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Legendary Tales Review: Hard To Hate, Harder To Love

Legendary Tales Review: Hard To Hate, Harder To Love

As a huge fan of Legendary Tales in Early Access, I've been eagerly awaiting its full release for several years now. My excitement bubbled over pretty quickly after the confirmation but now, having spent plenty of time with its final form, I'm deflated.

Things start well. After the tutorial, you find yourself in a ruined town that previously served as your hub in the Early Access version, fighting off a few waves of skeletons. A glass-eyed, unblinking goblin child tells you that the town is in ruins because the previous inhabitants went too far into the dungeons below. It almost treats the EA version like a prequel, which is an incredibly cool concept.

Legendary Tales - The Facts

What is it?: Fantasy action RPG that supports online co-op.
Platforms: PC VR, PSVR 2 (played on PC VR)
Release Date: Out Now
Developer: Urban Wolf Games Inc.
Price: $54.99
Legendary Tales Steam screenshot

You're then thrown into the game's real hub and this world is incredibly linear, albeit with a couple of short dead-ends or loops to explore. Still, the meat of the game lies in the dungeons you'll come across as you go. These are hand-crafted, which is nice, and while they all differ a little in general design, they also follow the same general design principle.

This exploration loop is where one of the game's biggest flaws becomes apparent, and that's the speed. Your pace in Legendary Tales is absolutely glacial compared to other games, like Dungeons of Eternity. You feel like you're crawling. You can go slightly faster by dashing but that costs mana because there's no stamina, and mana doesn't regenerate by default, so you can't rely on this. There is no fix to this issue; you simply have to endure. It's also too dark and though turning up the brightness can help take the edge off of that, that's not really a proper fix.

Legendary Tales is not really about exploration, though; it's about battles. Combat is physics-driven, and it's done quite well. Pulling off a parry, whether with a sword, wand, shield, or your bare hands, feels satisfying when it works, but some of the hitboxes feel slightly wonky. The same is true in some dungeons, too, where invisible walls stop you from sniping enemies with your spells or arrows.

As you fight, you level up. The max level is 50, and you gain stats based on what you use. So, if you use strength weapons, you'll gain strength, and so on. While you can use hybrid builds, many late-game fights demand a min-maxing strategy to maximize a desirable ability. You also get skill points for unlocking skills, including magic spells, weapon skills, or passives.

This system is particularly fun. I enjoyed fighting things, levelling up, gaining skills, and feeling your power and options grow. It's a truly engaging loop and a little deeper than other similar games on the market. The only trouble is, not every strategy feels viable as you come up against some enemies and bosses. Far worse, you can't 'respec' your character. Changing your skills would also be nice because there are weapon-specific ones, and you can't guarantee you'll find a truly great weapon at any given point.

That's a pretty glaring flaw. It wouldn't be an issue if you could definitely get through the game with any build, which I'm sure it's possible if your reactions are good enough and your patience is infinite, though it's not something most people will manage.

Legendary Tales Steam screenshot

The first big hurdle is a first dungeon boss called Lanista the Damned, who encapsulates one of the big issues with the difficulty scaling in Legendary Tales. While enemies do get harder, the biggest change is simply that enemies both hit harder and have more health. Their health vastly outstrips your ability to do damage, which makes a boss like Lanista, who has over 1,200 health in single-player and more in co-op, into a marathon.

If you're a mage, you could theoretically parry everything with wands, but you'll be doing a poxy five or six damage with your wands on each hit back, which is 200 hits or so to finish the fight. Sure, your spells do more damage, but you'll struggle to use those as being too far away from the boss seems to spawn in a mini-boss with about half the health. That's not fun. The challenge feels great to overcome, sure, but the difficulty isn't well-designed.

This marrs combat as a whole. If you've watched the trailer, you've seen that you can grab, punch, pommel smash, hit with a bow, or just throw weapons at things. In theory, this is a really good combat system, and again, it does feel good when it works. Initially, it was also slightly let down by a new control option where your grip was toggled, though that's thankfully been patched post-launch.

Comfort

Legendary Tales uses artificial stick-based locomotion and teleportation movement, providing camera options for snap and smooth turning. You can select your dominant hand, while also accounting for hand offset and holster adjustments.

Legendary Tales Steam screenshot

That takes away from the theoretical joy of throwing a spear at something, but there's also something occasionally off about the tracking too. A light push forward while casting should send the spell forwards, but instead sends your spell into the ceiling more often than not. Many of Legendary Tales' best features just have these little edges that dig into you as you're trying to enjoy it.

It's still a fun experience, and one of the places it really does well outside of general combat is in its legendary loot. You can find a Captain America shield, Mjolnir, wands that change your teleports, a helmet that slows down enemies when you get hurt and more. All good things, though reaching them is largely luck until the end of the game. There are some weird issues with ping and latency in multiplayer at the moment too, but those will likely be ironed out.

Legendary Tales Review - Final Thoughts

I want to love Legendary Tales but I don't know that I'd recommend it. The biggest hurdle it fails to clear is that it's come out in a post-Dungeons of Eternity world. Frankly, the combat feels better in Dungeons of Eternity. Things are more fluid, hitboxes are sweeter, and it's just a smoother experience. I like the RPG systems of Legendary Tales more and the legendary items substantially more, but you have to grit your teeth to enjoy it all. Mostly, though, I think I just miss the Early Access version of this game, and that's a weird place to be.


UploadVR uses a 5-Star rating system for our game reviews – you can read a breakdown of each star rating in our review guidelines.

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