as soon as you are branded the museum begins to shake and break, fires breaking out, the earth heaving, tossing passersby to their deaths, fire and brimstone, dogs and cats, living together, etc. Your character gains some basic knowledge about his powers as he escapes while everything goes to hell around him. It's a common FPS mechanic...essentially placing you in the middle of a disaster movie where you can't get hurt, but it's done really well. Things get even more exciting when you exit the museum, as we see some magnificent cinematics that effectively amount to the entirety of New York City doing the wave, streets, cars, people, and all as a wave of otherworldly energy floods the surroundings. Streets crack, people run screaming, and then the griffons show up and start tossing cars about. You navigate a maze of cars, new paths opening as the griffons toss vehicles about as if they were really big birds tossing about cars, until you get to a place where you are completely stuck. Then some seriously awesome shit goes down. Suddenly cars and wreckage get sucking into this swirling vortex, slowly coalescing into a massive giant built from spare parts, easily the size of the skyscraper he then walks through, opening up your new path. From there things move into more familiar puzzle-solving FPS ground, opening valves to put out fires as you make your way towards the subway system, hoping to find a way to escape the city. My last moments with the game were spent shooting at fire-spitting lava dogs in the ruined subway tunnels of New York. Th guy waiting in line for the game behind me had moved from intently staring to uncomfortably rubbing against me, so I fled. So the first 15 minutes of the game hooked me. I am dying to see what else happens over the course of the game now. Gameplay was fast and smooth, though I didn't get a chance to play enough to determine if I like the combat yet or not. So far it's just been standard pistol fare, so I've know idea what happens when the big guns come out. Still, I can assure you that Legendary did manage to live up to the name several times during my brief encounter. I'm looking forward to playing more when I am not surrounded by touchy Germans.
Apparently, Turning Point was made by a different dev team at Spark. I still can't believe I spent money on that shit, and continue to remain indignant. I hope this will be a much better outing and redeem Spark's name. It sounds promising, but so did Turning Point. That game too, started with a bang, where you're escaping a collapsing construction building 30 floors up and the city is bombed. But then the game bombed.
Please, Spark, I want to believe. But if you screw me two times in a row, we're done.