Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is a fantasy adventure RPG based around African lore and mythology, developed by Kiro’o Games and published by Plug in digital. Before we get started, I want to mention that I was sent a free steam key to review this game.
I really didn’t expect this game to have so many complex elements to it and that really surprised me. After playing quite a bit of the story, I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever played a game quite like Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan. It is an extremely unique concept.
The Grand Story Of The Aurion Legacy
I’m going to start with the story and the lore, because unlike other games, the lore in this game plays a large part into the story and how the game evolves and how you develop new skills and combat abilities. This game is jammed packed with original world history and has enough lore to become an animated cartoon if the creators wanted to make one. In fact, I think that Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan would make a REALLY awesome animated TV series.
It’s like someone grew up watching anime and decided to make an original fantasy RPG story mixed with Dragonball Z and Naruto style anime fight scenes, and a complex family legacy system that determines power levels. In my opinion, the entire concept is amazing. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan also has its flaws that makes the game difficult to play, but I will get to those soon.
The story follows two protagonists, Enzo Kori-Ordan and his newly wed wife, Erine. On the night he was to be crowned king, was also the same day as his wedding. But as luck would have it, the king was betrayed, a coup took place, and the new King and Queen lost their kingdom. Since I just got done watching a playthrough of Final Fantasy XV (I didn’t really want to buy the game), I couldn’t help but compare the two characters and the story. One King was whiney and complained a lot and I really didn’t like the band of characters he met or traveled with, and the other felt a sense of duty for his people and wanted to be the best possible king for his nation, with a family Legacy based around justice, honor, and helping people. The game follows the Kori-Ordan couple as they must train to become stronger, build their own Legacy, and fight side by side to regain their kingdom and free their nation.
Here is where the cool but complex part comes in. The game revolves around you building your Legacy. In the world of Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, Aurion is literally like aura, ki, chi, energy, whatever you want to call it. People that have Aurion abilities can channel this energy into powerful attacks. To make your Aurion stronger, you must first build your Legacy through life experience. The stronger your Legacy, the stronger you become. This is where the heavy lore kicks in, which sometimes feels like a ton of exposition being thrown at you, because the game isn’t JUST about the Legacy of the Kori-Odan family, every single boss character you fight has their own family history, their own life and moral values, and their own Legacy.
What Are The Aurion Legacies?
Before I explain how the Legacy lore works in the story, I’ll first talk about how it works in battle and why it is so cool. Legacies work similar to the Super Saiyan transformational powers in Dragon Ball Z. You can activate the different Aurion Legacies to manipulate your stats for a power boost. You also have a button to charge up your AP (Ability points) so that you can use your skills, but while your Aurion Legacy is activated, you can overcharge it to go beyond your limits. This will give you an even bigger power boost, but the more you overcharge, the more life it will start to rapidly drain. This gives you the choice to sacrifice your health for more power, so this boost can make a huge difference in difficult battles.
Character Legacies are connected to their fighting abilities and the special moves that they can use, so the Legacy of the Kori-Odan family starts with the Aurion Legacy of being honorable, and thus that is the first special move-set you start the game with. As you progress you will unlock other Aurions, such as Anger or Adaptable, each having their own special skillsets and perks attached to them.
To give you an example of how this works in the game, you will eventually come across a family of slave traders in the game whose Legacy was built around Greed, Betrayal and Power. When Enzo and Erine learn about what is really going on, this obviously clashes with their Legacy of Honor, and they felt it was their duty to free the people.
The more they learned about the horrors that was going on, it enraged them and made them angry because of the injustice that was happening with the slave trade, and thus they unlocked the Anger Aurion Legacy, which gives them a new set of moves and fire powers. At any time you can switch between the different Aurion Legacy movesets to create powerful and complex combos.
As the game goes on, you continue to expand your Aurion Legacy tree to gain new skills and abilities, while learning about all the different Legacies around the world from the people you come across and fight in battle, often times learning more about yourself to unlock new Legacies; and thus the cycle repeats.
In order to unlock these new abilities in Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, characters must first go on a grand pilgrimage to unlock “the Four Pillars Of your self-awareness”, with each Pillar connected to a different element. The more you learn about yourself and why your personality is the way that it is, you will start to build up your own Legacy and become stronger. The key is to embrace who you are and not lie to yourself, and this is why the family of slavers became extremely powerful because they embraced their Legacy of Greed and Betrayal and built an empire upon it.
One of the main objectives of the game is to travel around the world to build the King’s Legacy, unlock the Elemental Pillars of his self-awareness, and become strong enough to conquer all the rival Legacies that threaten the King’s people and his heritage.
In this regard, the four Elemental Pillars reminds me of Avatar The Last Airbender because he can only save his kingdom after unlocking all four pillars.
You will fully start to understand how the Legacy combat system works when you make it to the prison storyline because that is when you can play around with the combat system the most and switch between the different Legacy styles and abilities freely.
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is an extremely complex game, because it just isn’t an RPG, it is also a side-scrolling platform game where you can also hop off the walls and you have to dodge obstacles; it also has an arcade style beat’em up fighting system; a political storyline quest series where you have to solve disputes among the people; and of course the classic RPG world map where you can walk around and train with not-so-random battle encounters (because you can choose to skip them). For the most part, all of these features work rather well, and it is a great way to break up repetitive gameplay.
I’m a huge nerd when it comes to fantasy stories, and I love games that are loaded with lore and original world history — especially lore that directly affects the gameplay. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is filled with tons of original content and delivers an original fantasy-Adventure story that is refreshing to both play and explore.
The exposition can be a bit heavy-handed at times as they have to describe everything in excruciating detail about each family Legacy or a new game mechanic, and that sometimes makes the game feel like a giant tutorial. But at the same time, it has so much lore that this could become an amazing series that grows with time, and I feel that it is the type of fantasy world that people can follow along with and watch expand to become something that stands out from the crowd.
The lore and terminology is a bit confusing and complex at first, but once you understand how it all works, the formula really sucks you into the world and adds a great level of immersion.
Within the first 30 minutes of the game you will understand your main objective, and after four hours of playing I really started to love the characters, the lore, and their personalities. I haven’t come across a part in the game where I stop to think “Why am I doing this? What is the point? This side quest makes no sense in relation to the main goal.”
It is difficult to hate the king’s character because his anger, pride, and stubbornness will often times get the better of him, and then the story will shift to a humbling story arc where he has a moment of self reflection and unlocks the next pillar in his Legacy as he talks with his past ancestors about his family Legacy and their teachings and beliefs (similar to the Avatar state where they would get advice), progressing not only the story, but character development and gameplay elements because he will also unlock new fighting skills. This might sound strange, but I started looking forward to the emotional parts because I knew I would unlock something awesome by the end of it.
Combat And The Wonky Controls Scheme
The combat is similar to the classic Tales OF Phantasia RPG from the SNES age, except you have more freedom of movement and can chain epic 50 hit link combos. The game uses battle scenes and a side scrolling combat system. The way Enzo’s fighting system works is described as being a spider web of movement, where you can stun your enemies, then following through with complex combos that allows you to run, jump dodge, and attack in almost any direction you want as long as you can press the buttons fast enough.
Erine serves as a “summon monster” in combat, and doesn’t stay on the battlefield. You call her in to use one of her many abilities and she will cast the spell, then will teleport away again. She can take damage for the few seconds she is on the screen, so you have to be careful not to let her die, but she also has projectiles and shields to aid you in battle to help protect the two of you.
If used correctly, you can use Erine’s magic and combo it with Enzo’s melee combat to create bigger heavy hitting combos to constantly keep juggling the enemies, this is especially useful because you can summon Erine both in the air and on the ground.
As Erine gets stronger, she will unlock the ability to cast multiple spells at once, giving you more complex fighting abilities as the game progresses. The problem however is the controls. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan was designed for an Xbox 360 controller, but the movements and the buttons can be a major finger twister trying to juggle all the button combinations without dying.
The digital pad is used to switch between both items and your Aurion abilities — you can assign four items and four Aurion Legacy abilities, and you can switch between the two tabs whenever you want to access the different items and abilities. Then Erine has a button assigned to her, and depending on the movement direction you press will determine which skill she uses, she can have three spells assigned for battle.
The battles for Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan are extremely fast paced, so trying to keep up with everything can be challenging. Sometimes I want to use a healing item, but I’ll switch to the Aurion tab by mistake and activate the ability instead of using the item. You need Erine a lot to counter enemy spells, but you also have to dash around a lot to avoid taking damage.
I decided to play the game using the keyboard and mouse and that increased the difficulty even more because the buttons were a mess. You can customize all of the controls, but having such a complex battle system in an arcade mode fighting style has a serious learning curve. After awhile I got used to it and it allowed me to create some really cool combos and navigate the field, but sometimes one wrong button can cost you your life.
(The official trailer to show the combat and gameplay)
But at the same time, the battle system is also where Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan shines most, because everything in game is hand animated with painstaking detail. A few civilian animations look a bit wonky at times, but for the most part it has extremely high quality movements, animations and impressively detailed artwork (I used to animate when I was younger, so looking at this I know how much work went into making this game). The best part is that pretty much everything you see in the combat cutscenes, you can more-or-less do in the actual game if you are skilled enough.
The game often times will also have amazing cutscenes that will play with anime style battles as the characters fly around the screen, teleport, clash swords, punch, dodge and unleash powerful energy attacks that collide with explosive force. When you activate your Aurion ability in battle, the fight will usually pause as the character gives some type of speech that relates to the story, and that makes the battles fun and interesting because the combat, the lore and the dialogue all come together to make the game really unique and special.
Projectiles have a weak, medium, strong system, where if a stronger projectile hits a weaker one it will break through it or cancel it out, giving the game a really cool anime feeling as the Ultimate Legacy level projectiles clash together.
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan has a level of strategic combat that I haven’t seen in RPGs in a long time. When you are outnumbered by several different enemy types, utilizing the dash and projectiles can make a huge difference in evening the odds, especially if you overcharge and decide to push yourself beyond your physical limits.
Another cool feature — as mentioned above, is that you can switch your Aurion Legacies on the fly, using an Ice attack, comboing in some normal hits, switching to fire to air juggle the enemy, and then switch again to your basic honor Legacy to finish them off with a powerful blow all in one single streamlined combo.
All the problems With Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
The major problem with Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, is that it acts like a very ambitious game that lacks polish. All of the features are really cool, but they don’t always work very well. Oftentimes the controls feel like a mess. Sometimes I simply want to talk to someone or pick up an item and it feels like the collision box to interact with them is too small, the same goes for entering and exiting certain areas that I have to click on to access. And since buying items from the store requires you to talk to people, it is sometimes difficult to access the shops as well, which sometimes makes a simple task rather tedious.
The world map feels a little bit lazy and doesn’t completely match the rest of the game because the sprites look a bit cheap, but I didn’t find it to ruin the gameplay and I quickly got used to it.
The music is mediocre. A few of the emotional songs hit the right spots, but the standard battle music quickly becomes annoying and feels underwhelming and not very creative.
The worse problem though is the loading times. Gosh darn it the loading times make no sense. I don’t have a really powerful machine, but the extremely long load times baffles me because I can run higher quality games with better graphics at a smoother framerate. You can adjust the resolution for the game in the options, but it doesn’t make much difference.
Sometimes the game will run smooth and load fine, and then for no reason I get extremely long 30 second to 1 minute long loading screens or FPS drops where the game will lag and literally stop for a couple of seconds before resuming. This can be a mess in combat because you can die when the game suddenly comes to a stop.
At first I thought the game just needed to cache the content to stream it better, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The lag and loading times are completely random. Because of the above mentioned problems, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan feels like a low budget indie game that attempted to cram an extreme amount of content into an unpolished game.
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan may not have many flaws, but the few it does have are pretty big ones, enough to prevent the game from running smoothly or having an enjoyable gameplay experience. It feels like the budget was just enough to get the core engine and story going, but they lacked the budget to add a bit more finesse to the overall game to iron out the bugs, so be aware of its flaws if you consider buying this game.
A few people complained about the translation, but I only found a couple of minor spelling and grammar issues, for the most part the game’s English was clear and easy to follow (because I believe the original language is French).
Overall, I think that Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is an amazingly complex RPG with a detailed story, well thought out characters, a massive amount of lore, and a fast paced unique combat system. Seeing how the game started, and then what it has become now, I can’t help but be impressed by the end result. I would love to see this world expand and continue to grow.
If you can put up with the complicated controls and a few of the more unpolished parts of the game, I think that majority of gamers that love hardcore adventure RPGs will enjoy this game, I know I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the game and the story quite a bit. I highly recommend you pick this one up and give it a try.