Developer: EA2D

Platform: Facebook

Release Date: Like a week ago

Content Warning: Blood

Link: http://apps.facebook.com/dragonagelegends

          Wait a second, didn’t I just say I was tired of Facebook games a couple weeks ago? Well, this is the sacrifice I make for you, dear readers. For those who may not be aware, Dragon Age 2 – sequel to BioWare’s extremely popular Dragon Age Origins – was recently released, and EA has released a tie-in Facebook game with the promise of unlocking extra stuff in Dragon Age 2. I should warn you right now, I have never played Dragon Age Origins and have no plans of getting Dragon Age 2, so the bonuses are completely lost on me. However, I still had high hopes for a good game given BioWare’s strong reputation and the fact that I enjoyed Dragon Age Journeys (the flash tie-in game for Origins).

          Legends is a traditional turn-based RPG on Facebook where you create a custom hero and battle your way through hoards of enemies to find out what happened to the son of Viscount Ravi. Each area has a series of battles and events you must go through to reach the next story objective, and in order to proceed you’ll need to compose a party of your friends’ heroes and some NPC heroes for each battle. Along the way, you’ll receive items that you can transfer to your DA2 party, assuming you have that game as well. As you level up, you can progress heroes along several skill trees based on their class as well as build your own castle where workers will make items for you.

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I still prefer my other backyard fortress.
          At first, it reminded me of the flash classic Sonny, which is a good thing. The upgrade system is very good, and the character creation has enough options that you can really make a unique-looking hero, something that even most RPGs can’t boast. Legends definitely has the potential to be a good RPG, but it seems almost like it has a limit on the amount of enjoyment you’re allowed to get out of it before it kicks you out. Being able to summon your friends’ heroes to compose your party is a really cool mechanic that lets them share in your rewards, but you’re only allowed to summon a hero about once every few hours. There are some NPCs that you can summon as well, but it’s nowhere near enough to keep moving at a decent pace. Most of the time you won’t have enough people to summon or health of your own to continue for more than a few battles at a time, but even when you’re doing well there’s a completely unnecessary energy system that limits you from progressing too many spaces without having to wait. By extension, leveling up takes far longer than it should – consider the fact that I’ve been playing this game for a little over a week, checking it several times a day. What level would you expect my character to be? I’d be willing to bet money you guessed higher than level 3.

          But wait, you actually CAN circumvent all of these mechanics and imbalances… with enough of our premium currency of the week, which happens to be crowns. Normally, I don’t have too much of a problem with games asking for money, because that’s how independent developers sustain themselves. But in this case, we’re talking about EA and Bioware – EA being one of the biggest game companies in existence, one of the reasons that independent developers call themselves independent! They’re practically guaranteed to make a fortune on Dragon Age 2, which Legends is advertising for anyway, yet they felt it necessary to jump on the Facebook bandwagon and ask for players to pay to get any actual enjoyment out of the game. There’s just no excuse for it.

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Every time you finish a battle. EVERY TIME.
          As for the art style, it’s decent if a somewhat generic medieval fantasy setting. Like I mentioned earlier, the character customization is one of the game’s better points, offering a wide variety of choices to make yours stand out. One other point the game definitely deserves is that the opening cutscene looks fantastic. However, combat looks pretty generic, with very few enemy character models and extremely generic-looking attacks.

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Hope you like those 3 enemies, because they're about all you'll see.
          One aspect of Legends that deserves particular shame is the sound. For one thing, nearly all attacks – be they axes, swords, maces, magic, or bows – make the same sound. Some attacks have no sound effect at all. However, that wouldn’t even be so bad if the music wasn’t so bland and didn’t have such painfully obvious looping points. It sounds like it would be more at home on a DVD menu than in a video game.

          I don’t usually talk much about performance or glitches in a game because they can usually be fixed down the road and don’t pose much of a problem, but there are a few in Legends that I think deserve pointing out. I’ve had multiple occasions when I’ve been in the middle of playing and gotten a “loading asset” message that blocks out the center of the screen, preventing me from seeing several menu buttons or my front row characters’ health. Sometimes it goes away after a few seconds, and sometimes it doesn’t go away until I refresh making me finish a battle with no idea how much health I have. I also had an occasion where I was trying to upgrade my castle, and it charged me the gold for the upgrade without giving it to me. It was restored on reload, but still sent me into a panic at the time.

          I’m really disappointed with this game. It had just enough going for it that it had a chance to rise above mediocrity, but it’s obvious that there just wasn’t much effort put into anything beyond the opening cutscene and character creation. EA had a chance to draw me into the Dragon Age universe with this game, but instead wasted it on hawking virtual currency that I have no reason to care about. It's not terrible, but compared to the original and unique DA: Journeys, this game just feels phoned in. Unless you're playing Dragon Age 2 and bent on getting everything in it, there are other games that are more worthy of your time.

                                                           Score: 5/10

          This has been the Freeware Fanatic, saying I've yet to see any Dragons or Legends... I call false advertising! Let's hope this isn't the final fantasy. Although, to be fair, the Final Fantasy Facebook game is worse.
 


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    Every week, I bring you the best in free video gaming! Flash games, Facebook apps, free-to-play MMOs and more every Monday!

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