Aarklash Legacy Preview
Christopher Scott takes a close look at Aarklash Legacy, the latest title from Cyanide Studios.
Cyanide Studios, the team behind the Game of Thrones role-playing game, is set to release a new RPG this September. Titled Aarklash: Legacy, it's an adventure strategy game featuring tactical combat in a corrupted world. Cyanide was kind enough to send a preview build containing the first two to three hours of the game, and I set out to discover if it's a worthwhile challenge.
Aarklash: Legacy is set in an established fantasy universe from the board game Confrontation. In order to pay for their costly war against the Dark Lords of Acheron, the Barons of Alahan bind themselves in contract to the Goldmongers guild. But when the nobles become incapable of paying their debts, the guild sends its armed collectors, the Wheel Swords, to take by force what is owed.
The player begins the game controlling a small squad of four Wheel Swords sent to do just that. Unfortunately for them and their patrons, the Barons view their actions as theft and kidnapping. Soldiers are tasked with violently disbanding the guild, leaving your characters on the run for sanctuary.
It doesn't take long for its setup to hit the ground running with its active pause battle system. Anyone who has played Baldur's Gate or Dragon Age should find it immediately familiar. The isometric camera allows for an easy view of the action. Combat occurs in real time, but can be paused at will to adjust tactics and queue orders.
But Aaarklash: Legacy is a bit more approachable due to intelligent streamlining of its mechanics and tight synergy between party members. Each character specializes in their role of tank, support and damage, or healer, reinforced by having access to only four abilities. If that sounds limiting, it's absolutely not. Their skills are powerful, but cooldowns, costs and the way they function and evolve give rise to a robust combat system.
Knokka, an amalgamation of flesh and metal, is the group's tank. She has a taunt to pull aggro, a self-heal, a limited buff to reduce damage and a devastating magical strike. But while she's capable of standing amidst many foes, her offensive abilities have a certain risk involved. They cost her own health to cast. It's best to keep Wendaroo nearby for her capable healing magic, but her abilities too have unique considerations. Her weapon has to be thrown at an ally to heal them, which enemies can initially intercept. Additionally, Wendaroo's mana pool does not regenerate, requiring her to steal health from allies to convert into MP.