"One of the things that we're doing with Arcane Legends is we're taking a lot of stuff that we've done with all of our titles, the things that we've learned throughout the course of development of the other three games," Spacetime Studios design director Eli Holding tells us as his warrior lays waste to some mine-dwelling goblins. "We've taken little bits and pieces from everything, the stuff that we really liked from Pocket Legends, Star Legends and Dark Legends."
The similarities found in Arcane Legends, the developer's upcoming fourth game in its cross-platform, mobile-focused massively multiplayer game (MMO) franchise, to its previous works--namely Pocket Legends--are undeniable. For one, it's a fantasy role-playing game with three character classes. There's the Warrior (a brawny, great sword-wielding dude), the Rogue (a lithe lady with long swords) and the Sorcerer (a tiny, blue ... thing that Holding dubs an "inter-dimensional being").
Arcane Legends wears these similarities and more on its sleeve. The point of this fourth iteration of the Legends series is to take everything that worked in the previous three games and make leftovers with them, scrumptious-looking leftovers. Take the combat system, for instance. As players go about their monster-bashing, loot-lusting adventures in the world of Arlor, they'll be well equipped with action-oriented combat tools à la Dark Legends, the developer's vampire-themed mobile MMO.
To show off this admittedly punchy combat, Holding gives a tour of one of the first dungeons in Arcane Legends, a mineshaft overrun by nasty goblins. As his warrior becomes surrounded with baddies in a battle with a goblin archer, One-Eye, (the boss character to this particular dungeon), he unleashes a charged-up special attack that pulverizes three monsters in a single blow. Then, Holding hacks into a barrel near a gang of enemies with the expected result: goblins go boom.
It's these set piece moments of combat borrowed from Dark Legends, combined with the real-time, connected play established in Pocket Legends, that Holding hopes will help Arcane Legends stand out. Well, that and some new features, like a fast travel system through which players can travel to previously conquered dungeons in an instant and improved matchmaking. (This points to the fact that, while Arcane Legends is playable on both mobile and desktop devices, it's still very much a mobile game.)
Of course, now-staples of the Legends franchise will serve to round out the feature set in Arcane Legends, like guild halls for friends to hang out in private between dungeon runs and player versus player arenas. But ultimately, it seems as if the only truly new ideas in Arcane Legends are its setting, characters and lore. That might not be a bad thing. If anything, this looks to be a refinement of the winning formula Spacetime Studios brewed up way back in 2010. Arcane Legends is due out on iOS, Android and the Google Chrome Web Store for free this August.
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