Firecast Studio / Fableware Narrative Design / Team17 Digital Ltd (studio)
13 August 2018 (released)
14 August 2018
Now when it comes to fantasy games, the first thoughts that pop into anyone’s head are either related to Skyrim or the various Dungeon crawlers we’ve now been spoilt by recently. Everyone seems to forget about the titles which rely more on elegant pacing, masterful storytelling and incorporate more dynamic elements into combat and exploration.
Sword Legacy Omen is such a game that focuses more on tactical combat and exploration with a story that’s heavy with tragedy and enriched with heroism. You play as Uther, one of the knights to King Arthur as the kingdom of Britannia is under siege. With the king dead and the fair maiden being taken by a mysterious dark lord, it looks like our band of missed match heroes have their work cut out for them.
Players will guide the band of merry men and women, considering of experienced knights, Merlin, thieves, rookie soldiers and your everyday peasant, through tough battles and dark lands in order to save the kingdom from certain destruction.
In terms of storytelling, there’s nothing truly new here and while there are some good missions and interesting banter between certain characters, it’s all a little uninspired. While nothing is wrong with its execution, it’s just a tale we’ve seen a million times before, with no twists or interesting dynamics. I will say that certain parts of the dialogue stand out as pretty odd or just sounding completing out of place. While I have no problem with swearing, it has to be done right and the uses of F*** and s*** here and there just doesn’t seem … proper. It’s feel completely out of place and is just used in the moments where the dialogue already takes a dive in quality.
The art style during game looks pretty good, with some very beautifully drawn environments and character designers. There’s also some nice sound design as you explore and fight with some neat and elegant scores. The downside to this however is that Sword Legacy Omen has some poorly animated cut scenes, with stiff character animations and a total lack of energy or engaging actions. They just stand there, shifting a couple of centimetres left and right and hardly blinking either.
It’s just unsettling, the way they stand there … with their big eyes!
Mechanically, Sword Legacy is simple and easy to learn off the bat. Players can explore environments outside of combat with a point and click system. Each character has their own purpose and uses during exploration as the thief for example, can pick locks to locked doors and chests. There are secret areas to discover and various objects to interact with which helps explain more in terms of the story. Areas are again lovingly designed, with multiple paths to take and plenty of loot to find with some elements of discovery depending on who you have in your party.
This also factors well into combat which is simple yet very engaging. Playing out with turn based combat where players will need to manage their team and perform various attacks and defences in a number of situations. These can range from fighting wolves in the woodlands to fighting a small army of hardened warriors during a snow storm. There’s some pretty good set ups for combat but with the turn based combat, there’s no major events or epic boss battles on show.
All combat is managed by AP (Attack Points) which acts as a form of currency for attacks in each round. Very much in keeping with other games that focus on turn based combat, a manoeuvre (attack or defensive) requires a certain amount of AP and this also includes movement. While I understand there needs to be balancing and a limitation of great, having a cost for movement is something I’ve never personally been a fan off. I understand it’s again another way to balance the combat out but only to some degree.
Another restriction which really impacted on character development was the limitation of skill points. Everything you earn is then placed in a "shared pool" and using points from here must cover all characters. Not a game breaker for sure but what I do dislike is the low amount of points given and the often high value to progressing certain skills.
This design choice limits experimentation and during the bigger fights, becomes a chore having to plan out each and every movement.
I only bring this up because there’s other elements involved in combat, including environmental interactions which work better for a faster and broader combat system that doesn’t penalise players for movement. Trying to plan attacks and use the environment would be great but having a cost for movement is a dated design choice which really effects the pacing. Sword Legacy Omen would’ve benefitted more from a faster pace in combat and here it plays it very safe and a little too restrictive.
Sword Legacy Omen is a decent fantasy RPG with some great ideas for combat and exploration while all wrapped up in a beautiful looking game. Although the restrictions in combat, the bland story and the “not so” beautiful aspects of the art style do hinder on the experience. It’s fine and something worth checking out but I sadly don’t think it will be legendary.
++ Pretty art style
+ Decent Turn based RPG gameplay
- Some tweaking in combat balancing needed
A review copy of Sword Legacy: Omen was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review