Sword Coast Legends Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Sword_Coast_Legends. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
It's amazing to me that as essential as both video games as Dungeons and Dragons are to geek culture, there hasn't been a true combination of the two in far too long. Sure, there have been games set in the franchise but they struggle to truly recreate the feel of a great D&D game between friends. Enter Sword Coast Legends, an ambitious game from Digital Extremes that seeks to for the first time ever truly bring the Dungeons and Dragons experience to the digital world. While it's not entirely successful it's only stopped by it's own limitations; and the developers have pledged to make this a living, growing experience by constantly adding content. As it stands right now though, Sword Coast Legends is merely a good game that has the potential to be great.
At it's core, Sword Coast's base game is pretty damn good RPG. Benefiting from fantastic writing and voice work, the 40-hour plus campaign is well-worth your time. Like most RPG's Sword Coast's narrative starts out pretty small but quickly develops into something larger, in fact - something much larger. Key to what makes the campaign so interesting is the freedom of choice that anyone playing the game will have, and while that's nothing new for a property set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe, Sword Coast feels like it goes a step further than any game before it. You'll of course get choices for character creation and development but it's the moral decisions you'll make that you feel really attached to the world and your teammates throughout the journey.
Credit must be given to Jay Turner, the driving voice behind the world of Sword Coast Legends. I'm not ashamed to say that I've spent many Saturday nights in my youth in a friend's basement playing dungeon master when I should have been out being social, so I'm pretty up on my D&D history, which Sword Coast is crammed with, but I never felt like it got in the way of making the game playable for anyone and everyone. I regularly have my wife join in on multiplayer sessions with me and I was worried that the decades of history associated with the franchise would keep her from enjoying the game for what it was, but it never got in the way. It was there, and I'm sure that I enjoyed it more because I was familiar with it, but it never stopped Sword Coast from being a great RPG in its own right.
Gameplay wise, Sword Coast is mostly what you expect, an isometric hack and slash with strategic combat options. The developers have tried to make the game more of a user friendly experience, especially for those new to the formula and as a result the combat in Sword Coast is more MMO than Pillars of Eternity. There's a good chance that this may be an issue with some established players but there's more than enough depth here and customization to appease even the most die-hard fans. I spend the vast majority of my time in the real time combat sections of the game, which feels a lot more like a Diablo style dungeon crawler than anything else, but the ability to switch freely to strategic combat planning was a welcome addition.
Of course, what sets Sword Coast Legends apart from previous games set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe is it's DM mode, which allows players to assume the dungeon master role and craft new stories, characters, locations and experiences for players. In this mode the DM creates nearly everything from the movement of characters to the dialoge they speak. It's an ambitious mode, but one that can truly finally bring the ideas of D&D to gaming. Just think of the possibilities, friends who grew up together playing Dungeons and Dragons but are now separated due to moving can finally get together again and enjoy a game or two. At least that's the idea.
While DM mode is great idea, it's choices and novelty wears off fairly quick. You do not get to create your own locations, you'll merely pick through a series of already established ones and then let the generator do the rest. As a result of this, much of Sword Coast Legend's user created content feels like a lackluster rehash of what's come before it. While DM's can change content on the fly for players, I've yet to experience anything that's truly remarkable and doesn't feel like everything that's come before it. That being said, the developers have repeatedly committed to bringing new content and ideas to DM mode, and all it will take is a truly inventive would be dungeon master to break this game wide open and create something special.
Sword Coast Legends often feels like it's a game that wants to be more than it is. It's a game that serves as great RPG to play with friends and though you'll undoubtedly get more out of it if you're at least familiar with the lore behind the series, it's also a game that's remarkably easy to just pick up and play. How long you'll play though is dependent on just how committed the developers are to continually rolling out content to it's ambitious but limited Dungeon Master mode.
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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