Sword Legacy: Omen Review PC
key review info
- Game: Sword Legacy: Omen
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: No
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
There are many movies, but not enough video games that try to recreate some of the Great Britain's famous myths like for example King Arthur and Robin Hood's legends, or the Beast of Bodmin Moor and St.George, the dragon slayer.
That being said, it's not every day that we get to play a game that fits the topic above. Developers Firecast Studio and Fableware Narrative Design have been bold enough to tackle the legend of Uther Pendragon, King Arthur's father, and morphed into a turn-based RPG called Sword Legacy: Omen.
In truth, Uther Pendragon wouldn't be such a popular character if not for his son, King Arthur. That's probably one of the reasons Uther rarely appears in any of the movies that recreate the legend of King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone. Even though he's heavily overshadowed by his son, it appears that Uther Pendragon can offer enough material for a video game.
But is it enough to piggyback on such legendary characters to boost your game's popularity among certain audiences? I'll try to answer the question as fairly as possible and offer you an in-depth analysis of what Sword Legacy: Omen has to offer gameplay-wise.
Sword Legacy: Omen's opening is pretty grim as Uther and Merlin return to Mercia Castle just to see it conquered by Wessexian troops led by the Duke of Gorlois. It gets even worse as the king is killed during the attack and his daughter and Uther's beloved, Lady Igraine is kidnapped by the duke's army. As Mercia's Lord Commander, Uther vows to revenge the king's death and rescue the princess, but in order to do that, he'll fist need to escape the besieged castle.
The first 30 minutes of the game lay the groundwork for a 10 hours campaign that will send Uther and his improvised band of heroes throughout the entire Great Britain in an attempt to find enough allies that will allow him to openly take on Gorlois, the mastermind of a devious plot to conquer entire region.
Although the story clearly moves away from the legend as we know it, it's a good plot if managed correctly. In fact, moving forward, the names of some of the characters are the only things that suggest it's a take on King Arthur's legend, or more precise, how the legend came to be since without Uther there would be no Arthur.
Unfortunately, the game doesn't deliver, especially at the narrative level where the bantering and dialogues between characters are almost ridiculous. Even though there's heavy interaction between the heroes Uther recruits under his banner, there's no real bond between them, although they're fighting the same enemy and, for the most part, for the same reasons.
Sword Legacy: Omen starts mildly interesting, but it didn't manage to keep me engaged until almost the end. I did not feel attached by any of the characters I've been allowed to play with, which means there's no real characterization within the game. And the extra tidbits that you can collect throughout the various levels of the game in the form of documents don't reveal anything interesting either.
As I've mentioned earlier, Sword Legacy: Omen is a turn-based RPG, which means once you deplete all your characters' actions, you'll have to hit End Turn and let the enemy AI make its own moves. It's also worth mentioning that throughout each level, you'll often switch between two phases: combat and exploration.
In exploration mode, you can find loot hidden in chests or documents that offer you extra information about the various kingdoms of Great Britain or about some of the characters in your party. Combat mode ends the moment you down the last enemy and the game automatically switches to exploration mode, so you can loot bodies if you didn't already done so during battle.
Your party will always consist of four heroes, although every time you recruit a new hero, you'll have five characters to play with during that mission. There are eight archetype classes in the game – Knight, Sorcerer, Lancer, Thief, Priest, Barbarian, Keeper, and Blacksmith, each with his/her own skills.
Speaking of skills, this is where the developers have implemented some RPG elements. Instead of gaining experience after each fight, you'll be rewarded with “renown,” which is used to unlock skills for your heroes. Naturally, each class has specific skills, but you'll be able to equip four skills on each hero. There are also passive skills that you'll benefit all the time if they're unlocked. Keep in mind thought that you MUST equip the passive skills to be able to use them, so the real benefit is that they don't use AP (action points) and they remain enabled until the end of the battle.
Even if one or more of your characters are downed in a fight, they aren't really killed, just heavily injured. Your heroes' hit points (HP) will not replenish during fights unless you're using a camping kit or pay a ridiculous amount of money to rest at an inn. One other option would be to use the Priest in your party and heal one of your heavily wounded hero, but there's a risk as there's a 3-round cooldown on the heal spell.
The good news is there's no actual turn order for your band of heroes, so you can act with whichever character you want (even use just half of his actions and then switch to another) in whichever order your strategy requires. There's also some good amount of innovation when it comes to combat, as your heroes can interact with various objects within the environment.
For example, the Knight can push an enemy over a ledge with one of his skills, while the Keeper can shoot exploding barrels whenever enemy troops go near them. You can even push enemy troops with your Lancer, Knight or Barbarian in certain formations and then blast them to mittens with your Sorcerer.
That's an interesting approach that allows offers you more alternatives to how you want to handle a fight, even if most of the time you'll be outnumbered on the battlefield. Then, there are various statuses that you can transfer to an enemy, such as poison, bleed, burn and disease. Of course, you can be affected by these statuses too, and this is where all the alchemy stuff that you loot from your enemy's bodies come in handy.
As far as the gear goes, each hero has four slots that you fill in with armor, rings or amulets, which increase some of their stats. Obviously, you can replace their weapons as well, but bear in mind that each piece of gear is meant for a certain class.
The developers have also implemented an interesting system where each hero starts with a certain amount of Willpower points they can use during a fight to gain 3 AP (action points) and 2 Defense. However, when all your Willpower points are depleted from one of your heroes, that hero becomes unpredictable on the battlefield.
I believe combat is one of the stronger aspects of Sword Legacy: Omen, probably due to the fact that you can interact with some objects giving you a better chance against the AI. On the other hand, it also makes the game much easier, so it could be a double-edged sword for some players.
Graphics and sound
Sword Legacy: Omen's visual style is a hit and miss. It heavily draws inspiration from classic animations of Disney movies, but gives them a dark twist prevalent in graphic novels. I do like the approach and I have to commend the designers for the idea of mixing two different art styles and provide a good result.
However, I did find that the lack of voice acting is quite harmful to immersion. The only voice you'll be hearing during a playthrough is that of the narrator, which is quite since I would have expected the art style to go very well with a top-notch voice acting.
Another aspect that was kind of disappointing for me is the soundtrack, which isn't nearly on par with the visuals. Not to mention that you'll hear the same tunes many times during combat scenes, which becomes very boring after a while.
- Nice art style
- Environment interactions offer different strategies to end fights
- Classes and skills variation
- Uninteresting story
- Forgettable characters
- No voice acting
- No camera rotate function
Although it does have an original approach on the Arthurian legends, the story and the characters are forgettable. There's not enough soul put into the narrative, dialogues and characters to make Sword Legacy: Omen really shine. The art style and some innovations added to the combat system don't really make up for what's missing from the other aspects of the game.
I would put Sword Legacy: Omen in the “missed opportunity” type of games since there are many inconsistencies between various parts like visuals, story, and sound. While I loved the idea of going back in time to visit Britain in the early Middle Age, let alone experience the events happening before King Arthur's time, I felt that the journey was pretty dull and uninteresting till near the end.