Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace is a 2D hack and slash platformer set in an ancient but fictional Chinese landscape. Players assume the role of a young warrior named Lu who has lost his memory and death seems to follow him. Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace aims to bring classic 2D side scrolling gameplay to the PS4 era. With tough boss fights, a unique setting and indie game feel, Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace will be for those who like older styled games with some much-needed modern touches. Just be prepared for a tough fight that yields to no one.
What to Expect
Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace plays out very much like an older 2D gaming title. Filled with tough bosses, hack and slash gameplay, puzzles and platforming players should be prepared to have a challenge ahead of them in Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace. Players can unlock new skills, weapons and powers as they progress in Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace which will give you more of a fighting chance. With nearly 10 hours of gameplay, Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace might be worth it for the price of $19.99. Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace is for gamers out there who miss the older days of hack and slash titles but want a truly new and exciting game filled with unique ideas and quick combat.
Set in a fictional ancient China, our story follows a young master swordsman named Lu. Lu has awoken in a strange cell filled with numerous dead bodies and other horrible looking devices. It doesn’t take long for Lu to realize he has lost his memory and has no idea what has transpired around him. Escaping the prison Lu learns that apparently an evil organization may have the answers he’s looking for and thus begins to hunt them down. With a strange hidden power coursing through him and the ability to wield a sword greater than most, Lu’s journey may be treacherous and deadly but he has the means of surviving it if he doesn’t give up.
Many gamers out there have gotten so used to large scale RPGs and or FPS titles that they forget there was other gaming titles out there. Back during the Sega Genesis age or even Super Nintendo era, game companies liked to make titles simpler. Usually this boiled down to hack and slash titles—like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Streets of Rage 2—and or platforming titles like Bionic Commando. That’s why when we heard Chinese indie game developer MegaFun Games was crafting a title that harkened back to the older days of gaming we were pretty stoked here at Honey’s Anime. Thus, why once it released under the name Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace we jumped right in and were ready to review it. What are our thoughts on Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace? Continue reading and you’ll find out.
Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace is a 2D style hack and slash title with platforming gameplay and tons of action. Set in an underutilized setting of a fantasy based China, there are some interesting themes to be found in Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace. However, once the game begins, things begin to fall apart slightly. The first major issues with Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace come out as soon as the cutscenes start. Thus, with that being said we’re going to talk about the negative first before talking about what’s good about Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace.
Graphically, Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace looks pretty poor. Environments and special attacks look good enough—sometimes some even look amazing—but character models, close up shots of environments and various objects look extremely dated. The same can be said of the voice acting which is pretty horrible. Some may laugh and find it reminiscent of older Asian films from the early 70s-80s but we feel that kills would could have been some rather impressive narrative. Luckily some of the character designs and boss enemies make up for what could have been an overall just bad experience visually.
Now with the worst element of Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace out of the way we can focus on the more positive elements. Though even the positive elements have some issues; just a fair warning ahead of time. Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace plays out like an older 2D hack and slash/ platformer title but there are some more modern touches thrown in. Players can dodge and can utilize special attacks with combos for some interesting and rather cool special attacks. Though at times the 2D platforming—namely the jumping—feels pretty poor. Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace’s gameplay will appeal to those who truly loved the older gaming days but modern gamers will have problems with these gameplay elements.
In terms of other gameplay designs, it’s important to note that Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace is extremely hard. As you progress through Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace you will gain new weapons and skills/powers but this doesn’t mean your fight will get any easier. Enemies in Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace do not hold back and you will need to learn how to execute dodges and when to use special moves/potions at the appropriate times. Sure, you can buy potions any time outside of combat using in game currency—which also is used to upgrade your special attacks—but even if you constantly max out your potions, you’ll find them running low. This might cause some rage quits but we actually liked the challenge as it makes the repetitive gameplay of Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace sometimes feel solid.
Finally, let us discuss the bosses themselves. As we mentioned earlier, bosses are incredibly cool to look at—even if they have bad voice acting—and are often the only time that Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace makes you sit up and grip your controller. These fights are tough as some bosses have numerous ways of taking your health down to zero. However, they are never completely unfair as most bosses have easy to read moves and only those who like to spam buttons will find them too hard. Patience in Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace will help you through most fights. Some boss fights will take you ten to twenty minutes but once you beat them you’ll be sad that you must go back to fighting the regular enemies. Though we do wish the bosses and enemies alike had smaller health levels…
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Indie developer MegaFun Games clearly tried to show the world a not too often seen Chinese setting/narrative in Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace. While the combat works well and the boss fights look cool, Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace is a game with a lot of missed opportunities. The voice acting, character models, story and platforming are very weak and that can be a problem at times. Though that doesn’t mean to say Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace is by any means a terrible game, there is a lot to like here especially if you loved older 2D titles. That’s why we recommend picking up Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace if all you care about in your 2D hack and slash games is good controls, occasionally beautiful set pieces and some solid boss fights.
Skill effects look very good
Unique Chinese setting
Great boss designs
Has a retro feel
Some environments look amazing
Graphically most environments look very weak
Repetitive hack and slash mechanics
Terrible voice acting
Boring story and narrative
Poor jumping mechanics
Honey's Final Verdict:
Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace is far from a perfect game. However, there are several things to like about Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace and that’s why we won’t say it’s by any means a horrible title even with its various issues and missteps. With a price tag of $19.99 it’s not a full priced game and that means if you can see past the many flaws of Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace you will easily find an old retro inspired 2D hack and slash title that appeals to the yesteryear of gaming titles. What are your thoughts on Hidden Dragon Legend: Shadow Trace we would love to know in the comments down below. Like our reviews here at Honey’s Anime? Why not scour our website for even more gaming, anime and pop culture articles to read at your leisure?
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!