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Review

Black Legend takes you to the city-state of Grant, occupied by an alchemical cult but still very prosperous, which you have to infiltrate as a mercenary and liberate together with a resistance movement acting in secret, to gain freedom yourself. You'll scour the battle-scarred streets for weapons and supplies, fulfill missions for local survivo...

Black Legend

  • Greg Burn
  • Jul 03, 2021

Black Legend takes you to the city-state of Grant, occupied by an alchemical cult but still very prosperous, which you have to infiltrate as a mercenary and liberate together with a resistance movement acting in secret, to gain freedom yourself. You'll scour the battle-scarred streets for weapons and supplies, fulfill missions for local survivors, penetrate new neighborhoods and fight marauding cultists who have erected gallows everywhere and strung up inhabitants.

The exploration of the city is done either from a freely adjustable chaser or bird's eye view, in which you directly control the previously created main character, while the entourage roams freely, but is immediately on the spot at every enemy contact. The cultists and other creatures such as wild dogs or sneakers are also on the move in various sized groups but usually patrol very small areas. Their color-coded cones of sight are also manageable so that you can bypass them in part without a fight.

As soon as you step into an enemy's field of view, a checkerboard-like grid is laid over the game environment and a battle is initiated directly on the spot, where you can freely position all party members in a predefined starting area at the beginning. After that, enemies and allies select actions according to a dynamically adapting move sequence bar, which is immediately implemented until one side has been completely wiped out.

Each combat participant has a certain quota of action and movement points that can be used relatively freely. For example, you can move behind an opponent, perform a melee attack, retreat again and finish the turn with a ranged attack. In addition, you can also use equipped objects like healing potions or throwing knives, which don't consume any action points at all.

Furthermore, lines of sight and attack directions, height differences as well as neighboring allies play a role. The highlight of the combat system, however, is alchemical four-juice lore that adds an appropriately colored instability to almost every attack, which can be boosted with like attacks or combined with adjacent ones and subsequently catalyzed into massive damage bonuses. Opposing instabilities, on the other hand, grant no bonuses. Accordingly, it is important to match your party and their combat skills well.

Conclusion

In Black Legend you have to free the cursed harbor city of Grant from the clutches of an alchemical cult as the leader of a small mercenary squad. You explore the occupied quarters, fulfill missions for a resistance movement, and fight classic turn-based battles while unlocking new character classes and abilities. The dark fantasy scenario set in the 17th century seems comparatively unspent with its swords and muskets, the discovery and combination of new classes and skills are motivating, and the battles even offer creative touches thanks to unusual recharging mechanics for alchemical instabilities. Nevertheless, the underlying gameplay is richly stale, the staging unadorned and the technology bumpy. Even orientation, operation, and navigation are tough and cumbersome. However, those who can overlook this will still be just about entertained on a satisfactory level.

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