Legions of Steel – PC Game Review
Legions of Steel PC Game Review. Publisher: Matrix Games Price $20.00
Passed Inspection: Atmospheric, Turn based so you don’t have to have the reflexes of a teenager in order to play it, great value for the price. “Undo” option helps with costly mistakes during play.
Failed Basic: Tutorials are too difficult, some typos in the game screen descriptions, save game function gets mixed up at times.
Based upon the miniatures game created by Clark Browning, Marco Pecota and Derrick Villeneuve, Legions of Steel is a compelling top down tactical combat game with nice, anime inspired cut scenes, nice atmospherics and a good back story. It is available on iTunes and Steam. I will review the Steam version.
Studio Nyx has taken the approach of adapting the miniatures game directly in to a tactical combat game which allows the player to feel like he or she is playing the miniatures game.
In the future, the human race is at war against an army of robots from space who want to conquer and rape our planet of its resources. Coming to our aid is the League of Aliens who have banded together to stop the marauding robots. Now, with power armor and heavy weapons, our combined forces must destroy the alien battle machines one robot at a time.
Legions of Steel is a blast to play. A good place to start is the “At the Edge of Darkness” campaign which is a fine tutorial to get the player’s feet wet. My only complaint is that the tutorials needed to have the instructions clarified a little bit as to what the ultimate objectives are in the scenarios. Additionally, some of the scenarios are a little brutal and I found myself having to play some of the tutorials four or five times before I could move on. In fact, one tutorial was so brutal that I couldn’t beat it and, because you have to play the tutorials in order, I couldn’t complete the training!
Each unit in Legions of Steel is one person in combat armor or one enemy robot. The player clicks on one of their soldiers and is then presented with various options. You can select the form of movement – stationary (a stance which allows the soldier to brace their weapon for more accurate firing), walking or running. You can select the type of attack – single shot, automatic fire, covering fire, advanced covering fire, suppression fire, etc. To move, select whether the soldier is walking or running and the computer shows you all of the legal moves. If you use all of your movement, though, you may not be able to defend yourself or attack an enemy so be very, very careful.
When the option to shoot at a robo nasty is available, select the person to do the shooting, if you want to use a special option, choose auto fire or covering fire or some other tactical option, and then click on the target. A window will open giving you the percentage to hit the target and then either fire the weapon or cancel out. The game also has an “Undo” option which helps when you make a really bad mistake during a move. It won’t bring your soldier back from the dead, but it has its uses.
Weapons include blasters, grenades and such – everything a space marine could hope for in order to kill bots!
In campaign mode, if the soldiers survive scenarios, they gain experience allowing them to hit more accurately or develop leadership ratings which can be used to gain better outcomes during the scenarios. You can even boost up their armor and weapons. The game feels so much like a role playing game with minis that the player gets drawn in to the action and actually cares when a soldier is blasted to bits by the evil robots.
The AI is very good. The bots are deadly but not invulnerable and they sometimes slip up and can fall victim to well planned ambushes and traps.
The solitaire campaigns are very immersive and challenging but the developers have thoughtfully provided for skirmish modes for fast action as well as multiplayer gaming over the internet or by “hot seating” the computer.
During normal play, the entire map is visible but the game offers an “Electronic Warfare” mode which simulates the fog-of-war of the combat environment. In that mode, the player sees only what each soldier will see and has to use radar to help navigate some of the battlefields.
The action is fast and the graphics never stuttered once on my machine. The recommended system requirements for the PC version are:
OS: Windows 7, 8
Processor: Core 2 Duo
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Intel HD 4000 / ATI Radeon HD 2600 / Nvidia GeForce 2xx or higher
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible
Aside for the sometimes maddeningly difficult tutorials, the only other problem I noted was that sometimes the auto game save function gets a little confused. For instance, after being humiliated by the bots and losing my entire team, I exited the game. When I restarted it and selected the saved game, it restarted with only the enemy robots walking around and savoring their victory instead of going back to the scenario start screen. I had to reset the scenario and then restart. This was somewhat strange and has happened more than once after I was defeated.
In addition, there are a few typos on the in game screens but they are not horribly distracting.
All in all, Legions of Steel is a damned fine science fiction tactical combat game and while I’ve never played the mini board game, the PC version reminded me of everything I love about the “Star Wars” Mini’s Game that Wizards of the Coast released many years back.
Now I have to go – there are bots about that need vaping!
Armchair General Rating: 90 %
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!
I agree, a 90pct rating seems right. I’ve played it about 10 hours and have had a blast. They need more campaigns (for single player) however I think versus human is the most thrilling part of this.
I am one of the original designers of the board game and I wanted to thank you for reviewing the video game. The iPad and PC version are faithful renditions of the board game, with some modifications to fit with the media.
Your critiques are spot on as even I failed a few of the tutorial missions. I have been a lot of things in my life but not a video game developer so there are many things I cannot comment on.
One particular weakness in the AI is that it does not understand the initiative system. It is hard wired to always go first which leaves it open to the “flip-flop” where you go second on one turn an then first on the next turn, effectively getting two turns of movement and fire in a row.
Regarding Star Wars miniatures, back when the license was held by West End Games, our company was approached to do a Star Wars miniatures game based on the Legions of Steel Mechanics. My partner put together a proposal and had some prototype miniatures sculpted. Then West End filed for bankruptcy and the whole license was terminated. Lucas Arts refused to deal with our small company regarding such a small thing as the miniature game, so the deal was dead. I suppose they decided to go with the WotC behemoth, which oddly enough had released Magic the Gathering the same year as Legions of Steel the board game, and beat us our of the Best Graphic Design for the Origins Awards.