It’s clear from the onset that Arslan: The Warriors of Legend hasn’t been treated as just some cash in product and Omega Force has seemingly had full access to whatever they’ve wanted to use. Instead of using direct cutscenes from the anime, Omega Force have taken all the individual pieces of artwork used from certain scenes and essentially reanimated them. While I imagine this was done for a variety of technical reasons, another reason is that Arslan: The Warriors of Legend isn’t a 1:1 adaption of the series.
Existing fans, don’t panic, there’s no major changes as it’s more to do with the order in which events happen. We see some characters earlier and certain conversations happen earlier or later than the events depicted in the anime. Usually though, this involves including these ‘missing’ sections into the missions themselves rather than cutscenes in between. For example, an early scene with Narsus where Arslan learns of a character’s death doesn’t happen at all and is instead made a part of the following mission. Another scene where a character is introduced that happens in the battlefield in the anime, instead takes place in the next town Arslan and his company visit. There’s no impact on the story and it’s actually done rather seamlessly and I don’t think anyone new to the series would find the changes jarring.
One casualty that I do miss however, is the humour seen in the series. While It’s not gone altogether (Narsus and his paintings still remain as the butt of many jokes and amusingly, a paintbrush is his default weapon) the game takes things a bit more seriously and it’s not there to extent seen in the anime. While I can understand wanting to keep the focus on the story, I do miss the lighter moments. Again, if you’re new to the series, I don’t think you’ll really notice but existing fans might miss them as I did.
One addition existing fans can look forward to however, is the extra episodes unlocked by playing through the story mode. These episodes use events that were in Arakawa’s manga but weren’t included in the anime series. Given the stylish “toon” graphics used in the game, this gives them a chance for anime fans to gain more insight into certain events. When starting up one of these extra episodes, you’re given some background on the events and where it takes place in the story line. While the story missions have their audio adapted from the anime series, there’s original voice acting for the extra missions.
Also included is an encyclopedia mode which has appeared in other Warriors games. Here, you can find background information and character profiles on pretty much anyone or anything. There’s a chronological timeline of the series events, noting the history of Pars before Arslan is before and is updated as you progress through the story mode. There’s also a battle guide that describes the battles that happens in the series, who was involved, what was happening and where they occurred on a map. It’s quite a resource of information for existing fans and likely the only one of it’s kind available in English at the moment.
Overall, I feel Arslan: The Warriors of Legend makes for an interesting adaption of the anime series, offering an easy access point for new fans while offering something of a series bible for existing fans, full of extras and new content not seen yet in the anime.