Aarklash Legacy is based on the world of Cyanide's Confrontation. Confrontation is a tactical fantasy miniature tabletop wargame, in which the combatants are represented by metal figures in 28mm scale. The tabletop miniatures company, Rackham, folded in 2010 but the game lived on through various outlets for a while, until liquidation was the final nail in the coffin.
Offering a fantastic and original universe, Cyanide Studios released a game based on Confrontation in 2012, which was met with average scores and was maligned for its lackluster gameplay. Now they are back, offering us Aarklash Legacy.
Aarklash Legacy is described as a tactical adventure game, which is essentially a roleplaying game mixed with tactical combat that you can pause. Each hero has four unique abilities which can be levelled over time down multiple paths that open different styles of combat and tactics.
The game puts you in control of characters from the guild of Wheel Swords, a group of mercenaries that are hired for various tasks. The story starts off with the betrayal of the Wheel Swords and orders to disband with a bounty on their heads. The party of four then have to fight their way to safety with the traditional make-up of warrior, rogue, mage and healer. The game easily introduces you to the feeling and atmosphere and maintains a comfortable balance of lore, story and gameplay.
Confrontation, the original game in 2012, felt clunky and overbearing with the lore, background and world being vast and crammed. Aarklash Legacy has introduced an open, smooth game with super-responsive controls and an easy flow of story and lore.
The game battles felt challenging and relied on awareness of what the enemy was doing, positioning to avoid or block attacks, and timing to keep battles in your favour. The gameplay felt rewarding as I timed my delayed heal, juggled cool downs and taunted mages at the last second to force them to attack my warrior and tank. Certain skills were aimed and directional, causing the occasional heal sent by enemies to be caught by my warriors and even friendly fire.
The battles, targets and UI felt intuitive, with visual cues demonstrating casting times and ranges. The enemies could be read about in detail, revealing what their skills were and allowing you to form a tactic to best counter it.
Items, loot and progression felt poor, with a huge array of items dropping. The items were colour-coded (unlike Confrontation) and would affect the varied amount of stats shown on the character sheet. The items, however, felt poorly thought out and I eventually ignored them entirely.
The skill progression offered a tree with two paths to each of the four skills per character. The skills would change things drastically to offer a varied, tactical gameplay. Would I give my support class a powerful single heal which would also damage an enemy if struck? Or a heal which would pass through every unit healing whoever it touched (enemies included)? Such a variation changed my positioning, tactics and play style dramatically. The skill system was easy and could be changed at any point. I wondered if I would have to change my gameplay and tactics as I encountered varied types of challenges.
The party system would allow four characters to adventure together with the suggested line-up of tank, damage and support. The swapping was easy and could be done on-the-fly between battles.
The map and world was open spaced, with a linear path from A to B. Along the path however were many little routes to reveal mini-bosses with chests of loot and extra enemies to fight.
Aarklash Legacy certainly offers a challenging and interesting gameplay experience and is without a doubt way above its predecessor. What the game, story and end-level play offers remains to be seen, but for now, I’m excited. This is an early version of Aarklash, but it's still apparent that there's a lot of promise in this one.