Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is an action RPG with a tribal Africa inspired world that certainly piqued my interest when I first heard of it. It's not a setting we see explored often, nor are we often exposed to cultural beliefs and mythologies rooted in African countries. So far, I have seen little of that; however, there I still a good chunk of the game to go. This is one of Aurion's smallest problems, as there are plenty of technical and other inconsistent issues as well.
So far I have only been able to get about four hours into the game since we received the code for the review. It has been four hours filled with many frustrations. A bug that didn't allow my character to move occurred about one and a half hours in, so I had to start all over and rush to that point. On top of that, the game crashes roughly once an hour. However, none of those have been too bad since Aurion has an autosave feature that saves often.
Those issues are just the core of the many issues Aurion has under the hood. In terms of technical design, the game is old. Everything is sectioned off behind a loading screen that takes some time to get through. Aurion does not feature the seamless in and out of combat of something like Dust: An Elysian Tail. Instead, each enemy you run into is an encounter that triggers a loading screen in a level with enemies to fight. This certainly adds a lot of frustration and consumes a lot of time, as there is a decent amount of sitting around waiting to get back to the action.
Aside from the technical issues, Aurion has some problems with inconsistency as well. The most obvious one comes in the artwork. Some of it looks really good, with interesting backdrops and cool detail work. However, this is all mixed in with some jarring pixel artwork that has been stretched out. On top of that, there are some spots that seem to feature a few different art styles at once, which makes them stand out for the wrong reasons.
Helping dull that some is the music. Aurion features some great atmospheric music to help sell the African theme. I have not been everywhere in the game yet of course, but I've enjoyed almost each area's unique theme. This is only detracted from a bit with the rather generic combat music and "tense" moment music, which is similar to most games out there and does not take advantage of the African theme whatsoever.
The combat is where Aurion starts to shine. Early on, there isn't much to it, and it's difficult to get a handle on due to the odd animations and knowing when you can and can't hit someone. The combat is fairly standard hack-and-slash action RPG gameplay that most should be readily familiar with.
Aurion tries to take that up another level with some extreme combos, flashy moves, and what appears to be a wide variety of combat choices. I haven't played enough to unlock everything, but there appears to be many "Aurions" to unlock. An Aurion is like a sort of stance or move set that you can switch between in combat. Using one will give you one set of abilities, and usually something like increased damage with the trade-off being taking more damage yourself, which vary quite a bit.
It is sort of reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z to be honest. You have the ability to charge people and break their guard, then launch them into the air and keep the combo going as lightning starts to crackle around them. It's unclear why the lighting appears, but it seems so slow enemies falls so you can keep combos going in the air. Meanwhile you are using abilities to charge up a bar for your super ability in that Aurion, which you then unleash in a Kamehameha-like fashion. Getting to that point has made the combat pretty fun, and I do hope it opens up quite a bit more as I progress through the game.
The gameplay can be a bit strategic as well, since there are elemental abilities you have to keep in mind. I imagine at some point there may be the need to keep some sort of gear resistant to fire or something else, depending on a boss you may fight so you can live through it. Knowing which Aurion to use, as each seems to have some sort of element behind it, will become part of the gameplay.
The final thing to briefly touch on is the story. So far, there's not a lot to it. You play as a king, Enzo, who has his tribe taken over by his new wife's brother. You and your wife, Erine, escape to another part of the world to start your quest to get back to your homeland and take your place again as king. That's the basic premise, and the small moments you have here and there with short stories are nothing too spectacular either.
The most frustrating part is the poor translation to English and the plentiful typos throughout the dialogue. The email we received with the code for review said the final stages of proofreading are currently happening. That is good; however, I am sort of doubtful that all will be fixed, considering it seemed that there was an issue every few lines.
Of course, I will go more in-depth on the story and combat as I progress through the game. Look back here for our review in the coming days!
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan was previewed on Steam using a controller. A review code was provided by the publisher.