IntroductionSword Coast Legends is an action-adventure role-playing game that takes place within a popular Dungeons & Dragons universe known as the Forgotten Realms. Developed from a collaboration between n-Space and Digital Extremes, the game will have you travel across bright and detailed lands in the single-player campaign, or you can team with up to three friends for co-op adventures. Choose from typical D&D classes such as mage, warrior, dwarf, etc, and make a legend of yourself as you battle across swamps, dungeons, woods and more along the Sword Coast. You can pick up this game on PlayStation Network or Microsoft Store or Steam for $19.99.
StoryThe backstory of the game falls upon a somewhat vague idea; there once was a Moon Tear created from an elven goddess who cried over the death caused by wars. The tear turned into a relic that could ultimately shed light on the world full of darkness. The lay the foundation for the Burning Dawn guild before their untimely deaths. Furthering into the future from these events, the Burning Dawn guild allow food, shelter, and compensation for new recruits willing to put in some work. This is where your character steps into the picture. As a new recruit to the guild, you are asked to escort a caravan of merchants from the city of Neverwinter to the city of Luskan, a city running rampant with thieves, bandits, traders, and pirates.
Since leaving the city of Neverwinter, your character is haunted by powerful and dark nightmares. Shortly after waking up one morning, you and your fellow guild members are attacked by another mercenary guild sent to kill you. Your adventure takes off from here as you survive the attack, and set forth towards Luskan to find answers and explore a vast and lush Sword Coast. Throughout the story, you'll cross through dense woods, poverty stricken towns, wealthy towns, dungeons, crypts, and many other of the typical environments found in RPGs and Dungeon & Dragons worlds.
The game also has a second campaign called the "Rage of Demons." Much less in content, but interesting enough to give a chance. The "Underdark" threatens life on the Sword Coast, and you must set forth once again to restore safety and order. If you're familiar with the Neverwinter world, you'll recognize Drizzt Do’Urden who plays a good portion of a role in this story.
GameplayThe gameplay, while nothing to truly complain about, doesn't offer too much to rejoice about either. It's simple in terms of what an RPG should offer while not really trying anything new. Stereotypically, you customize a character (see "Character Customization" further below) and begin a long adventure of exploring an overlaying map design, finding as many loot chests as possible, and killing any and all enemy groups that blockade your path to the end.
Upon adventuring and slaying countless enemies of goblins, bandits, mercenaries, and random other creatures and monsters, you gain the usual experience. These experience points then result in leveling your character up, where both skill points and ability points are acquired. A large variety of skills and talents offer unique experiences for each playthrough and character you build. The talents you'll use alongside your basic attack feel extremely slow most the time, ultimately slowing down the whole flow of combat. It turns it into a waiting game.
There are a number of quests available. Many are generic in fashion, kill this enemy, go collect this item, save this person from harm. Some will be specific to one class type, but due to the depth of companions, all can be completed in a single playthrough.
Dungeon Master mode offers a unique change of pace for the game and is completely separated from the story campaigns. It's nothing too complicated once picking up the basics, but extensive in possibilities. In the fashion of classic D&D board games, it pits 4 people against the sole dungeon master's creation. You customize an entire map layout with objects and traps, customize enemy and NPC locations and specific settings/characteristics for them, and also create quests for the ones who dare challenge your creation.
GraphicsThe game provides very well designed locations to explore. The woods are lush with trees and bushes, the dungeons with unique designs within (some being homes to bandits or goblins, others feeling as if they're nearing the heart of a volcano), and towns full of populated feeling areas. Enemies present a good sense of strength through their appearances, making for almost all enemies in the game to feel like pretty worthy opponents. Towns and castles add a variation to the world, changing the setting up often enough to find appreciation for nearly all locations you come across.
SoundThe music within the game provides a mellow, yet fairly upbeat rhythm to the game as you play. Medieval sounding melodies when walking through towns and villages, and dark themed music when in dangerous territories, this could be one of the best aspects of the game. Often times games can cause headaches with overuse of horrible sounding music, but this one is the exact opposite, as it never oversteps its purposes by drowning out speech and combat. I actually found it quite enjoyable.
Combat is hit and miss regarding sound. Some attacks, especially the basic ones, have a decently strong connection sound while spells can sometimes sound underwhelming. When compared to games like Diablo 3 where every combat action looks and sounds like you're breaking the ground you walk on, this game appears a little soft. Character speech is very good and lucky abundant. The text in this game is so terribly tiny, voices play a huge role in not making you feel desperate for character interactions.
Character CustomizationThe customizable options available are pretty deep but also expected of an RPG, especially one with the backing of a Dungeons & Dragons brand. There're 5 different sections of customization before setting out on your journey. None of which alter the game's starting place or story.
You create an "Origin" for your character, specifically genre, class, race (and subarea depending on choice), and background. The classes include: Wizard, Paladin, Ranger, Warlock, Fighter, Cleric, and Rogue. The races include: Dwarf (sub-race of either Gold Dwarf or Shield Dwarf), Elf (sub-race of either Moon Elf, Sun Elf, Wood Elf, or Drow), Half-Elf, Halfling (sub-race of either Lightfoot Halfling or Strongheart Halfling), Human (sub-race of either Human or Human Variant), or Tiefling. Each race and sub-race will determine what additional bonuses you receive if any at all. Background also plays a role in any bonuses you receive and include the possibilities of: Knight, Outlander, Pirate, Sage, Sailor, Soldier, Spy, Urchin, Acolyte, Charlatan, Criminal, Entertainer, Folk Hero, Gladiator, Guild Artisan, Guild Merchant, or Hermit.
The next section is for "Appearance." Here you will decide skin color and the complexion, hair color and style, eye details, nose details, cheeks and jaw details, and finally the lips and ears details. Although fairly in-depth with options, the character model fails to show much change regarding your choices. The graphics of the game resemble much more of the Walking Dead: A Telltale Game than they do something of the Elder Scrolls pedigree.
The "Equipment" tab is the third section of customizations. This is where you will choose the type of weapon your character will use and includes everything expected (i.e. swords, daggers, staffs, bows, etc.). You also have the option of how you wish to dress your character. Do you want them running in full metal armor, mage styled robes, nothing but undergarments? Some weapons and equipment are specific to a given class and race.
The last two tabs include "Stats" and "Abilities." The cliche, yet fitting, categories for stat points disbursement include: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Ability skill trees focus on increasing the damage and cooldowns of several possible attack abilities and is separately leveled up from stats. Finishing the character customization allows for you to choose his/her name, the portrait picture that represents them on the top left side, voice, and personality.
ConclusionSword Coast Legends is a decent game if not compared to other party-styled RPGs. But there is heavy competition from other games on the market that makes it one to second guess if worth your time, energy, and money. It offers a lot in terms of customization and RPG elements, but between the horrible camera and slow combat, I found it hard to justify trying to further invest myself to the details within. The Dungeon Master mode, while too feels dull and somewhat lacking in some aspects, especially in the eyes of someone who is strongly familiar with the Dungeon & Dragons, Neverwinter, and Boulder's Gate worlds, can provide a lot of replay value.
|+ Deep character creation||- Camera angle and control is miserable|
|+ 2 different story campaigns||- Long loading screens|
|+ Dungeon Master mode||- Screen lag prevalent|
|+ Choices within dialogue||- Tiny text|
|+ Great music and character scripts||- Somewhat slow combat|