by Howie Howard
reviewed on PC
A lot Going On At Once
Legends of Ellaria is developed by game dev Larkon Studio over the course of four years. It's being billed as an Adventure / First Person / Real Time Strategy / Role Playing Game / that can also be played in a Sandbox! That's a mouthful just trying to say it never-mind trying to figure out exactly what it is the developers were trying to accomplish. As the old saying goes, “a jack of all trades and master of none.” That's what Legends of Ellaria seems to be trying to do and I'm not so sure doing it all is the best path to be taking as far as computer games go.
Where to begin, where to begin?
When first being assigned to do this review I thought back to the RPG games that I played where I had to gain experience to be able to level up. Check, that's in Legends of Ellaria. I was always drawn to adventure games where the player had to follow a storyline which entailed talking to people and going to various locations while trying to accomplish different tasks. That's here too. Then there's the Real Time Strategy affairs where you have to set up your troops in order to defend or to attack an opponent and on and on. It's all here! Some of those games were memorable experiences and I played them over and over again just to try out different tactics and strategies and to see if there might be different outcomes at the end.
In the beginning of Ellaria there seems to be a lot that needs to be mastered and at times it can be a bit confusing. Luckily there is a good tutorial which helps out. You need to learn how to attack with a sword, cast spells, shoot a bow and arrow, jump, etc. Then the troops that follow you around need to be set up and a whole lot more needs doing. As you move through the game, towns and armies have to be built, non player characters need to be talked to and still more. While doing some of that you need to switch modes and the game switches between RPG, First Person and all of the other modes. Unfortunately, it can make things a bit overly complicated and complicated can be frustrating.
A king needs to look good!
When starting, the first step is to create the player character, which is very well done. After choosing either a male or female you go on to setting their height, build and facial features. It's a lot of fun creating a character’s in-game persona. I made a tall muscular guy with long hair, a black beard and blue eyes. He turned out looking like what we used to call specialist lifters during my weight lifting days when we called them upper body builders. My character's chest and arms looked like the second coming of Hercules supported by long skinny legs. I got a chuckle over that but with clothing he looked fine. After developing the character look you proceed to pick the character class, his attributes and skills. Character classes are pretty much standard fare consisting of various fighter, ranger and magic user choices but the level tree that each class can progress through is very impressive.
What is teleportation like?
After all of the preliminary stuff is over you get transported through a portal from the ancestral homeland to a place called Ellaria. As the storyline goes, the homeland has been destroyed and as the lawful king of one of five clans you need to bring your kingdom back to its former glory in this realm of existence. This is done by exploring, fighting, building and expanding the kingdom in the new realm. Of course this task isn't easy because other clans also opened a portal and they are looking for an artifact called the rift stone too. The rift stone is the source of all magic in the kingdom and it is the source of the king's power. As the game progresses it is discovered that additional and more powerful artifacts are available.
The good, the bad, the ugly
No this isn't an old Clint Eastwood spaghetti western it's a modern day fantasy Adventure / First Person / Real Time... and you... you... know all the rest of that... Nope, my teleprompter didn't break down, I remembered all that on my own! My take on Legends of Ellaria is that the developers might have bitten off more than they can chew so to speak. I think they might have been better served if they had picked one game type and stuck with it. Unfortunately when a master plumber tries to do it all then he oftentimes will turn into a run of the mill just OK handyman. Along the way that's what might have happened to Legends of Ellaria. Trying to do it all can turn a great idea into just an OK computer game. When first learning that Legends of Ellaria was a sandbox game I thought about and hoped for more of a Mount & Blade experience that contained a deeper RPG element.
There's a lot of good in this game and the main positive is the vision that the developers have in their game creation. The concept of wanting to create something that simply has everything is a noble goal. Unfortunately too much of a good thing can sometimes be a detractor when full player immersion should also be a goal.
The graphics are life like and they fit very nicely with the fantasy game setting. However, page loading caused some delays in game play. I was kind of surprised that scene loading took more than a couple of seconds on my higher end gaming machine. When there was fighting going on in the background the frames per second rate slowed down considerably. Audio was OK but it really didn't impact or raise excitement levels much. I found it rather interesting that NPC audio / talk sounded like gibberish, but then it added an amusing lack of understanding of a foreign language element to NPC interaction. This is after all a totally different realm, so maybe language there really is different. However, even my advisors were speaking in a foreign language so I guess voice acting was deemed nonessential. Luckily the text scrolled under the NPC.
The restoration of Ellaria!
You may be wondering if the kingdom that is now called Ellaria was restored? Well, you will have to play yourself to find out. Is LOE a worthwhile endeavor? Yes, I think it is but there are a few detractors which I think the developers will iron out eventually in future updates and versions. My thoughts about Ellaria are that the game has a whole lot of potential but it needs to concentrate on just one genre.
Very good development vision by the developers.
Games like this are better served by sticking with one genre instead of all of them.