Hidden Dragon Legend for the Playstation 4 is a brand new hack and slash action platformer from Chinese developer Oasis games. Here are our thoughts.
Up until Hidden Dragon Legend, we mainly knew Oasis Games for their work on several Playstation VR titles. Between Ace Banana, Pixel Gear, Weeping Doll, Dying: Reborn and the upcoming Light Tracer – Oasis’ lineup for the VR headset has been both large and diverse, making them one of the more prolific developers/publishers for the system. None of the games currently released have become household names for the VR crowd though, and it’s not likely that Hidden Dragon Legend will do that for the action platforming genre.
The game takes place in ancient China, where you wake up in a puddle of blood and slowly uncover what happened as you fight your way through hordes of enemies. The game has light elements from the metroidvania and rpg genre in how you can develop your character and fighting style, but the focus always remains firmly on hack and slash gameplay – which is heavily sword-focused. These are also also the best portions of the game, as stringing hits and combos together is fun in the same way that games like Shank provide 2D fun – although Shank of course has a lot more guns thrown into the mix.
Hidden Dragon Legend isn’t a 2D game either, although it plays like one. It’s a 2.5D title which switches to 3D and/or isometric viewing angles for cinematic effects. This works quite well, although the story delivery leaves a little to be desired. Most of the story is told through text on load screens and voiceovers, and in this day and age we’ve come to expect more story development to happen in-game. What doesn’t help is that the voice work done for Hidden Dragon doesn’t live up to the quality standards that we’ve gotten used to either.
Besides regular combat, you’ll also face off against various bosses and there is a fair amount of acrobatics included as well. The level design never really lends itself to proper platforming sequences though, so most of the fun is had while engaging in combat. Combat is frequently supplemented with cutscenes that are well done and add to the atmosphere – in which the backdrops are especially worth mentioning.
With a few more weeks in development, Hidden Dragon Legend could have benefitted from several additional features. I would have enjoyed a nice (in-game) tutorial, for instance – since the controls feel like they’re up to the player to figure out now. The game could have also benefitted from more animation frames for the characters, and a better implementation of the aforementioned story delivery.
Perhaps we’ll still see this, since the game will stay in development for a PC release. Oasis has also released major updates to their VR games in the past, so why not? Until then, Hidden Dragon Legend is an average game, but one that hack and slash fans will appreciate on account of a lengthy and fairly diverse campaign.