In terms of the gameplay itself, Legendary is as familiar as you'd expect. Like many recent FPS games, it allows you to fire from the hip or look down the sights for more accurate shooting, and also restricts your weapon load-out to two guns. We ended our tour of duty pretty satisfied with the excellent shotgun and scoped assault rifle combo we'd picked up, but there are presumably plenty more choices to be found later in the game.
The game's sole innovation lies in the health system it employs. Having received some of the power from Pandora's Box when you opened it, you now find that you can absorb "Animus" energy both from little clouds that are found as you progress, and from the bodies of dead beasts. This Animus energy can be used to recharge your health (and does so automatically if you pick up additional enemy once the Animus meter itself is full), and there are also various special attacks that use this energy.
As you progress, the game does start to introduce the occasional physics-based puzzle. These are normally pretty straightforward, but can be a little jarring in contrast with the balls-out, old-school FPS action that comprises the rest of your play-time - and they do highlight the unfortunate fact that, in common with FPS heroes of yore, your character jumps like a paraplegic. Pressing the jump button yields a grunt and a tiny hop, and the concept of climbing over objects is apparently alien to this all-action hero.
Still, that's not much of a criticism of a game that wears its heart on its sleeve, and has no pretensions of being anything other than an action-packed shooter. It helps that it really looks the part graphically - it's not the best looking game we've seen by a long shot, but it's a perfectly passable use of the Unreal Engine 3 tech. The scale, as mentioned, is impressive, and enemy animations aren't half bad either. You also flay skin and flesh off your bestial foes as you pepper them with small arms fire, which is a "nice" touch (for some very unusual definitions of the word "nice").
Oh, and of course, there's multiplayer. You know the drill - all sorts of standard modes will be supported (no co-op though, we're sorry to say), with more details to come closer to launch. One potentially interesting multiplayer feature will be the ability to turn on Beasts on the levels, so that while you're tearing into your human foes, AI-controlled beasts will be tearing into both of you. How that'll work in practice remains to be seen, but it's certainly cool in theory.
Legendary was looking remarkably polished when we saw it, with no major outstanding bugs evident in the 360 version apart from some stuttering in the cut-scenes. That's a pretty good sign for a polished launch for the game, which we're expecting to appear on 360, PS3 and PC simultaneously in October or November. It's unlikely to set the world on fire (literally or metaphorically), but for straightforward, well-executed FPS action that's perfect for a half-hour stress-relieving blast, it's looking like you could do a hell of a lot worse this autumn.
Legendary is due out on PS3, 360 and PC later this year.