Over the past decade or so metal music has become more than what it used to be in the eighties. Long hair, skintight spandex, and other tropes associated with metal can be found, but are no longer in the mainstream. That being said, some of the more iconic pioneers of heavy metal are still alive and kicking, with Metallica on the brink of releasing a new album and Guns n Roses reuniting for a new tour, Iron Maiden have also weighed in, with a free-to-play RPG…
That claim however, is incredibly loose, as Iron Maiden themselves really didn’t have too much input in the game, sure, bassist Steve Harris did poke his finger in here and there, but it’s developers Roadhouse Interactive who took the horse’s fiery reigns bringing Iron Maiden’s classic mascot, Eddie, as well as the lore that the band have created through their vast catalogue, and have turned it into an RPG complete with music from the band, both familiar and unheard.
However, with my extensive time with the game, I honestly found it really difficult to get into, and it’s not that I’m not a fan of Iron Maiden either, Number of the Beast is arguably one of their best albums, and one that I’ve learned pretty much all of the bass lines of. It’s just, the game is about as interesting as Bruce Dickinson’s pilot license.
One thing I am unfamiliar with is the concept behind most of Iron Maiden’s albums. I understand that Eddie plays a huge part in Iron Maiden’s lore, but I never really followed along with the history. So when the game was first announced, I was keen to dive into the game and learn a little more about it all, plus there was word that some unreleased music would feature in the game. What’s not to love?
Well, for the most part, unless you’re happy to annoy practically everyone, everywhere, you’ll likely be playing the game at a low volume or muted. Sure, you can disconnect yourself from the outside world with headphones, but it’s not always practical. So right there, you miss out on one of the more crucial parts of the game.
What you’re left with is a fairly linear RPG which tries hard to squeeze into familiarity, yet becomes a little too repetitive and dreary fairly quickly.
In Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, you begin with Biker Eddie who’s somehow found himself lost in time with his soul stolen. Fortunately some sort of angelic being is on hand to help you overcome this rift in time, and help you get Eddie’s soul back, but you’ll have to battle trios of enemies in order to do so. In the beginning you only have Eddie to battle with, but as you progress you unlock more members to add to your squads, from demon dogs, to mask-wearing cult members, to sentient hourglasses, eventually however, you’ll unlock various different Eddies which can be found throughout Iron Maiden’s albums.
With your band of three, you’ll then complete various battles that are all pretty familiar, to follow a linear path that drags the story along with it. Sure, once you have more characters to choose from, you can go back and repeat battles to achieve a higher score, but ultimately you’ll be slogging through these battles to progress through the game. From what I played though, other than the ability to unlock another Eddie, I found no real enthusiasm to progress and ultimately became quite forgettable.
In terms of gameplay, the battle system is fairly familiar. Each character has its own basic attack and special attack, Eddie on the other hand has an even better special attack once he gets angry enough. Players unleash these attacks and are prompted to tap at the right time to ensure the attack is the most powerful it can be. Different moves require different tap sequences, and add some variation to the game. When facing enemies, each one has its own “type” allowing you to easily pick-off different enemies by choosing to attack the enemy with the corresponding weakness.
This familiarity does make for a fairly accessible game and allow players of all skill levels to dive into the game and instantly be able to progress. However, the game’s lacklustre approach to variety does disappoint somewhat.
The only other place that I feel the game excels is in the game’s design and art style. Roadhouse have definitely focused a lot on the various Iron Maiden artworks available through the band’s long-lived history and it shows. Along with the character design, the game’s environments look like they’ve been ripped right from the band’s merch and album covers, and it’s fantastic. A lot of attention to detail truly went into the art on this project.
Ultimately, Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast could have been a very enjoyable game, but instead it heavily adopts the free-to-play approach with various different ways for players to spend money to unlock things they didn’t know they wanted. That, and the game’s fairly linear approach to story telling does make for a fairly bland game, even with the Iron Maiden aesthetic and soundtrack.
With sound on, it makes the game somewhat tolerable, however playing at a lower volume, you’ll quickly wonder why you decided to spend fifteen minutes downloading the game.