LifeisXbox’s ‘game’ review | Back in 2004, a flash game by the name of “Thiam Ting” was released in which you play as the Taiwanese Robin Hood of the same name. Despite it being under 2Mb in size, it was popular enough to make it onto a local television broadcast where they interviewed its creator, Maso Lin. In that game, you would steal money from your enemies to give to the poor, which would hand you some personal treasure you could trade for better gear amongst other things. Now, 17 years later, the developers over at Creative Games Computer Graphics Corporation have given this gem of the past a second life, and what a life that has become. We often don’t think about it, but lots of game developers today had their past in flash games or grew up playing them. I know I played my fair share of flash games right up until the adobe flash player kicked the bucket last year. While I could probably say a bit more about the bygone eras of gaming, I’m here today to talk about The Legend of Tianding. This spiritual successor to Thiam Ting was published by Neon Doctrine and developed by Creative Games Computer Graphics Corporation. The Legend of Tianding is available on PC and Nintendo Switch.
“As this local Robin Hood, you’ll apply Kung Fu therapy to the corrupt and oppressive to improve the lives of the poor.”
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we liked!
- Tianding’s arsenal | Liao Tianding might not be a Kung Fu master, yet he whoops ass like one. When you start The Legend of Tianding you’ll be armed with your trusty dagger which will be your mainstay for chipping away at the many thugs and Japanese colonist police officers’ health bars. Its simple 1-2-3 combo will serve you well both on the ground and in the air. Nevertheless this perfectly functional weapon, we soon, and I mean really soon, get to work learning a small yet versatile arsenal of Kung Fu moves to spice up our many hostile encounters. You even use your scarf to help you bind enemies and confiscate their weapons. Besides this, Liao also learns two rather impressive techniques from his Master. You can only have one active at a time, and learning how to dodge at the last moment will be key to using them. These require you to suspend your disbelief slightly, but that shouldn’t be a problem when you’re the Robin Hood of Taiwan.
- Liao was Kung Fu fighting | Liao’s Kung Fu moves, while limited in numbers, are extremely versatile. The Soaring Dragon kick, One Inch Punch, Flying Kick and Ground Stomp will not only help you shape the battlefield but also aid you in traversing Taipei and its surroundings. For example, if you have a breakable piece of floor or enemy skull below you, you’ll want to bring down your heel from above. Likewise, when you need that bit of extra vertical reach, you bust out your Soaring Dragon Kick while in the air. This also works to unify an enemy’s chin with the ceiling. The Flying Kick is more or less like its vertical variant but covers a similar horizontal distance. I found it to be really effective at reflecting incoming projectiles. By far my favourite move however is One Inch Punch. This short-ranged, powerful jab, sends enemies flying. Off-screen even if possible. It is extremely handy for clustering your foes together.
- Graphics | The Legend of Tianding is shown to us in this lovely 90s Chinese manga / comic book graphics. This happens both during gameplay sections and when the story progresses in between chapters and occasionally even during chapters. The character models and area’s of Taipei are both done in 3D, yet blend perfectly with the otherwise 2D aesthetic of The Legend of Tianding. The special effects for things like your Kung Fu moves, enemy attacks, and even more mystical arts also are also done in a really satisfying way. A small point of criticism is perhaps the button icons that appear over enemy heads when you can grab their weapon with your scarf. They’re already outlined in yellow, yet the game still needs to remind you of the button you have to press. An option to remove these prompts would be welcome, but it’s not a game-breaker.
- The sounds of Taipei | As someone who thoroughly enjoys most aspects of Japanese culture, it was really refreshing to listen to music that is oriental, yet not from the land of the rising sun. This mostly manifests itself in instrumental background music, but also in the dialogue, spoken in Chinese. There’s also this really nice folk song about The Legend of Tianding, but that’s best saved for its own point.
- The legend as delivered | If you travel to Hokumon Chõ during your time between progressing the story, you can actually listen to an authentic folk singing of The Legend of Tianding. Performed by two elderly musicians which have gathered a crowd, if you stand close to them they will begin retelling (re-singing?) the tale Tianding. I feel like this is a really cool nod to the original story, and it brings me joy the developers over at CGCGC put this in the game. It goes on for quite a while, so once you get started it’s best you put the controller down for a bit. I totally didn’t miss the achievement for moving JUST out of range at the last couple of lines…
- 20th-century memorabilia | The Legend of Tianding contains 145 collectables that can be found in various chests and given by beggars when you hand out alms. These collectables take the form of everyday items from that time period and setting. Think Geta sandals, Ramune bottles, ice cream and metal cigarette boxes. While fun to collect and informative to boot, they also give small percentage buffs to various stats and attacks. A great addition to The Legend of Tianding.
- Don’t rush | You’re not in a hurry to finish the main campaign. Because if you stick to the main story, it will be over in a flash. I knew from doing some research before playing that the game isn’t terribly long, story-wise. A good seven hours will comfortably get you through the story on Gentleman thief difficulty without any sidequests. If you do partake in sidequesting, something I highly recommend, you’ll get a fair few hours more out of the game. They’re a nice way to get to know the residents of Taipei a bit better, as well as end some side stories in a good place. Without them, however, The Legend of Tianding feels a bit on the short end.
What we disliked
- I had no dislikes about The Legend of Tianding.
How long to beat the story | 7 hours
How long to fully complete | 15 hours
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.