The Legend of Tianding is a Fun 2D Side-Scroller With Frantic Combat

The Legend of Tianding

You might already be familiar with The Legend of Tianding.

Having been available on Xbox, Switch and PC for a considerable amount of time, this action-packed side-scrolling adventure, inspired by the titular Robin Hood-like figure, has thoroughly impressed most of those who have played it. And now it’s made its way to PlayStation consoles to garner a whole new host of fans.

Set in Taiwan during a period of Japanese rule, The Legend of Tianding finds players fighting for freedom. The story is spread across numerous chapt ers, and in each you’ll traverse the picturesque streets of Taiwan as well as numerous unique interiors. From screenshots you might get the impression of something like a metroidvania, but in truth this is something much more straightforward.

While there are side-missions to undertake, each offering their own rewards, The Legend of Tianding has a lot of forward momentum. That is to say, you won’t be revisiting many of its primary action-focused locations unless you choose to. In fact, you could say that this is a game of two halves: out on the streets in broad daylight you’re conversing with others and pushing the story forward. Then, off the streets, it’s all about negotiating perilous traps and combatting anyone that stands in your way.

The “dungeons” here, for want of a better word, are largely linear in design. There are some opportunities, however, to deviate from the set path in order to chase treasure. It’s very much worth doing, too, as each piece of treasure provides a perk that benefits you in some way. As much fun as it is keeping an eye out for hidden passages, though, it’s the plentiful encounters here that are the real highlight.

The Legend of Tianding

A skilled fighter, Liao Tianding is not one to skulk in the shadows, even though he’s known to be a master thief. Instead, he lashes out with his fists, performing a powerful combo. He also has his martial arts skills at his disposal, such as a powerful rising kick. Not only are they useful for defeating enemies, but also accessing hard-to-reach areas.

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The best feature of The Legend of Tianding, however, is how Liao can use his scarf to steal an enemy’s weapon once they’ve sustained a bit of a beating. Everything from swords to rocket launchers are up for grabs, making the combat feel dynamic every step of the way. The fact that enemy weapons have limited uses means you have to use them to assist your basic attacks rather them outright replace them, too.

The Legend of Tianding

With multiple difficulty levels on offer, you can make the combat as punishing as you please. Even on the easiest setting, however, you’ll have to learn when to dodge certain attacks and how to avoid the powerful attacks performed by elite enemies. It’s when facing off against the game’s troublesome bosses that you’ll really have to demonstrate some mastery of the combat system, though health restoring bao buns and ample checkpoints means The Legend of Tianding is rarely a frustrating experience.

Wonderfully presented with comic book stylings, there’s a lot to like about The Legend of Tianding. Its story will keep you engaged, and its gameplay eager to explore new environments and take on new challenges. If you enjoy games with fun combat systems, definitely consider adding it to your library.

The Legend of Tianding is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.