Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Trials on Trial: Spartacus Legends

NOTE: Trials on Trial are not reviews but brief run downs of recently played demos.

By Jupiter’s cock they finally made a Spartacus game? Based on the hit TV show where by the third season every new episode came with a mandatory sex montage. Announced long before that though, it seems we might be getting the gladiator experience we’ve been waiting for all this time and now it’s here…

…for free to play?

A game that is free to play up until you hit the colossal pound shaped wall demanding your real world denari where you realise you have been fooled all this time into playing a longer than average trial. You take the role the head of the house of some guy where you train and fight with a gang of nobodies against the some bodies of the house of some other guy. The closest to bombastic personalities and scenery chewing galore of the TV show came when the titular Spartacus himself appears for a tutorial teaching me nut kicking is the way to go.

So like a demo, how far can I go as the penniless leader of men? I was first presented with a free-players choice between tanned guy A or slightly tanner guy B. It looks hot on that sand, so B should be used to it. After equipping him with the armour equivalent of a G-string I somehow button mashed my way into victory. Did I wield a sword and shield? A mighty trident or great spear? A long blade worthy of the Gods themselves? Nope, daggers. Every time daggers. Apparently reach has no purpose in a real fight. One by one the fellow houses fell at the might of my spam, yet all this time I thought for a game based on show known for violence and sex, Legends so far was light on punchy stabby lovey fun times. Granted I was hardly expecting a game about gladiators get hot and steamy but when it came to the gratuitous violence, the thumbs down moments were nowhere in sight.

In seems the only way to kill man in a fight to the death is to flex and show off to spectators. When I take a spear in the chest, as long as it’s wielder didn’t make a song and dance about it before hand, I should be able hold my. This is Spartacus dam it! Real man’s play! Eventually though my moment of bloody red glory came and in one swing of what the game told me was a old rusted dull blade (free to play so far after all), I sliced a strong man’s head right down the middle in two. Basic laws of science aside, I found myself more taken aback by the revelation that I had been fighting humanoid golems made of thick red clay this entire time.

Like the gladiatorial games of the Rome itself though, my victory was in name only. Tanner guy B was my only champion, the rest regulated to gamers with deep pockets. The moment I finally climbed the blood-stained ladder to the next tier, I found my once great slaying of clay men hacked up, dead in the sand. The only weapon worse than daggers were slightly bigger daggers. By the end of the trial run I came to the conclusion that when faced with defeat, if John Hanna were to suddenly appear and berate you with harsh worlds about godly phallus, I might of mourned his passing with a little levity intact. Alas tanner guy B did not become the legend I was promised, nor could I look back on his exploits with any shred of genuine glory. Granted I should have fought with more thought than that of a runaway train yet I still felt that the free silver I was receiving was pity charity next to the shining gold out of my free to play reach. I was taught a valuable lesson about the consolidation of wealth and power. That only the rich may survive in mighty Rome. Jupiter forbid I even attempt online play.

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