Sword Coast Legends ~ superficially touched

scl1Hello, world! 😀

This is an extremely short article about my first impression on the Sword Coast Legends PC game.

Sword Coast Legends was free to try on Steam for yesterday and today. I had a friend come over and try the game out yesterday, while I was been sick and struggling to study. His company and subsequent excuse I had to have someone else sitting in front of the screen were greatly appreciated 🙂 On to the point, I gave him a notebook and told him to record any impression he got out of the game. These are his bullets

  • Assymetric multiplayer ?
  • A very standard begining with the standard “railroad” tutorial (no deviation from its plot or anything).
  • You can have a Chaotic Evil character on a Good-aligned party.
  • You start your first sidequest as… gathering mushrooms (Yay! No rats’ tails! :P).
  • You have access to a vendor from the begining.
  • He didn’t go further than some of the tutorial but we both felt that the lack of voice acting from npcs (Non Player/Playable Characters) was deminishing an already poor experience.
  • There is a shallow stream of water right near your first camp… that you cannot cross, despite how beautifully it is rendered. It’s a mere excuse for limiting your exploration because you HAVE to cross it LATER…
  • There are dialogue choices that use Skill Checks.

We are no strangers to Pen & Paper RPGs, we have played D&D and I personally adore Paizo’s Pathfinder. So we were both in a familiar invironment with a boring set of gameplay mechanics:

The graphics and environment were pretty ok. The graphics inside the first inn I liked. Generally, it is apparent that there was a lot of work done on the visual and aesthetic department: textures were excellent, character models were pretty decent and I loved how they looked on character creation, I believe I noticed random animals on the background and the shadows were pretty ok – though they executed erratically in the lowest setting. I had fun trying to create a Drizzt clone! The clothes looked really natural for the setting.

I can’t say much about the controls as I wasn’t the one playing but I saw the settings to be your standard dungeon crawler RPG control scheme – nothing new here. I did not like that I cannot have the mouse key pressed to keep the character going uninterrupted. These will be a lot of clicks to travel the Forgotten Realms, people. The tutorial and various hints do a proper job to get you into the whole set of mechanics.

Statistics wise it is all D&D. You have your 6 main Attributes and that’s it as far as someone who isn’t fond of the whole D&D mechanic has to dwelve into. There are also Skill Trees as per the D&D mechanics but many (if not most) of the interactivity skills are missing (skills such as Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate, Swim, Acrobatics and others) – so you have mainly  the combat ones. Well, at least I can have Proficiencies, so that’s something, right? 😛

I praise the liberty to build a character of any alignment (alignment summarizes a person’s ethics and morales) and that your choices on how you build your character matter in personal interactions as well, not just combat. The sound is also very good. The voice acting is crisp and full of emotion, too.

I believe that Sword Coast Legends shines when you can have a D&D session multiplayer experience! That means that one person can build the setting of an adventure (as a DM – Dungeon Master) and have other players live it through their own choices. It sounds as awesome as it sounds, however we couldn’t test it much. I found the editor to give an uninspiring interface feel even if it is loaded with options.

But…

That’s just it: the game is quite bland for its genre. The market is saturated with a lot of similar style games and this one’s impression does not set it apart from the rest of them. This doesn’t mean it is not good or that it is entirely poor but that it should have certain key aspects of it different in order to shine on its own right. I personally found it boring from the begining but didn’t say anything only to have my friend feel the same, until we had to shout it at the same time 😛 The multiplayer is what this game boasts about but what little I saw I didn’t feel compeled.

I take it, like SqEn with Final Fantasy 7, that it is quite possible Wizards of the Coast is readying a videogame experience of the D&D franchise on its own… ? I hope so, because this one, even if it is on the same setting and had a lot of D&D fans on their toes to finally have the pen & paper experience on their machine (with all assorted benefits of easy multiplaying from around the globe, game saving, having the machine do the various calculations for you, huge capability for immersion etc) it does not deliver. Even though there was  a lot of work done, it’s single player experience is that of a standard off-the-shelf dungeon crawler while many people expected something different and more.

 

Tell me what you think. Leave your impressions and comments below 😀

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