A bloodthirsty gladiator enters the ring. With eyes narrowed in steely concentration, he eagerly awaits his chance to use his serpentine sword for the purpose for which it was created. Across from him stands a towering monument to death. The stone golem has no soul within him; no human emotions to hold him back from doing the one thing he knows how to do: kill. They slowly walk toward each other. The yells from the expectant crowd dull to a whisper as these two goliaths size each other up. It is only when the epic battle is under way that the secret shame of these supposed warriors is revealed: They are fighters in appearance only. They move with the clumsy grace of a dancing sloth, swing their weapons with the precision of a bag of hammers, and exhibit the tactical ability of a cuddly kitten. When the fight mercifully ends, no one feels like a winner.
6268779Crabs are jerks.None
Tournament of Legends has enough features to make it appear as if it were an in-depth fighting game. The 10 fighters are based on classic archetypes, such as a Gorgon-like monster and a Minotaur, and have a variety of abilities to appeal to a wide range of fighting preferences. After each fight in the single-player tournament, new weapons are unlocked, each with its own power, speed, and reach attributes. The fighters have four unique special attacks apiece, including buff spells, melee attacks, and long-range blasts. In addition to your standard assortment of horizontal and vertical swings that you can combine into combos, you can imbue your weapon with spells that either harm your opponent, empower you, or both. When you throw all of these different features into a 3D fighter that allows you to freely move around the arena, it seems as if you have a foundation for a solid fighting experience.
But unresponsive controls keep Tournament of Legends from reaching its promising potential. Every fighter is equipped with a weapon--whether it's a sword, axe, or some other implement of death--but a variety of issues mean there is little tactical difference between how they function during the course of a match. There is often a slight delay between when you push the button (or swing the controller, depending on your control setup) and when your onscreen avatar completes the action. This hiccup makes it difficult to string moves together, resulting in choppy confrontations in which the two fighters trade blows instead of smoothly stringing together long combos. Furthermore, because the camera is often situated at an awkward angle, it's tough to tell how far you are away from your opponent to line up a crushing blow. This unpredictability is compounded by questionable collision detection that frequently sees blades pass clean through body parts with no harm being doled out.
The finicky controls make up-close combat a chore, but movement is hindered as well. The fighters range from a lumbering robot to a lithe valkyrie, but even if you select one of the fastest warriors, you still won't be able to dance away from your opponent with poke-and-move tactics. The arenas are so confined that slow opponents can easily saddle up next to their quicker competitors and ensure the battle takes place face-to-face. And there is little tactical recourse because the defensive commands are just as unresponsive as the other actions. Blocking suffers from the same delay as attacking so consistently staving off strikes is troublesome, and the sidestep button often doesn't give you enough distance to avoid the incoming attack. Because all of your actions are so clumsily executed, battles feel clunky and slow. There is no pace to the proceedings, so things often boil down to spamming on buttons and hoping you fell your opponent before he gets the best of you.