Game Review

Tournament of Legends Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Decent, but not quite legendary

We've seen quite a resurgence within the fighting game genre over the past few years, in terms of both 2D and 3D varieties. While flashy over-the-top special moves and an almost limitless arsenal of moves have become the staple of these titles, we are beginning to see a bit more innovation within the games, especially those released for the Wii console with its unique motion control scheme. High Voltage Software has now tossed its hat into the ring of fighting games with the release of its mythology-themed Tournament of Legends, and while the game does feature some interesting and unique elements it ultimately feels like a game we've all played before.

Namco's Soulcalibur immediately springs to mind when you first sit down with Legends, as the overall look and feel of the two are quite similar. You've got a roster of eight rather bizarre characters to choose from (two more can be unlocked), each with their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. You can choose to take on the game's Story Mode where you'll gradually progress through the various fighters, gaining an insight into their unique story lines as you go along. Of course, if you'd like to choose which characters you'll square off against, or feel like going a few rounds with a human opponent, you can always tackle Versus mode. While not quite as entertaining as the Story Mode, it's still fun to be able to customize the options and go one-on-one with another player.

The combat takes place on a 3D plane, although there's not nearly as much freedom to duck and dodge attacks as you'd like in a game of this nature. Combat is weapons-based for the most part, although you do have certain magical attacks and Enchantments at your disposal once your Energy and Enchantment gauges fill up by pummeling your opponent. Executing attacks can be pulled off using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk's motion controls or you can connect a Classic Controller for a more traditional experience. Both work equally well, so it becomes more a matter of personal taste than anything.

While you won't find the mammoth arsenal of moves normally associated with this genre, you can string together small numbers of combos with the limited slashing moves at your disposal. You can mix and match the regular and strong attacks to catch your opponent off guard if you're timing is right. The game also offers up longer-ranged magical attacks that are unique to each fighter, and these can be very useful for those times when you're unable to get in close to your opponent. There are even items called Enchantments that can be switched in and out in between battles that offer your character different types of magical powers that can be used both offensively and restoratively, depending on the need at hand. You'll even be able to unlock new types of weapons and Enchantments by defeating fighters in the game's Story Mode, all of which will come in quite handy during the more difficult battles you'll face later on in the game.

As mentioned above, there are also a number of unique twists in the game that prove to be a mixed bag when it comes to what they bring to the table. Each area that you fight in has a giant monster hidden somewhere in it that will eventually come into play. It's generally an attack of some sort that will require you to duplicate the control movements displayed on the screen just before your character is pummeled. As long as you duplicate the move, you won't be injured, but fail to comply and you'll likely lose a good portion of your health bar. Likewise, not finishing off an opponent within the allotted time limit will take you to a mini-game of sorts that presents you a variety of controller moves to duplicate in order to gain health before you're taken back into the fight. While these diversions are interesting enough, they tend to break off the natural flow of the battle and feel more bothersome than enjoyable.

The developers have done a very impressive job of giving the motion controls a smooth and responsive feel, but you can't help but think that including these motion controls ended up limiting the variety of attacks a bit too much in the end. Even with the inclusion of the magical spells and Enchantments, the game's combat still feels a bit lacking. The ability to customize the button assignments is a nice touch and the basic gameplay stylings do lend themselves to making the game better-suited for players who aren't quite as seasoned in the fighting game genre, but diehard genre fans expecting the depth of a Tekken or Virtua Fighter might find this title a bit too much towards the shallow end of the pool.

There's plenty of flashy visuals to be found, something High Voltage Software tend to push with their various projects. It's certainly not on par with some of the higher-end 3D fighting titles we've seen this generation, but still impressive enough to carry the game's unique mythological theme throughout the Story Mode. The Matrix-style special attacks with the camera panning around are a nice piece of eye candy, but the highlight of the game would have to be some of the special attacks that, at times, span the entire screen in their execution. It's these moments that you finally see some of the "wow" factor of the game and appreciate what the developers were trying to accomplish.

As epic as some of the soundtrack is, it tends to get pushed too far into the background of the audio mix. The female voice announcer does a nice job of calling the fights, but she sounds like she belongs more on a TV game show than in a video game. The actual thundering sound effects also tend to greatly outperform the game's musical score, although you'll appreciate them far more if you're playing through a decent surround sound system. Toss in some very humorous voiced dialog from the characters and you have a fairly well-rounded audio package that goes quite well with the overblown theme the game offers.


Tournament of Legends does indeed present an interesting spin on the typical 3D fighting game, but you can't help but feel that the game is constantly trying to do too many things at once. The motion controls offer a nice change of pace from the standard one-on-one fighting game experience, but with that also comes a reduced level of depth in the controls that will likely rub seasoned fight fans the wrong way. Tournament of Legends features a lot of unique charm with its over-the-top settings and quirky roster of fighters, but when it's all said and done, the game still ends up feeling like little more than just another average 3D fighting game with a few original gameplay twists tossed in for good measure.

From the web

Game Trailer

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Sega releases the latest trailer for Tournament of Legends; a beat 'em up game developed by High Voltage Software for the Nintendo Wii

User Comments (42)



TheBaconator said:

I fail to see why people get all excited for High Voltage software games. They always turn out mediocre.



Oregano said:

Nice! Thanks for the review Corbinator!

Still got this ordered because I want to try it out! Eurogamer said the graphics were bad so it's very interesting that you thought they were good.



Corbs said:

What you get out of this game depends heavily on what your expectations are going into it. If you're expecting a high-end 3D fighting game, you might be disappointed. But if you can enjoy this oddball game for what it is, you might actually get your money's worth out of it. It's really a toss-up.



Sephariel said:

ehh... they shouldnt chang the theme to fantasy. I really liked it when it was announced as Gladiator fights.



Oregano said:

Well I'll be getting it for £17(or around that) and I'm just expecting a time waster.

How well do the specials work, are they spammable or well balanced?



Shiryu said:

I still bought it.It's a painfull reminder that I really wish Namco would give us a Soul Calibur...



Corbs said:

The Special Moves were a bit too easy to pull off, but they were certainly fun to watch happen.



TheBaconator said:

I just noticed the game is $30 so it may be worth it. Hows the multiplayer in it? I've been looking for a good multiplayer game that is cheap.



ejamer said:

Agree that I don't understand the hype about HVS. They always make neat games, but those games always have notable issues too... so it ends up being kind of a wash. That said, their games are usually worth trying even if you don't love the end result.

(I do appreciate how they try to push the technical side on Wii more than most other small 3rd party studios.)



Corbs said:

Depends. Some special moves require more of your energy bar, but they do greater damage. And my favorite character was Volcanus. He's a robot with his scientist rolling around in a wheelchair around the arena controlling him. It's hilarious.

It might also be worth noting that I almost gave this a 7 due to the lower price. This is still a decent fighting game for those that can take it for what it is.



Oregano said:

Yeah, I've seen the scientist going crazy.

@ejamer: Some people overhype The Conduit and it ended up an okay game but not great. I don't think ToL was that hyped after changing from Gladiator AD which is why it went budget priced(I think).



motang said:

Wow, War of Gods...errr...I mean Tournament of Legends comes out in 3 days! Oh too bad it got a fair score. Going to wait on this one as I really want to get Sin & Punishment 2.

@Corbie Very good point. I don't want a high end 3D fighting game, as I really don't like too many 3D fighting games other than Soul Calibur series and Virtua Fighter series.



Rerun said:

I'm disappointed with High Voltage Software. I think they need to realize that gameplay matters more than graphics. I'm seriously impressed with their technical ability in maxing out the graphic capability of the Wii but if it isn't fun to play, I don't care how gorgeous the game looks. They should get someone on their team who focuses on gameplay. So much promise that constantly fails to deliver. SIGH



BulbasaurusRex said:

Being similar to Soul Caliber is a good thing. It sounds good, and I don't care that much for really deep fighting systems anyway, but the amount of characters and other content doesn't warrent even a budget price purchase, in my opinion. I'll give it a rental eventually.



CoffeeWithGames said:

I really feel bad for HVS on this game. I think the reason for the change was they couldn't get a publisher to publish Gladiator A.D. the way it was originally being made.

Sega probably said, they would publish it if changes were made, and this is the game Wii owners are given.

I was interested in Gladiator A.D., but not this for now.



Ravage said:

I was also kind of interested in Gladiator A.D. I was keeping an eye on it to see what they were going to do with is, but either way, this seems to have exceeded my expectations since I heard of the change. I don`t really like many fighting games though, so a pass for me.



GmRmXx said:

oh well. I won't be picking it up, but I remain optimistic. HVS seems to be trying really hard. The gaming business as I see it is very trial and error. For example: The Conduit was only so-so, but they are trying to fix its flaws and make a better sequel. The more experience they get, the better.




@GmRmXx I completely agree with you. I think that are trying so hard to really make a triple A title but they just have alot to learn, they learn from their mistakes and have alot of determination. One day their going to make it happen.



Corbs said:

I just wish they'd release Animales de la Muerte. Come on publishers, pick it up!



Tails said:

I told corbie it would be something not special. Well i actually said i was a HVS hater. Ever since i bought that Conduit game. I'll never buy another HVS game.



Sabrewing said:

And as opposed to the Soul series, when I first saw footage of this, I was reminded of a bizarre mashup -- Takara's series Battle Arena Toshinden (mostly for the cartoonish graphics style) meets Midway's War Gods (for the mythically inspired, LIMITED character roster).



Arcanum said:

@ Tails the conduit did give HVS a bad reputation. but i am very excited about the sequel. the thing about the conduit was that they had to work really hard to get the controls right and the perfect graphix engine so it would all work great. but they didnt really concintrate on the game itself. now that they got it all right and know how to work FPS games on the wii, the conuit 2 is gonna rule. all that u felt was missing will be there and more. WAY more. CONDUIT 2 FTW!!!!!! cant wait!!



FonistofCruxis said:

This got higher than I expected, I was expecting a 4 or 5. I'm surprised that you thought the cast was good. From the trailers it didn't look like much thought had gone into the characters.
I also wish they'd release animales de la muerte.



Oregano said:

@Corbie: I don't know what happened with that game, apparently it was supposed to be at E3 this year but one of the Wiis bricked it so they had to use the Animales de la Muerte for TCon 2 or ToL.



moosa said:

HVS never had a good reputation in the first place. If you look at their past portfolio of games, you'll see that they've done almost nothing but low budget licensed games before The Conduit. The Conduit was just their way of finally trying to break out of that and get themselves on the map as a more legitimate developer. They played the opportunist, given the nature of current Wii software offerings, and took advantage of gamer's extremely gullible nature to create an enormous hype machine. They definitely got themselves noticed, and probably made quite a bit of money on it, but the reason people were disappointed was because they had their expectations set so high. Truth be told, The Conduit never looked very impressive. But it didn't turn out bad, just not particularly good.



TheBaconator said:

I'm pretty sure Goldeneye 007 killed most of Conduit 2's hype and sales. Even if it does turn out good, everyone looking for an FPS will go to Goldeneye first.



Nintendoftw said:

I knew that when they took the blood and gore out and made it look like a kiddy game that it would be horrible...



BulbasaurusRex said:

@31 Actually, Conduit 2 is a must-get for me, whereas Goldeneye is only a maybe.

I actually prefer the change in style of this game. Gladiator A.D. was so bloody and barbaric that I wasn't going to go near it. This game is a rental and would've been worth $30 to me if it had some more content.



theHighlander said:

Goold old High Voltage Shovelware is at it again..............
In there 17 years they have had a few good games though. Heres hoping Conduit 2 works out good.



Vinsanity said:

I'm glad they switched the theme to fantasy and legends from the boring old "grounded in reality" gladiator stuff, but the game was never destined to be good. HVS has no fighting game experience, and that's what you need for a fighting game - and yes, there's no way to say that without sounding like a douche.

But fighting games require a really, really tight animation pipeline - you need to animate hundreds of moves, and more importantly, tons and tons of transitional animations and stuff like "hit stuns". You can't just decide, "Hey guys! Lets make a fighting game this year" and have it turn out well. And to put it on a system with a limiting motion controller? Bold move, but dumb. Really dumb.

They were smart to try and pattern after something less traditional, like Bushido Blade, but dumb to flip-flop back to some traditional one-on-one genre staples. They would've done better if they decided on a Power Stone/Bushido Blade style game 100%, instead of this Castlevania: Judgement kinda thing.

However, HVS, Conduit was good fun. Very old school corridor shooter - very much in the same vein as Perfect Dark and Goldeneye. There are way too many haters for that thing, but who cares because they're probably mainstream CoD-fanboys anyway, and those guys are morons:) Good luck with Conduit 2 and Grinder, guys. But yea, Tournament of Legends never looked like something worth getting excited about. I'm shocked that SEGA picked it up for release at all to tell you the truth.

I'll still give it a rent though. I totally dig that art; very Soul Calibur-meets-Gauntlet Legends:D



Vinsanity said:

@Nintendoftw. Yes, because we all know that what makes good fighting games is blood and gore. That's why Street Fighter IV has none of it and sucks right? Oh, and it also uses color and style instead of greys and browns that all good, "realistic" games have, right? That's TWO strikes against that steaming pile, Street Fighter. That game is totally for "teh kiddiez".

thank you for not directly insulting people -- TBD

@moosa: Actually, I bet they didn't make crud on the Conduit. If you look at some of the licenses they've worked with in the past, like Dora the Explorer and Ben 10, those games CLEANED UP at retail. A ton of Ben 10 games have sold over a million units. Certain licenses, especially those targeted at kids (with less discerning tastes as gamers - remember some of the crud we all played when we were little), are practically money-printing machines. If anything, all these original IPs they're working with are the risky ones, even though they might help establish them as a "gamer's developer" someday.



WhiteTrashGuy said:

Everyone needs to calm down a bit. This is a budget title, and as such looks and sounds pretty damn awesome to me. HVS wanted to do a fun pick-up-&-play fighting game that played to the Wii's control options. SEGA wanted something quick and cheap. Awesome. I will spend $20 and pick this up. HVS real titles are CONDUIT 2 and THE GRINDER which both look amazing.



Imerion said:

I wasn't sure what to think about this for a long time. I would rather have seen the Gladiator A.D. game they showed at last years E3 but this does look quite nice. I did actually order it, not thinking I would get a new Soul Calibur but instead seeing it as a fun game to play with friends where the cheesy characters and dialogue might actually make it all more fun. As long as there is a working core mechanic that is decently fun to play, I doubt I'll be dissapointed, and according to this review that seems to be the case.



darklinkinfinite said:

I'm not fighting game afficionado so I personally don't care if its not on the cutting edge with massive move lists, rosters, and frame-reliant gameplay. I'm happy just beating the crud out of other fighters so this sounds like a game I'd enjoy. Unfortunately, I'm broke and still have some other Wii games I'd like to pick up, Sin & Punishment 2 being at the top of the list and I've been waiting for Secret Files: Tunguska for years, so unless I get a job tomorrow, I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to pick this up.

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