Fantasy RPG's on PSVR have been few and far between. I have been crying out for some monster slaying goodness for a while now. I know we have things like Skyrim, but that was a game tweaked for VR and as much as I love it, we need an RPG of that ilk designed specifically for VR. Shadow Legends looks to fill that void, with its fantasy tones, immersive combat and RPG elements.
The story in Shadow Legends is by no means unique. You, the Grandmaster must drive back the undead, enter the shadow realm and save the world from Lord Adaroth. This short tale is no Tolstoy but it does enough to give a bit of weight to your actions and it does give you enough drive to continue on with your quest. It has selectable dialogue littered through the short campaign to add a bit of back story but I felt it added little to the overall experience.
Shadow Legends has a lot of options to cater for all VR players comforts. From both smooth motion control and teleportation, to smooth and snap turning, it is all there and even though every VR game should have these options, they sometimes don't. The developer has also assured me that the 3dRudder will be supported very shortly after launch. I love the 3dRudder and it would suit this game amazingly. I was very pleased with the control options available and I can't wait for a 3dRudder update.
From the get-go, you can tell this game was designed with VR in mind. The world is littered with little things to interact with and manipulate. From sword sharpening and potion making to mining and climbing. There are a lot of activities in the game that make great use of VR. Not only that, they are designed and implemented really well too. Sometimes activities like this can be awkward or irksome in VR but I found everything worked really well and the VR tracking worked great throughout.
Shadow Legends is split into several interactive environments. Each environment has a set of tasks to complete, side activities to perform and runes to find. Luckily these are all tracked in your compendium which can be opened by a simple press of a button. I will say this about Shadow Legends, I loved the UI elements and how everything worked. Nothing was messy, everything worked well and for a VR game, this is excellent.
Things like retrieving weapons from your belt or your back worked like a charm. This may seem like a trivial thing but I have played a massive amount of VR games and this can be implemented poorly. Systems like this can make or break your VR experience, luckily, in Shadow Legends I never once failed to retrieve my sword, reload my gun or grab arrows from the quiver on my back. It all worked extremely well and made the combat very enjoyable.
Combat in VR can also be a stumbling block for developers. Various things like control schemes, comfort and immersion need to be taken into account. I really enjoyed the combat in Shadow Legends though, whether it being sword-fighting using parries and blocks and counter hitting or using staffs and crossbows to attack from afar. It was all designed well, felt good and I really enjoyed each battle I encountered. I do however feel it will be improved with 3dRudder support, especially when fighting ranged enemies and dodging their projectiles.
While you are in combat, after a certain amount of damage, enemies can be dismembered. You can sever heads, arms and even take armour apart. It was a lot of fun seeing the undead heads spinning through the air in slow motion. This paired with realistic sword fights led to some really interesting combat encounters. There are numerous weapons to find and buy too, making each combat encounter different and they never stop being entertaining.
The looting system in Shadow Legends is also pleasant, it has that delightful thing where you are compelled to rifle through peoples drawers and possessions to find some loose coin or a few leftover gems. I also really appreciated bartering with the games few merchants. All prices for items you buy or sell can be negotiated. It is really immersive and tactile to open your inventory and chuck loads of stolen chalices and purloined goods onto the table for trading.
Small upgrades to your stats can also be acquired by saving the souls of your fallen comrades. Small incremental upgrades to your health, attack power and ranged damage will definitely help in the long run. As will upgrading your weapons by either finding new ones or purchasing them throughout the game. There is a bit of space to create a play style to suit you but not a massive amount of wiggle room to create massively different builds.
Graphically Shadow Legends is good for a VR game. Everything is clear, crisp and concise. Nothing gets lost on the low-resolution display and even though the game is visually basic compared to some, its a visual style I liked and relished throughout. The sound design is serviceable. While not being incredibly memorable it is good, it fits the game style and never broke the immersion or felt out of place.
I did have one of those 'wow' moments with the sound design though. In one of the area's you find yourself having to solve riddles to progress. The riddles open doors and I was stood in front of one trying to solve the riddle. The door opened when I said the correct answer. It blew my mind a little and even though it said to say or type the word on the door I did not expect it to be so effective. It caught me a bit off guard, in a very good way.
- Really immersive and tactile
- Great combat and weapon options
- A good loot and bartering system
- Some interesting puzzles
- A nice UI, inventory and quest tracking system
- A tad on the short side
- A quite generic story