Developer(s): Spacetime Studios
Publisher(s): Spacetime Studios
Platform(s): PC Browser, Android, iPhone, iPad
Review Platform: Android
Release Date: November 7, 2012
Ambitious is a word that most people don’t want to hear when it comes to video games; gamers usually wind up disappointed. Gearbox rescuing an old franchise in development hell, the graphical promises of the PS3 before it launched, and Ubisoft attempting to use comedians as E3 hosts are all very ambitious goals that failed horribly. A free MMO on Android with hours of gameplay, an easy but strong skill tree, and quality servers is an ambitious goal. Spacetime Studios had these goals and, with Arcane Legends, met them. Calling it the best phone game is probably a stretch. Calling it the best MMO on a phone is not.
- In depth leveling system
- Addicting gameplay
- Lots of customization
- Repetitive quests
- Too intense of a game for phones
There were two misleading claims in the first paragraph. While Spacetime Studios did meet their ambitions with Arcane Legends, this is the fourth time they have done so. Arcane Legends is the latest entry in the Legends series, preceded by Pocket, Star, and Dark Legends. The other half-truth was that Arcane Legends is a great phone game. It is an astounding game, but should not have been made for phones.
Playing Arcane Legends on a smart phone isn’t entirely convenient. Due to the necessary constant internet connection and the breadth of the game in terms of scale and graphics, this game will drain your battery. To properly play Arcane, one must be plugged into the wall at all times. Maybe owning the cheapest smart phone on the market is hindering my on-the-go playing, but I’ve found one minute of playtime equates to losing three percent of battery. This is barely a complaint to be making, but a phone game is, ideally, played on the way to work or in between classes. Attempting to do so will lead to your battery being crippled for the rest of the day. On one occasion, my phone was on low battery. I plugged it in and booted up Arcane Legends. The game drained battery faster than my phone could charge, and, ultimately, the phone died in the middle of a boss fight.
Putting convenience aside, Arcane Legends is solid in just about every front. The combat is satisfying and simple; however, not simple enough where players are left frustrated by the lack of options. There is one main attack, and four slots available for secondary attacks. As a sorcerer, the main attack is a spell with secondary abilities including healing yourself and party members, a powerful fireball, and bending time to cause enemies to have slower reaction speeds. The other two classes have similar options available to them, with the rogue’s ability being agility and the warrior’s being brute strength.
The three classes work best in tandem. Having at least one of each is crucial to having a party strong enough to take down bosses and work through ambushes of goblins. Don’t have friends to play with? No problem. There are always plenty of people online to play with. In fact, walking around the neutral zones, such as the Traveler’s Outpost, will slow down your frame rate due to the masses of people in idle just hanging out. Finding no one to go on a quest with you is a rare occurrence.
Were no players able to accompany your quest, everyone has a companion in the form of a pet. Similar to the dogs in Fable II and III, these pets will find loot and attack enemies for you. Although, these pets are more helpful than those in Fable. The dogs in Fable were pretty mediocre at causing damage and only led you to loot if you followed them. In Arcane Legends, pets attack whenever an enemy is present, and players have the option to unleash an extra powerful pet attack, another way the combat is simple yet engaging. As for loot, the pets will smash crates and bring the gold to you.
In contrast, the pets have the unfortunate talent for pointing out one of the biggest flaws in Arcane Legends: the quests. Most of the non-storyline quests are fetch quests consisting of going somewhere, killing people, and finding an item. Sometimes there are five of these items, which poses an even bigger problem: these items drop randomly from slain enemies for no rhyme or reason. The other kind of fetching to be done is given to the player by pets. Upon entering an area, one will stumble upon a pet all by itself. This pet will tell you it lost its owner and wants you to find it as it has lost its ability to walk.
The saving grace for these repetitive quests is that they are all fun. The combat, as previously mentioned, is satisfying and challenging enough to make the fetching worthwhile. And it is challenging; you will die more than once. Thankfully, after finishing off a batch of especially tough enemies or a boss, a new weapon or piece of armor will drop. Sometimes an item specific to a class other than yours will drop, prompting player interaction. These item drops help the level of customization go above and beyond what was expected. Not only will the character’s look change according to what is in use, but the play style and strategy will too. In addition, pets are changeable at any point too, allowing you to go from having a turtle to a mythical creature at anytime.
In the end, Arcane Legends is a game that is absolutely worth the price. I would be hard pressed to find someone seeking out a refund. The satisfying combat more than makes up for the repetitive and uninspired quests, and the character customization makes the rewards totally worth it. While Legends won’t blow your mind in terms of story, it will change your idea of what a phone game should be.
|Final Score||“The finest Android MMO out there”||8.5|
While the character models and environments won’t wow the owner of a high end PC, your phone will show off its hi-res abilities in style. The large, open world involved makes it even more impressive.
The combat and quests are repetitive but satisfying. There are no big revolutions here in terms of innovativeness, but on the whole, the game is fun, rewarding, and enough of a challenge to keep things interesting.
Arcane Legends is free, good, and lasts longer than an hour. It’s hard to be a better value than that.
The same sounds will be heard over and over again during fights. While they won’t get on your nerves, these sounds aren’t as original or individualistic as one would hope for. During cut scenes, a new language is made up for characters to use with subtitles translating it. Why some of this new language is English will forever be a mystery.
Review by Chris Lohr
Chris Lohr is a freelance writer currently in film school. If you’re looking for him to write for your website, manifesto, or Russian bride catalogue, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put today’s date as the subject line and include a picture of yourself. Must be DDD free and willing to host. All Articles by Chris.