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Despite some visual polish and flair, this upconverted classic fails to stand out in a crowded genre space
Within the realm of arcade-style shooting games for the Switch, standing out requires exceptional effort. Considering this game's origins as an upconverted 16-bit title, the endeavor is inherently risky. While certain classic titles maintain their allure, time often proves unkind to retro games competing on modern consoles.The Legend of Steel Empire, in my mind, gets pulled into this problem. Unfamiliar with the original title, my guess is that it was pretty attractive in its time. Short of scrapping pretty well everything and starting from scratch the core graphics wouldn’t have been able to evolve this much for a modern release. There’s a level of detail in pretty well everything that’s easy to appreciate when you pause things for a moment to take it all in, but that’s only part of the story.Gameplay, unfortunately, feels quite a bit more generic on the whole, even by retro standards. There’s an added element of challenge, for sure, with enemies coming from the left or moving there, and thankfully you’re able to easily shoot in reverse to deal with them. This does help play feel a little less ordinary, but I’ve also seen this style better implemented. There are 2 choices for the ship you’ll use, and they do differ a little bit, but for the most part you’re choosing between agility and added health, with overall play between the two options not feeling all that different in the end.In the end this feels like a release banking on people having nostalgia for the original, wanting to experience it again, rather than trying to win new fans. It does have a fair amount of visual polish, which is appreciated, but in terms of gameplay it just doesn’t inspire a great deal of enthusiasm against its substantial competition already in the space.
Justin Nation, Score: