понеделник, 15 август 2016 г.

Elder Scrolls: Legends - Bethesda gives it a try too

This review should have been done last week and I even said publicly in the Something podcast that I will write it for last week. Problem is that I really struggled with this review. What to say, how to make it useful on what to accent. After all it is just another digital CCG, but then again when I played it I felt it is worth it to tell you about it so...In the end I decided to just do the same I did with some of the previous CCG reviews which I did. I will keep it short and accent on the things which make it different. As in previous reviews games for comparison will be Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering. Here we go...

As you can guess from the title this is Bethesda's card game and it takes place in the Elder Scrolls universe. I was not overly excited when I heard about it as I am not really a fan of Elder Scrolls, but my love for CCG games prevailed and I subscribed for the beta. I will kind of spoil the review but after I played it I actually like it and think it is really good and interesting CCG. 

First ESL have tutorial merged with an interesting and well done, for a CCG, story which will give you not only cards but few whole decks and bunch of crystals to craft cards with if you so desire. In other words - really great way to learn and start the game is to play the story. Always a nice thing to have.

The core gameplay differs from other CCGs too. You still play on board against your opponent (being player or AI) but here the board is separated in two lanes and each can have certain passive effects which affect it. For example most of the times left lane will be normal, while the right will be Shadow lane, in which every minion played cannot be target by another creature for one turn. In the solo campaign you will see other effects too. The two lanes really change things and you will have to constantly think where what to play, to focus one or to try and play on both etc. It takes some time to get used to it, but it makes the game deeper and more strategic. This deep and strategic gameplay gives a more of a Magic feeling to the game. You know I heavier card game. To some degree the rich lore which can be felt from the story and even from the cards contribute also for this "Magic" feeling.

Another interesting innovation is that ESL has two Arena modes - one solo and one versus other players. This again shows some deep understanding of how card games work and how hard is to learn when you start. The solo arena costs the same as the other variant, but you play against AIs which become more and more powerful the more wins you get. In the end you fight a boss AI at the end of the Arena. 

Elder Scrolls: Legends use the same class system as Hearthstone, but here they are races instead. By playing different races you unlock different cards depending on the colours this race use mainly. The big difference is that some cards (marked with green arrow in the top right corner) you can level up when you level up. When you level a card you will get two possible choices and will have to choose one. The differences can range from stats to abilities. Getting one of the two variances of a card does not stop you from getting the other from packs so you can end up with both variants.

And last but by all means not least is probably the most unique mechanic Legends has and that is the runes. When you fight around the portrait of your character you will see blue runes. For every 5 health which you lose one rune breaks and you draw a card. Affected by this are two types of cards - ones which tells if a rune was broken this game somethings happens and the more interesting ones are the ones having the keyword "Prophecy". If you draw a "Prophecy" card from broken rune you may play it immediately for zero mana. 

Speaking about keywords something else which made me feel like playing Magic are the amount of keywords and subtypes. Every race from Elder Scrolls is present in the game and then some more like beasts and certain animals. This opens the possibilities for a lot of decks built around those subtypes and new keywords. 

And while on the subject of deckbuilding there are some things which should be mentioned. ESL's decks are bigger than those in Hearthstone - they can go as far as 70 cards. Also they can contain two colours of cards (should I even mention Magic here?). The colours determine to some degree the style of play the cards tend to be. For example red are aggressive and purple are more control oriented etc. 


I went in a bit more details than I intended but that is why conclusions exist. Elder Scrolls: Legends is a sibling of Magic: The Gathering for players who look for something faster and more casual but at the same time caring the same feeling and depth which MTG have. At the same time it brings a lot of new things to the table as well as some improved mechanics which have stood the test of time. You will find everything you like in a CCG and then some more. Try it, it is free and at the time of this review it should be already in open beta.

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