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[PS5] The Legend of Tianding Review

[PS5] The Legend of Tianding Review

The Legend of Tianding by Creative Games Computer Graphics Corporation and Neon Doctrine is a fun Metroidvania based on the life of Liao Tianding. Check our The Legend of Tianding review!


The Legend of Tianding by Creative Games Computer Graphics Corporation and Neon Doctrine is a fun Metroidvania based on the life of Liao Tianding, the Taiwanese Robin Hood who fought against the oppressive Japanese rulers at the beginning of the 20th century. The story starts with two men discussing the legendary Liao Tianding, known for stealing from the rich to give back to the poor. Master Wu knew him as he always helped him hide from the cops at the Chenghuang temple. The other man, A-Lin, would love to meet with him, but he hasn’t been seen in a long time.

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The focus then changes to show Wang Wun-Chang, a Tea House owner, hitting someone who hasn’t paid his rent for having a merchant spot on the street, even though the person is a beggar. After A-Lin tries to help, Liao shows up and sparks fear in Wang as he runs away back to his Tea House. Liao decides to go after him in his heavily guarded Tea House. After defeating him, he recovers a strange amulet. Little would he know that this amulet would be the beginning of a much bigger adventure as he gets to know what it is.


The game is played from a side-scrolling perspective, and you’ll be exploring the town that serves as a hub world and visiting some areas that serve as the game’s dungeon levels. You’ll move around with the left analog stick, with the X button to jump. The Square button will be for your regular attacks, which can either be with your knife or with the weapon you steal from enemies. The Triangle button will be for your Red Sash bind, which throws your sash around enemies once the prompt is over them, allowing you to steal their weapon. The Circle button will be for the special moves that you gradually unlock through the game that consumes some of your stamina. You’ll also have access to your Spiderwire with the L1 button, which allows you to hook on certain places to create a traversal move. The R1 button will be for dodging, which can either be used to avoid enemy attacks or to get through things like lava falling down.

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While in town, you’ll be able to get around the different streets, talking to some of the residents, with some of them having side quests that you can complete to gain collectibles or amulets that allow you to be granted some perks. You’ll also be able to donate some money to beggars along the way – in the true spirit of a Robin Hood-like hero. In dungeon levels, the pattern will be similar between them, although each level has its own design. You’ll be going through branching pathways, with multiple occasions for finding some hidden collectibles, to eventually make your way to the end for a boss encounter. You’ll also be able to relive your memories by visiting Master Wu, which means you must go back to previously played levels. You do this to either help with some sidequests, as well as to find some of the collectibles you might have missed.


In terms of its visuals, the game has a lot to offer. Level designs are great and beautifully drawn, and every character on the screen has a lot of details in them. There are also cutscenes and dialogues that sometimes feature some comic book-style panels to help illustrate the story in a different way than by simply reading some text.

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Since I’m always up for playing a Metroidvania, I was ready to dive into this one to see what it had to offer. For starters, I found a game with a great story that felt interesting and captivating to see through until the end, especially knowing that it was inspired by some real events. The combat system wasn’t too complex, so it was easy to pick up, although I would’ve wished for a bit more depth. The level design is a lot of fun to go through, and the boss fights were all different and challenging, each in its own way, which helped to keep the experience feeling fresh.


One of the things that struck me was how much it felt like I was playing a lite version of the excellent Guacamelee! It wasn’t the same, but there were a lot of aspects that felt like it was an inspiration. The combat had some similarities, and the same goes for the platforming, with some difficult sequences if you wish to get one of the hidden treasures. There’s even the dodge roll move to get through an obstacle. But while the influence is strong, this game didn’t feel like a copycat since it has its own way of doing things.

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As for the trophies, the list isn’t particularly difficult, except maybe for the trophy to complete the game on the hardest difficulty it offers, which could take some practice. The list includes 6 Bronze trophies, 13 Bronze trophies, and 6 Gold trophies. Most trophies are pretty straightforward, and you should have the majority of them by simply going through all the sidequests and giving all the money you can to the beggars. Grabbing every collectible and amulet will not be difficult, but with a total of 145 to find, you could end up going back to areas multiple times to try to find what you are missing.

In the end, The Legend of Tianding was a pleasant surprise that I’d recommend to any Metroidvania fan. It has a great story and fun gameplay mechanics. Once the game is over, you’ll probably wish there were more chapters. The Legend of Tianding is out on PlayStation 5 at a $19.99 price. There’s also a PlayStation 4 version available for the same price as a separate purchase.

This The Legend of Tianding review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Neon Doctrine.

Review Overview

Great Metroidvania based on Taiwanese lore