The universe and lore of Dungeons & Dragons is hugely popular, and one that even if you’re not a massive fan of, or at all, you will have heard of it. Not all that long ago, we had the MMORPG Neverwinter arrive on Xbox One. But it wasn’t as polished as it could have been, but nevertheless, it has proven popular, and has been well received on the whole. I enjoyed my short stint playing it, but as I have a multitude of games, and a family, I cannot justify spending the rest of eternity playing it, as I know I will become addicted. Now we have Sword Coast Legends arriving on console as par of the Dungeons & Dragons universe, and Neverwinter and Baldurs Gate both get mentioned in-game, which is a nod of respect as it were. But the question on a lot of people’s lips is; Is it any good? Read on.
There are troubles regarding the game in pretty much all corners. n-Space closed their doors for the final time earlier this year, after a forging a career out the any medium-sized Indie developer would be proud of. But the PC release saw a lot of flak, with many people not that impressed with the end result. So how has Sword Coast Legends fared with the transition to console then? Truthfully, not that well at all. Which is a sad moment for me, as this is the type of game I love. I was so pumped about it’s release, that when I got chance to review it, I had no hesitation. I really want to fall in love with this game, and in time, I may do. But it’s going to be paying for all the dates and movies to win my heart.
I wont go on a rant about the negatives, as under all the issues swarming it, there is a fun game, and quite enjoyable at times, but you have to take into account the pro’s and cons, and ask yourself if you can hack the problems. The fact there is co-op will likely help soften the blow, as you can tackle it with up to 3 friends through the 2 Story campaigns. Which is a bonus, along with Dungeon Master mode, where you get to tackle a randomly generated dungeon. And summon monster and demons for friends to battle. Sounds great, and for all intents and purposes it is. Sadly I didn’t get to play it as long as I would have ;liked, buy my co-op partner had to leave. I did enjoy this truth be told.
The beginning of SCL, you will be given the chance to create your own character in the D&D realm, and the various races on offer, both male and females obviously, on top of all the other attributes, make character creation an in-depth experience, and don’t forget to choose a name. Unlike me. From Sun Elves, to Halflings, Tieflings and Humans, you will have plenty of options to select from, and even how your chosen hero looks is customisable, despite you will barely see their faces again. But this touch is a welcome addition nonetheless, as a lot of developers would have omitted this in a similar circumstance. Naturally, if like me you have to do any role play gaming, then you choose a character name that reflects their race. I chose a Dark Elf, or a Drow if you prefer, and named him Gidvys Seraalor. Apparently that is a name from that race I’ll have you know.
Once you have completed your fictional hero, you are given the choice to pay the tutorial, which I strongly recommend, as it will fill you in on proceedings a little bit, although it does just suddenly end. You get 2 campaigns in story mode, and the aforementioned Dungeon Master mode. I did the normal thing and ventured into story mode, hoping for some adventures to tell the grandkids that would excite them. Sadly all I will be able to tell them is; horrific loading times, as in down right appalling. Lag beyond measure for an offline campaign mode I had chosen, awful shadows from the trees in the first area, and the water looked as if the developer had gotten lazy and complacent, or frankly didn’t care. Honesty, it is really terrible. Like a shimmer effect had been paced over a section of land to imitate a water effect, when there really isn’t any water there at all. Instant disappointment is never a good omen for any video game, especially one that you have been pumped for. The loading times have left me feeling in a vegetative state. I am not joking, they are unbelievable, considering we are in a newer generation of console gaming, this sort of thing is ridiculous. Couple this with the lag you get once you reach Luskan, you are highly likely to turn the game off and play something else instead. But on the flip side, Sword Coast Legends is based on the Forgotten Realms universe, and the 5th Edition rule set. For those in the know, then fair play to you, as I don’t have much knowledge regarding Dungeons & Dragons. The lore is on loading screens, and gives you something to repeatedly read while transitioning to another area.
There are parts of this game that remind me of other recent games, such as the party system. Whereby you can change party members on the fly and listen to them bicker at each other from time to time as in Dragon Age: Inquisition. The view-point of the camera angle reminds me of the Van Helsing slightly, although it does seem to move on it’s own accord as if it was self-aware, and learning to ignore movement of the right analog stick, or constantly fight against it like I have had too. I like to have my camera a set position, and not have it do what it pleases mid battle. Seems like I have nothing good to say doesn’t it?
The voice acting is good, and there is enough passion invested to make it all sound convincing. The story itself, although a bit on the generic side will likely hold up until the end. After all, your questing and looting on the Sword Coast, and looking to be a legend about it, do you care for the story that much? Well, probably yes. But in all reality, it’s passable. The music score on the other hand, is where the game excels at. It is a perfect fit for the fantasy, sword wielding hero, or magic slinging if that is more your thing. Sadly though, being the only aspect of what could have been a great game, it fails to live up to my expectations at least, and the transfer from PC to console has not been a good one. Whether the developer couldn’t be bothered, or just rushed it, we will never know. At the price of £15.99, I would suggest that you wait for a sale if you really want it that badly in your collection. As it stands, there are far better games out there worthy of your money.
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