Shadow of Legend Windows Mobile MMORPG Review
A short review of the cross-platform Shadow of Legend MMORPG.
What is it?
Shadow of Legend is the first cross-platform (free-to-play) MMORPG that allows players to play on one linked account on both Windows PC and Windows Mobile PocketPC/Smartphone Devices.
Yes, that means if you're hours into the game dungeon crawling and your mom or wife nags you to visit the store with them, you can seamlessly log in on your Windows Mobile device and continue playing out of the house. That being said, however, the game itself has to be enticing enough to fit a demand like this.
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the Windows Mobile version is no longer being supported until several bugs and release issues have been fixed. Shadow of Legend will be released again for Windows Mobile devices as soon as the development team has finished tweaking what they need to.
The Windows Client
The Windows Client is still available for download on the official site and several freeware and shareware sites across the internet. Client download times and patching options are similar to other MMO games; if this is your first time downloading the client let it run and go find something to do in the meantime; like baking a cake or making a home-made pizza.
Once the client has finished downloading and patching the game runs similar to any other MMO (who saw that one coming). Users can login to their account stored via the official server and begin playing.
The setup can be a bit hazy, and for users new to the MMORPG realm it is also plagued with unknown errors and troubleshooting issues. At times the server isn't even available for login; and there is no news ticker or information regarding an issue of this kind; so users will never know if the server is down or not.
What is arguably the most important role in MMORPG or RPG gaming in general is the idea of character creation. In an RPG style game, players MUST be rewarded with the option to create and customize fantasy style characters of their own that also retain an appealing aesthetic.
In Shadow of Legend character creation is very similar to the style of Diablo II, or Balder's Gate. You customize a name; and pick from a [short] pre-formatted list of classes. The classes include Combatant, Mage, Monk, and Archer; and they are all based on generic RPG character models. Let's just say, these classes are certainly not original in any shape or form.
The plot involves two rival factions that are warring amongst each other and players must pick a faction and follow quests to advance further.
The Chaos faction includes the Dwarf and Orc races, and the rival Agnes faction includes the Elf and Human races. Depending on the player's choice of faction; the characters created will also be one of the four races.
From a mobile gameplay perspective the overall experience is excellent. The problem here, however, is that the game will mostly be played on the PC; and SOL is very lacking when compared to other PC MMORPG's.
The game follows the basic point and click structure of many 2D RPG and MMORPG games. One mouse button is to move, the other is to interact. On mobile devices there is also an auto-move feature which is very helpful for devices lacking in movement control buttons (touch-screen).
Players can earn customized mounts to travel the world more quickly, and the overall story-line/main quest path is quite long (10-15 hours); meaning it provides enough gameplay on it's own.
The skill tree provides a large scale of options remniscient of Diablo II style gameplay. Players can choose varying skill sets and spell builds (once they have become unlocked) and create a large selection of varying character types; even with only four classes.
There isn't much special to talk about, in the PVE area, that would discern this game from countless others on the market. There are NPCs the player can talk to and interact with, there are simple quests to follow and rewards to earn, and options to level up created characters. All of that remains pretty standard in the genre.
What is worth mentioning is the PVP structured game-play. Thanks to the storyline on rival factions; the PVP touts a large-scale battle system. Fighting other players in the point and click style RPG games has always been fun. Sure the combat is simple; select your spell, or attack, and click on the enemy to commence battle. But it still is very rewarding to triumph over enemy players.
It gets very interesting when there are dozens of other players attacking each other on the battle-field and one would expect total confusion; but the PVP battles actually end up playing out in a very well developed fashion.
There is also a widespread guild system along with a unique guild battle mode which supports a larger amount of players.
Graphics, Sound, and Experience
The graphics, sound and overall experience all fit into one simple classification; inadequate.
The graphics and visual aesthetic of the game is quite deficient; sure some of the animations seem cool, and some of the characters and sprites on screen would look well drawn on paper; but this is modern times. We now have next generation gaming which looks so realistic; it often makes players feel immersed in the game environment. It's hard to transition from a standard like we now have; to the standard that exists in SOL.
Let's be honest, no one expects high definition quality; certainly not from a free to play game. But what I'm simply trying to say is that to grab gamers these days the graphics need to impress, even when they are 2D. Nothing in SOL is overly impressive; some of it isn't even original.
Even the sound is bland. The background music is simple, and hearing the same loops over and over gets annoying. A lot of it doesn't even relate to what is going on on-screen. For instance, during some battles happy go lucky and upbeat music is playing in the background; when the soundtrack should really be crashing and dark; I mean let's face it, no one likes to slaughter their enemies to bouncy pop music (or maybe you do, who knows).
The experience when compared to similar games out there is very deficient. There are so many free to play games out there now; and some of them are quite intriguing. Unfortunately SOL is not one of them.
Because this game can also be played on a mobile device that means it has a chance to fit in another category; the mobile market.
When compared to modern mobile games Shadow of Legend shines; especially when you consider the lack of successful Windows Mobile games. Everything is of a higher standard when you position this MMORPG in the mobile device market. You can't find anything else like it.
The gameplay, even the PVP battles has little to no slowdown on a mobile device; meaning the overall experience is the same no matter what platform it is played on.
But as mentioned before; the Windows Mobile version is currently unavailable for download, tossing this game into the wild PC market where it fails.
I would not recommend this game for the average or hardcore PC MMORPG gamer; there is simply too much lacking here when compared to some of the bigger names in the genre. As far as free-to-play games are concerned, there are better games for free out there as well.
The time it takes to download this game and patch it up is not worth it.
If this does make another debut on the Windows Mobile device market; I would recommend it then and only then for mobile devices. There is nothing like it available on the mobile marketplace; and it truly is fun in a portable form.
Keep in mind this is only a matter of my personal opinion; you are obviously entitled to agree or disagree with me. If you feel you do disagree please explain why in the comments section below.