Aarklash: Legacy Review
Wheel Swords are Magic-Repo, People
The world of Aarklash: Legacy is a complex and engaging endeavour into the depths of fantasy. It braves a new world of fantasy where the Goldmongers, essentially a massive bank that rules with a golden fist over the unassuming Barons of Alahan, who are waging war with the evil Dark lords of Acheron. The story all seems very interesting at a glance, but this is one of those rare games where the story is there because it …just is. From the outset, it doesn’t make any difference if you observe the story or not, the game is based on and lives in the strategic combat system and that is about it.
As I said before, this game doesn’t have much to do with the story, in a peculiar way it works better that way, as the gameplay is really full on and possesses a ridiculous learning curve in itself. The game is based on strategic combat, you get 4 “Wheel Swords”- the private mercs of the Goldmongers as your squad. You go through the levels with these four characters and partake in small engagements and boss battles. It’s really a straightforward concept, with large amounts of potential to succeed. It feels and looks like Path of Exile, but plays like an RTS.
The heavily diluted genre mix of RTS/RPG and Fantasy, from a gameplay stand point can make your head spin a little. The main focus is on the combat, which has its ups and downs to be honest. On one hand you do have the tactical system that is well-structured, in that it will pause the game as soon as you spot some bad guys, so that you can plan your strategy and ultimately beat your opponents in a tactically clever manner. But on the other hand, the UI is a little messy, which leads to mistakes early on which can be persistent throughout, it’s also not particularly intuitive and can be pretty annoying. There’s been more than one instance where I’ve been unable to switch character because of the complicated crap that goes along with it.
In general, I’ve found that the gameplay was pretty dull and not at all moreish;, it never made me think “I will play this until my eyes bleed”, which with a fantasy game kind of needs to happen. I know I said the story wasn’t particularly important, and that’s still true, because even without the story the gameplay should be…well, good. One thing I would say it had going for it was that it seemed to have very good classes and a class advancement system. It gives you experience points in which you can use in the generic way of advancing skills etc. But, the impressive balance with the skillsets does bring back some of the disappointing UI issues. You can have your magic slinging Repo guys and your sword/knife/giant-round-shuriken thing wielders and you will be able to tell the difference very clearly. You also get items that can give classes decent buffs, for example, a ring that gives a magic shield to the character. You could apply this obviously, to your already magically shielded characters for a buff, or even on un-shielded characters for extra protection.
The graphics in this game sports a not-so-unique art style, I’ve seen it before in games like Path of Exile and even Dota 2. It’s not particularly original- but with that said it is still pretty good, it follows the right kind of feel that the other games have, and it automatically assigns fantasy as a genre for me, so I know what to expect graphics wise. The graphics themselves aren’t at all flashy, but some have reported that it will tax your GPU (Radeon) nonetheless.
The sounds are similarly unambitious and don’t bring any kind of immersion to the game as they are pretty standard for games of about 3 years ago and with Aarklash: Legacy, it seems like they were aiming a little higher and missed the mark, which is disappointing.
The main issues I would say I encountered with the UI. It was tricky to get the hang of and not at all intuitive. I lost three or four times down to it queuing commands and not letting me switch to a different character without deselecting the character I had selected at first, after I had selected the character I wished to switch to. Writing that was still less confusing than that system.
The whole intention behind Aarklash is to present tactical combat consisting of 4 different classes that fall into different archetypes. You get the typical mage/warrior/thief/cleric classes and they represent the main party. You also get random loot and new party members as your game wares on. I’m a gigantic fan of both randomized loot/items and procedurally generated areas. Obviously the latter won’t apply in most cases (this one included) but the former, does.
I would buy this game cheap if I were you. It’s enough fun for $20 and I don’t think that’s a price people should pay for it. It is however worth playing so I would give it a go at least at some point when it’s on sale or comes down in price.