Aarklash: Legacy Review

Aarklash: Legacy is a squad based tactical RPG developed by Cyanide Studio. The combat in Aarklash: Legacy is in real time with the ability to tactical pause whenever you wish. You can queue up abilities with the shift key which will allow you to chain abilities together so you don’t have to manually do each one when it is ready. It is possible to click on the portraits on enemies and bosses to see exactly what kind of stats and abilities they have, as well as if they have any buffs or debuffs. If one of your Wheel Swords go down in combat, you can easily click on them with another hero to revive them, but they won’t be successful if they’re being attacked.

In total you will run into 8 different characters you can add to your party, who are all called Wheel Swords. You can only have four of them in your party at a time, but you can freely choose who you want most of the time, since sometimes you will be forced to split into two groups. Luckily, even if they aren’t in your current group, they will still gain experience from battles. All Wheel Swords have a unique set of stats and attack types, resource pools, back stories, abilities, and passive bonuses and disadvantages. An example is Wendaroo who is a physical ranged Wheel Sword that uses healing magic, and can’t be silenced but must damage allies in order to gain mana instead of regenerating it over time.

Each Wheel Sword in Aarklash: Legacy has a total of 4 abilities, which can be enhanced later on with skill points. These abilities are all unique amongst each other and do more than just simply deal damage or heal allies. Except for one Wheel Sword, all abilities will have a cooldown as well as costing resource points such as mana or even health. A few abilities have the chance to affect both allies an enemies, which means you need to be careful since it is possible to heal enemies and damage allies. Example abilities are an area of effect knockdown which will interrupt everything around you including allies, and the ability to transfer buffs that are on enemies to yourself.

After party members have learned all of their skills, leveling up will start to earn them skill points. Since the max character level is 20, you will only get a total of 17 points per hero to use, which means you can only fully level up at most two skills at one time. You are able to apply these points to the four abilities that each character has, making it stronger, more efficient, and gaining special properties. It is possible to reset your points at any time which allows you to easily adapt for the current situation, as area of effect abilities won’t do you much for large boss fights. As you go down the ability tree, there will be branches that you have to decide on since you can’t go every direction at one time. An example is a simple healing ability that can later either heal both the target and caster, or become a channeled spell that continuously heals the target.

The only items that you will run into are four types of jewelry, such as rings and relics. Each type is completely equal to all of the others, you are just simply allowed to equip one of each onto each member of your party. They have differing values of rarity which of course increase the stats on them, which range from junk, magical, rare, and epic. Each rarity rank will increase the number of stats on them, from one being on junk and up to six on epic pieces. Stats can range from simply increasing the max hp, and increases magic damage by a percentage. When you are running out of space to carry jewelry, or just want to simply get rid of the pieces you will never use, it is possible to recycle pieces that add up on a counter. After the counter is filled, a random epic rarity piece of the last jewelry type that was recycled is created in your inventory.

As you explore the world of Aarklash: Legacy, you will run into groups of enemies consisting of many different types. Whether you are fighting humans or the undead, there are generally three types of units such as melee, archers, and spell casters. All enemies have the chance to drop an item of some kind, but it doesn’t happen too often. As you progress through the game, the same types of enemies will appear but with stronger stats, and even sometimes adding additional abilities that you need to learn about, so it is somewhat refreshing to see similar enemies.

While you’re adventuring through the world of Aarklash: Legacy, you will come upon large bosses at times. These bosses are unique and will act very different compared to everything else you will run across. It is wise to click their portrait and learn about all of the abilities that they use, since knowing how to prevent abilities like the automatic killing of your party is essential to victory. On defeat you will be rewarded with experience and a large pile of jewelry, usually containing at least one epic piece.

When you reach the second act of Aarklash: Legacy, you will start to encounter many different types of puzzles. Most of them are required in order to progress farther, but they aren’t too difficulty and just require a little bit of thinking. You will run into the same types of puzzles over and over, but they get more difficult and add in different elements at times however. Example puzzles are walking through a hallway with projectiles that will teleport you back to the start if you touch them, and creating shapes with switches to match an example shape given to you.

Most of these types of games just have you running around as a single character, or groups of characters in turn based combat. Aarklash plays a lot like Dragon Age: Origins in that you are able to pause the game and give orders to everyone, though nothing is able to be automated. It also feels a lot like a single player MMO raiding game, since the boss fights require a lot of coordination and you only have to rely on yourself.

All of the important options that you would need exist in Aarklash: Legacy such as rebindable controls, volume sliders, and graphical options. There is a unique gameplay option that you can turn on which will automatically pause the game when certain conditions occur, such as start of combat or one of your party members go down in agony. Graphical quality is quite standard with nothing bad or amazing about them. For some reason, the game randomly causes your GPU to go up and down in temperature for no apparent reason, and may cause weaker computers to overheat(just guessing). Everything is voice acted, though the quality of it could have been better, especially when the dog/kangaroo hero growls and snarls.

Especially on higher difficulty, it feels like you have to pause way too often, and thirty second cooldowns feel like five minutes. There’s nothing negative about being able to pause the game and coordinate all of your attacks, but since nothing happens automatically except for basic attacks, you will have to be constantly giving your party the same orders over and over. Other games like Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Age series had ways to let your party automatically use abilities while you can still manually give orders.

You will accumulate tons of jewelry to equip on your heroes, and eventually it can take a long time to equip your heroes, especially when you have 8 of them. Although it’d be best to manually do it, a “Equip Best” button could easily shorten the amount of time it takes to outfit everyone. Even though every hero that you can use in your party is unique from one another, some are just plain better than others and when you can only have 4 in a group at once and everyone gains experience even when not in your group, there’s just no reason to use some of them. There is one time where you are forced to split into two groups though, which is nice when you want to experience even the weaker wheel swords.

You can easily put the game into normal or easy difficulty if you don’t want a challenge. Even so, you will still need to know what types of abilities enemies and bosses can use as well as your own party. You will eventually run into puzzles, but they aren’t too challenging as long as you use your head a little bit. You can save at any time and the battles don’t last very long so anyone with a tight schedule can easily enjoy Aarklash: Legacy.

When you put Aarklash: Legacy on hard or even Ragnarok difficulty, you are in for quite the challenge. Enemies will be doing a whole lot more damage and fallen comrades will take even longer to resurrect if you can even get to them. Giant bosses are possibly the best thing you can look for, since it is a lot like doing a raid in MMOs but only with you in command. Other than possibly finding hidden bosses and treasure chests, there currently is nothing in the preview version that involves collecting or completing other than the main story. Achievements are available however, though they don’t affect the game in any way. Haven’t solved the game yet, but you can easily expect to get well over 12 hours of entertainment from it, depending on the level of difficulty and how often you have to reload.

Aarklash: Legacy is priced at 21 dollars and there is currently no DLCs announced at this time. If you are a big fan of commanding a small group of heroes around and using strategy and tactics to get past the hardest of obstacles, Aarklash: Legacy is well worth your money to buy.

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