The bad way to make a Free-to-play game
Spartacus Legends is a free-of-charge brawler for Xbox Live Arcade. Set in Ancient Rome, you take the role of a Gladiator, working your way through the arenas, battling against various types of deadly warriors. After a short tutorial on combat, with you playing as the powerful Spartacus himself, your taken control of a new recruit. You'll begin by entering small areas, fighting against not so challenging foes. As you win fights, you'll earn experience and level up. Gold coins are also obtained in the process, allowing you to purchase gear and weaponry. Changing the gladiator's appearance to your taste can be addictive. There's a nice selection of armour and weapons to kit out your warrior, but if your not willing to spend real cash, it can take some time to earn the more expensive items.
Like most FTP games, you are constantly reminded that real cash is on offer. For example. You may find yourself entering a match that requires a certain weapon. If you don't have it, you are given the option to buy coins with real cash. Constantly bumping into these menus is tedious. To get far without emptying your pocket, you will be forced in replaying the same arena's to build up your
in-game currency. All the arena's are divided into districts and when you complete a battle, you are punished with a two minute waiting time before you can revisit the same match. However, you can jump into an online match whenever you wish. This seems like a more satisfying choice. I found myself re-entering online matches, which also adds to your current level. It's where I found the game most enjoyable, and it's a great way to show off your kitted out Spartans and level.
The fighting itself is rather shallow . Watching your gladiator pull of gruesome finishers can be enjoyable to watch, but performing the same moves over and over feels like a chore. You have your basic attack, a block and dodge ability, along with a slower but more powerful attack. You will occasionally need to combined attacks to change your opponents pattern. However, most of the time, all it takes is a basic attack and dodge. Watching the same moves does become tiresome, however, playing as other Spartans provide new moves. Despite this, they all have the same effect, just with a different animation.
On to the visuals, and they are dated. This is one of the worst looking XBLA titles I've seen in a long time. It's expected with most F2P games, but some more work could have been done to the environments. They look very murky, with low bland textures. The animations are not that impressive either, which seems like something from the previous console generation.
It's understandable how Spartacus Legends lacks polish and replay value. Most free games result in the same way. Still, free games are always worth trying, and Spartacus Legends is the same. You may even enjoy this free experience, but just don't expect it lasting long.