Aarklash Legacy is a Tactical Squad-based Role-Playing-Game that was recently released on PC and can be downloaded through Steam or from www.aarklash-legacy.com. Aarklash legacy was created by Cyanide studios, who are known for creating Game of Thrones the Role-Playing Game and Blood Bowl.
Aarklash Legacy’s’ lore is inspired by and set in the Confrontational figurines universe, but is not greatly expanded on in the game, so if you wish to know about the lore of the game you’ve got to hit the books, you will not find a great deal of information on the lore due to nature of the story and who you are playing as.
On a continent known as Aarklash there are 3 main locations in which Aarklash Legacy is set in: Acheron – home of the Goldmongers Guild, Alahan – home to the Lions of Alahan and the Behemoth – a massive mountain range that divides Alahan from Acheron that hides all manner of Evil things in its’ depths. You take control of a group of mercenaries who work for the Goldmongers, “work” being the very misleading word it is can also be substituted for “enslaved” in most cases for the mercenaries in question, but that’s business as usual for the Goldmongers. The Goldmongers’ Guild is Aarklash’s loan sharks, and stop at nothing to get the money that they are owed. Whereas the Lions of Alahan are Knights of Light and Justice who try to give justice to all, to the extent that most knights wander around the land.
Aarklash legacy begins with a tutorial which familiarises you with the first group of Wheel Swords: Nella the Human Mage, Wendaroo the Wolfen Healer, Denzil the Goblin Assassin and Knokka the… metal sniffer? Though it isn’t properly explained what Knokka is or how she came to be, she is an invaluable asset to the Squad you will be controlling, I say this because there are 2 tanks in the game her, and an Ogre, and out of the 2 she is by far the most sustainable. Through the tutorial you’ll be retrieving a relic for the Goldmongers, from the Lions of Alahan. An unfortunate series of events happens shortly after and the wheel swords are forced to travel through the Behemoth and the evil that it holds to find answers. Tips will be displayed whenever a status effect has been first used in the game by the enemy, and they will tell you in good detail about the effect and how to handle it. The status effects that are in game are your standard RPG effects like charm, fear, and immobilization but there are a lot of effects that you will have to plan around like necromancy and passively draining health from enemy units within a certain radius.
The game’s core gameplay is that of using tactics to outsmart your enemy, and with the use of the unique skills that each characters possesses you will find tactics that suit your play style. I for example enjoyed using Nella for her Damage output and heal, Wendaroo for her massive healing output, Knokka because she can heal herself and become immune to damage briefly and Leck Lorus the undead sorcerer for his explosion magic and “charm-ing” personality. The advantage of having an all ranged team is effects that are passive on enemies that block certain attacks or drain health are easier to avoid. The game does give you tips when in the loading screens, but beware that the game takes a while to load when you first go into your game.
When in combat the game will auto-pause to show that the enemies have started to attack, but prior to this you will have full reign over your characters’ abilities. So don’t be afraid to buff your characters’ before battle if you need to. You are able to stack moves in the game but I find myself overwriting my stacked commands due to enemies using their own spells such as reflect damage, so I’d be forced to find another target otherwise I’d be wasting damage output on an invulnerable unit. At any time in the game you can use the spacebar to pause the game, and in this pause you may issue any orders to your squad, allowing you to have a margin of error if you don’t see an enemy casting a spell. Most damaging spells in the game are not targetable until end-game and follow a line doing damage to the first thing they hit, so positioning your units is key in battle, to allow you to quickly change position and fire a spell you can use the left mouse button and click where you want to fire the spell from and then select the direction which is very useful if enemies move out of your line of sight or range. The majority of enemy mages will be using a line of fire spell that does a great deal of damage, so being able to pause the game and move out of the way makes it that much easier to avoid an early grave.
Talking about graves, dying in this game is inevitable as the game itself is very challenging due to the variety of enemies and their attacks or will just throw an overwhelming enemy at you. Save often as well as you will find that some combat instances will have the enemy receiving reinforcements, in most instances you can take out the second or third group out before fighting the first group, but you will need to know where they are and if you can sneak around the first group. Reinforcements can also be found on patrol, but will be unable to be reached before you attract the attention of the first group and as the straightforward guy I am I charge straight at the first group as the patrol leaves the screen in an attempt to massacre the first group before the second returns. This doesn’t always work and I was forced to reload many times, which the game does seem to promote as F5 is quick-save and F9 is quick-load, which does give me the message that you are meant to fail a couple of times and learn what will happen in the combat and act towards that.
As a top-down RPG it follows the trend of you finding a lot of loot, but you will have to find it by going in optional caves and solving certain puzzles or defeating optional bosses. The optional bosses tend to be a lot more challenging than any of the story based bosses, but they are a lot of fun, and they give a lot of loot, so if you feel up to the mark you should definitely try to defeat them. The puzzles in-game are very interesting and you do get a sense of accomplishment for completing them, the only issue with the puzzles is that there are none at the start of the game, but fast forward a little and there are tons of them. I can agree with not having them at the start of the game to allow the player to get used to just the combat, but there is no need for that many puzzles. A retribution point for these puzzles is that some of them do enable you to get into massive loot rooms.
The loot Aarklash Legacy is divided into common, uncommon, rare and epic loot ratings, the rarer the loot is isn’t proportional to how powerful the artefact is, it only increases how many stats are raised with each rarity level (epic loot being around 4-5 different stats are modified). This means that even though you’ll get epic loot, it may not be as great as the artefact you are already wearing, but 7 out of 10 times the epic loot will be better due to how much time has passed between you getting epic loot. An interesting feature in the loot system which I rarely see in games is the ability to recycle loot, when you fill the recycle meter you get a random piece of epic loot, the meter fills faster the rarer the pieces of loot that get recycled. This means that all the random pieces of loot that is useless to you can be turned into epic loot.
Aarklash Legacy is an interesting game that will keep you busy for quite a long time, as combat does take a while if you’re as bad as me at it. The combat of the game is fun and works perfectly for the type of game it is, and the pause on the game really allows you to survey the combat with ease. The game is fresh and would have a really interesting story if I didn’t need to research the universe from other websites such as Aarklash Chronicles and Confrontation. If you play the game without knowledge of the universe you won’t learn about the universe from this game, but the plot does progress smoothly with a wide variety of characters. The loot system works quite well, but don’t expect to get drops from enemies unless they are bosses, loot is usually found in secret chests. The skill tree is simple but effective as it has 2 routes down each skill with 2 major changes at the end of each route.
Aarklash Legacy knows exactly what it is, and gives you no less than what you expect, except in lore explanation, but if you find yourself playing this game you’ll probably be researching the lore anyway to understand more about the plot. The game revolves around using tactics to outwit your enemy and loot to give you the edge in combat. Challenge is something that you will not be short of in this game especially in those optional bosses. The combat reminds me a lot of Dragon Age: Origins except its less finicky and much more fun, any fans of Dragon Age: Origins will definitely want to pick this up. I’m quite a fan of top-down RPG’s and squad based games and Aarklash Legacy has stood itself out of the crowd for me and is incredibly addictive straight from the get-go, as a result I give this game 4 out 5.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.