Aarklash: Legacy ReviewPC
key review info
- Game: Aarklash: Legacy
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: No
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Cyanide Studio, a well-known games publisher and developer, acquired the Confrontation IP soon after Rackham, the company that released the miniatures, collapsed back in 2010.
Confrontation is a miniature table-top game in the same genre as Games Workshop’s Warhammer, which means that players fight against each other using miniatures from various fantasy universes.
Unfortunately, Rackham was not successful in marketing Confrontation in order to sustain itself as a major player in the tabletop gaming market, but not all is lost for fans of Aarklash fantasy universe.
Since Cyanide Studio acquired the IP, it released a video game called Confrontation, back in 2012, and is about to release a new one called Aarklash: Legacy.
Aarklash is a deep, rich fantasy world populated by elves, humans, orcs, goblins, undead and wolfen. There are lots of factions that fight for supremacy over this continent and each comprises members of various races, while others are more conservative and only accept members of the same race.
The game that I’m hoping won’t go unnoticed, Aarklash: Legacy, follows the adventures of several members of the Goldmongers Guild, one of powerful factions on the continent, and their struggle to survive the dangers of a war they did not start but financed.
The party you are going to start with has four members: Knokka, Denzil, Nella and Wendaroo. Although they belong to various races that populate Aarklash, they are members of the same faction, the Goldmongers Guild.
The Goldmongers Guild is a faction that doesn’t really get involved into the war that ravages Aarklash, instead it finances those who fight each other with loans and when they cannot pay their debts, they send in the cavalry.
These mercenaries, loyal to the Goldmongers Guild, are called Wheel Swords. They work as debt collectors and are seasoned fighters of different classes or roles.
Although the game does not have a diary/log where you can read what’s happening with the world around you, Cyanide made it so you get all the info you need while playing Aarklash: Legacy. The story unfolds before you as you play the game and becomes more complex as you progress.
While chasing one of the prominent members of the Lion of Alahan faction in order to collect a debt in the form of a relic, your squad of mercenaries becomes the target of a plot that turns them from predator into prey.
Even though you manage to recover the debt, you soon discover that your faction, the Goldmongers Guild has been accused of crimes against the Lion of Alahan and all members are now being hunted down. The knights are not taking any prisoners, so your only chance is to reach the Hold and regroup, as swift as possible.
Aarklash: Legacy is very different in comparison with Confrontation. Although both games share the same universe, everything from story, combat and graphics has changed for the better since the Confrontation was launched last year.
The story may seem rather simplistic, but as you progress into the game, it becomes darker and more complex. If the first act keeps you engaged through combat, as the story continues, it becomes more interesting, which is a major step forward from Confrontation.
The fantasy world of Aarklash is amazingly deep and rich, and the folks at Cyanide have managed to capture only a fraction of what it has to offer, but quality-wise, they have done a good job.
Aarklash: Legacy is neither an action RPG nor a hack ‘n’ slash game. If you’re thinking you’ll have an easy time playing Cyanide’s new game, you might be right, but only if you choose the easy mode.
Otherwise, even on medium, some battles can be very hard if you’re not prepared for what’s to come. And, obviously, you can’t be prepared for some boss fights, though Aarklash: Legacy lets you switch party members anytime during the game.
I’ve been playing for several hours and I find the combat system simple but pretty solid at the same time. It’s clear to me that Aarklash: Legacy has been built around the “pause” system and this is how it works.
The game auto-pauses every time you encounter an enemy, so you can give your party members various orders. You can pause at any time during the fight using the space key and I do recommend pausing often during boss fights.
Keep in mind that this game cannot be played like a hack ‘n’ slash or ARPG game. Using the “pause” function is mandatory, otherwise your party will be quickly killed.
Aarklash: Legacy’s combat system reminds me of Icewind Dale, which is not a bad thing at all, on the contrary. However, some players may not like this tactical approach that requires them to use “pause” in order to issue commands to their party.
I’m not going to spoil anything for you when it comes to combat strategy for various enemy party combos, but go for the priest or mage first.
Although you control four party members, you will be fighting more enemies most of the game, so planning ahead is strongly recommended. You can issue multiple commands, but once your mage starts casting a spell that requires concentration, you won’t be able to cancel it anymore.
Each party member has four powers that he/she can use. You won’t get any others during the game, but you will be able to upgrade each of these powers multiple times. The Skill tree is pretty simple, but allows you to experiment with each build as you see fit.
You can reset your build at any time and at no expense. Each power has various requirements and you can even build synergies between your characters’ powers in order to make your fights easier.
As I have mentioned earlier, you start the game with a party of four, but as you progress, you will find four other characters with whom you can switch in between anytime. However, I was surprised to see that these new characters that I found along the way had 0 combat experience.
This means that it’s hard to put them together with your level 6 or 7 party. My recommendation is to keep them in party when you fight weaker enemies and switch them out in boss fights.
The loot system in Aarklash: Legacy is the epitome of simplicity. You don’t have weapons, armors and stuff like that, and you can’t sell or buy anything that you find during the game.
Your characters are unique and so is their relationship with their weapons and armors, so you can’t have them replaced. The loot in this game is represented by rings, earrings, amulets and relics. Epic loot mostly drops from bosses, while the rest of the loot is common, rare and magic and can drop from mobs or can be found in chests.
Some chests are well hidden and if you find them, you get better loot, so keep your eyes peeled while wandering the world of Aarklash. Speaking of which, the game does not offer you the possibility to explore.
Each map consists of a trail that you must follow and you can’t really wander off too much. Some maps have puzzles that reward you if you solve them, but they usually put you up against various bosses, which are pretty hard. If you beat them, you can take the loot, but these puzzles are optional so if you find them too challenging, you can skip them.
Back on the loot system, each item that you want to get rid of can be “recycled.” This “recycling” system compensates for the fact that the game lacks any trading system. With each item that you recycle, you will fill in a gauge that appears in the left corner of the inventory in the form of an anvil.
Once this gauge is full, you will get a powerful epic item. The nature of the item (ring, amulet, earring, relic) is determined by the last item that you recycle before the gauge gets full. That’s pretty interesting and smartly introduced.
It’s also worth mentioning that Inventory is shared between your characters, so you won’t have more windows opened when you equip your party members.
The combat system in Aarklash: Legacy requires planning. A good strategy can turn even the hardest fight into a walk in the park. Obviously, you won’t get it the first time, but each boss has weaknesses that you can exploit and this is the only way you can win.
Luckily, Cyanide allows players to see enemies’ stats. Simply select an enemy unit and click on the icon that appears in the upper left corner of the screen to get all the info you need to kill it.
Aarklash: Legacy has no less than 7 effects that can affect a unit. These effects are represented by various colors and it will probably take some time to get used to it. Timed effects can be removed or stolen (if they are positive), but those that are permanent (i.e. auras) cannot tempered with and you will have to counter it otherwise.
Some may find big flaws into this combat system, but I enjoyed it due to its simplicity and complexity at the same time. My party fought quite a lot of bosses and, each time, I have to use different strategies to down them.
I really like a challenging party-based game that makes you come up with ingenious strategies to overcome any obstacle. In Aarklash: Legacy, there’s always a perfect strategy for a boss fight, and then there are good strategies which lead to the same result but the road is filled with pain, lots of pain. Finding the best strategy can save you a lot of trouble, trust me.
Visuals and Sound
I have played other games developed or published by Cyanide and I can confirm that Aarklash: Legacy is one of the best-looking titles. I did not find any glitches during my gameplay and I’m enjoying the animated environments, water reflections and woderful landscapes.
For an indie title, Cyanide did a great job with Aarklash: Legacy and redeemed itself from the previous less fortunate experiences. Music and voice acting are decent enough to consider it an improvement from previous titles developed by Cyanide.
Both visuals and sound make players’ immersion into the fantasy universe of Aarklash much smoother. I give Cyanide the thumbs up for it, but there’s always room for improvement.
Aarklash: Legacy was an unexpected surprise for me. Having played Confrontation, I did not have any high expectations from another RPG from Cyanide, but Aarklash: Legacy is definitely a good game.
Cyanide’s Aarklash: Legacy is a must for every fan of tactical party-based RPG titles that has enjoyed games like Icewind Dale. Although it doesn’t have the deepness of Black Isle’s game, Aarklash: Legacy is the first game that got the Confrontation tactical miniature wargaming right.
I’m not sure those disappointed by Confrontation will want to try out another Cyanide game in the same universe, but I strongly recommend those who have enjoyed a more tactical approach in RPG titles to give Aarklash: Legacy a try.