King Arthur: Legion IX review – Roma Aeterna but it’s a fever dream

Solid combat and a unique setting carry the janky presentation
Neocore Games

Invading King Arthur’s realm in Avalon with an army of zombie Romans was not on my to-do list for 2024 initially, but you know what? There’s a first for everything. I can confidently say I’ve never played a game in a setting like this one before. It’s a nightmare version of the dream of an Eternal Rome that will have you make some tough choices: Will you embrace your demonic side or restore your humanity?

King Arthur: Legion IX is a standalone expansion of Neocore Games’ King Arthur: Knight’s Tale, a CRPG with tactical turn-based combat that retold the Arthurian saga with some grimdark twists.

That atmosphere has been kept for Legion IX, which sees you play as Gaius Julius Mento, who’s a tribune in the Ninth Legion – a force that was apparently cast into the underworld and cursed to suffer through immortality as demons. Mento and a few of his men have found a way out, landing in the magical realm of Avalon. Here, they encounter other Romans who’ve made it to this region in the past and established a colony called Nova Roma, which they promptly decide to rebuild.

Over the course of the campaign, players can invest gathered resources to rebuild Nova Roma, giving them additional bonuses on missions, allowing them to upgrade equipment, and so on – this settlement mechanic doesn’t go too deep with just a few building options being available, but it provides a sense of permanent progression between combat encounters and reinforces the theme of building yourself a new home.

King Arthur: Legion IX screenshot showing three undead Romans.
What a smile, eh? / Neocore Games

Spread out between missions are many events and dilemmas that require you to make a choice, which will impact your morality – you can either give in to your demonic desires or pursue a path of humanity. This will impact your relationships with all party members as well, as they’re not all getting along or follow the same ethics. Rifts between them go so far that certain characters will refuse to participate in missions suggested by the other. Keeping your party members loyal gives them bonuses in combat, while disloyal party members perform worse on the field of valor.

Your crew is assembled over the course of the first few missions and will then stick around like in most other CRPGs – while the combat of King Arthur: Legion IX is definitely comparable to a game like XCOM, it does have a permanent cast of characters instead of self-built squads that get replaced after losses. Being demons, any fallen party members simply come back to unlife.

In terms of narrative, King Arthur: Legion IX isn’t going to win any awards for its writing. However, as mentioned above, its unique setting, interesting world-building, and well-executed atmosphere do a lot to carry the story.

That’s fairly hard work, because the game’s dialog and voice acting are doing their best to ruin the tone. Half of the voices sound like they’ve been recorded by the same person using a voice changer, the delivery is downright comical, and the lines themselves are uninspired at best. If I wouldn’t enjoy a certain level of jank, I’d be very cross about having my immersion ruined by the Roman demon calmly saying “We’re not friends anymore” to the random bandit that just hit him in combat. Even serious situations with hefty choices at hand are ruined by unintended comedy.

King Arthur: Legion IX screenshot showing four undead Romans.
A central conflict in the story and between your characters will be your allegiance to the demonic Emperor Sulla. / Neocore Games

Though perfectly alright visually – in fact, there is good variety to be found in terms of maps and character models – that part of the game’s presentation really drags it down for me. At least it’s made me laugh a lot.

A positive mention of the UI is in order as well: You can make elements sticky to read them and item comparison is fairly easy as well.

As was the case with Knight’s Tale, Legion IX’s crown jewel is the turn-based combat – which, luckily, is the main activity you’ll engage in while playing. Movement is grid-based with characters requiring AP to move around and use their abilities. Each of your six heroes is unique when it comes to their playstyle and skills, though some passive abilities are shared, giving you solid character development options as they level up and you get skill points to spend.

Character archetypes include a double-sword-wielding damage dealer, a shield-bearing tank, a dark caster for damage and debuffs, a fire priestess for damage and heals, a javelineer, and a melee-type with a two-handed ax.

King Arthur: Legion IX
Combat is the area in which Legion IX excels. / Neocore Games

Combat reminds me of Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader a little in that enemy waves often outnumber you by a shocking scale, though many foes are simple cannon fodder to get that power fantasy of being an undying Roman demon soldier across. Look, as a self-confessed Romeaboo, that works for me. That said, you can ramp up the game’s difficulty and actually face some really tough challenges, so there’s room for those enjoying a hardcore run and those just being there to relax a bit.

Legion IX’s combat really rewards good positioning and planning. Since all of your characters can take action at the same time on the player’s turn, you can set up powerful maneuvers and use everyone’s abilities to their fullest without having the enemy ruin your plans – of course, all foes will take their own turn at the same time as well, so you’ll always need to be prepared for a mass of attacks coming your way.

You can change up your overall style quite a bit with different equipment and buffs gained from your settlement – for example, there is one buff you can activate that gives all your characters lifesteal in combat, but prevents you from healing at campfires during missions. Aside from the resting places, mission maps will include some puzzles, hidden treasures, and shrines to get temporary buffs from – overall, it feels quite rewarding to scout every last corner, especially as you sometimes can begin encounters from a more favorable position by going to them from a different direction.

King Arthur: Legion IX is a solid RPG with crunchy and satisfying turn-based combat that takes place in a setting you won’t soon forget – a bit janky and rough around the edges, but good fun.

Score: 7/10

Version tested: PC

Marco Wutz


Marco Wutz is a writer from Parkstetten, Germany. He has a degree in Ancient History and a particular love for real-time and turn-based strategy games like StarCraft, Age of Empires, Total War, Age of Wonders, Crusader Kings, and Civilization as well as a soft spot for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. He began covering StarCraft 2 as a writer in 2011 for the largest German community around the game and hosted a live tournament on a stage at gamescom 2014 before he went on to work for Bonjwa, one of the country's biggest Twitch channels. He branched out to write in English in 2015 by joining, the global center of the StarCraft scene run by Team Liquid, which was nominated as the Best Coverage Website of the Year at the Esports Industry Awards in 2017. He worked as a translator on The Crusader Stands Watch, a biography in memory of Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka, and provided live coverage of many StarCraft 2 events on the social channels of as well as DreamHack, the world's largest gaming festival. From there, he transitioned into writing about the games industry in general after his graduation, joining GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage for media partners across the globe, in 2021. He has also written for NGL.ONE, kicker, ComputerBild, USA Today's ForTheWin, The Sun, Men's Journal, and Parade. Email: