Rogue Legacy Review

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RL1This game came out of nowhere for me. I saw it one day and was intrigued by the concept as I hadn’t heard anything about it before. Let me start off by saying that I have never liked randomly generated dungeons in games. They’re tedious and annoying 95% of the time. However, this game finally did it right for me for the first time since the Ancient Cave in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals on the Super Nintendo. When a dungeon crawler is done right, it adds hours of replay value and a sense of the unknown. With all the random encounters, regular/fairy treasures, unique and rare enemies, and sub-bosses/bosses, it was just a solid and fun experience. As opposed to other games that have randomly generated dungeons there literally just to extend the game, this game uses the mechanic in a way that actually feels necessary. It does not repeat past mistakes in the genre of simply leaning on this crutch to add hours to the game but rather it uses the mechanic to slowly (or quickly depending on your luck) get you engrossed in the game itself, load you up with opportunities for money and treasure and help you unlock new armor and abilities.

 

I have long missed the Metroid-vania style side scroller games. These days, good ones are few and far between, so Rogue Legacy gets even more points there.  With all the upgrades, runes, and equipment available, you can really make a versatile and unique style of character. Along the same lines, something that really took me by surprise was the family line mechanic; each time you perish, your heir takes your place.  They are partially walking in your footsteps but defining themselves through some subtle similarities yet some different and outright random traits that really change the game.  Sometimes this is for the better, like a blessing or a buff, and sometimes this is for the worse with what seems like a handicap or two. Rogue Legacy is always mixing up how you play and is usually hilarious in terms of game play, making you play in monochrome or upside down, or even just the trait descriptions themselves. Other times, with lesser changes like additional received knock back, higher critical damage or IBS (yes, that is in fact Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The depth and diversity of this game is truly astounding. You don’t expect it at first or even second glance.

 

RL3My first time playing would likely have been laughable if it had been seen by someone else. I took my time and was very careful but inevitably died for the first time, beginning my legacy with a few hundred coins. I bought my first few upgrades and went straight back to it…but then I saw him: Charon the Gate Keeper (asswipe coin pouch plunderer extraordinaire). I knew he and I were going to have some times. Luckily, 50ish coins is a small price to pay, but I knew one day he was going to take me for thousands. Brushing this off, I found myself in a different castle for the first time and found the clown game for the first time; my first random encounter giving me hundreds of coins randomly. These juicy possibilities kept me playing for hours.

 

 

Outside of the actual dungeons where you can actually spend your money, you can upgrade your home castle or ‘Manor’. This makes your castle grow, unlocks character classes, shops, various buffs and raises your general stats. Each time you upgrade something the cost of all the others increases. Whatever you cannot spend on upgrades or the shops the Gate Keeper pilfers from you. Lest you invest hard earned coin into a certain ability that makes him see you with at least some sense of mercy. Unlocking the Blacksmith lets you buy unlocked armor, the Enchantress lets you buy unlocked runes (abilities) and the Architect lets you lock your progress in the dungeons, the latter being extremely useful useful for fighting bosses (especially later)

Speaking of bosses, Rogue Legacy doesn’t disappoint in the area of difficulty. These bosses are tough, but they teach you their patterns so that over the course of a few generations, you’ll become stronger and learn their patterns enough to defeat them. Not to mention they are just really fun and interesting. There are 4 major bosses before you have to take on the final baddie, but 4 is definitely enough. Though not officially sub-bosses, you will also randomly encounter very rare and powerful monsters. These, for me, were essentially boss practice. As a plus here, they’re usually guarding some sort of treasure which is something one simply cannot get enough of in this game. The enemies themselves are pretty diverse. Sure you have your enemies in each area that are essentially the same thing but look different and are stronger, but there are enough unique enemies and general variety to let that slide.

RL4

Some might find this game a bit of a grind, but it honestly never felt like that to me. With the random dungeons constantly supplying me with fresh random treasure goodness, random and rare enemies, stack-able abilities and the occasional trial for a fairy chest, the game felt fresh, kept me feeling challenged, and made me keep playing for hours. I often found myself playing for much longer than I thought I had been playing for.  Never a bad sign.  There certainly is a lot to see, unlock, buy, upgrade, kill and do.  I thoroughly enjoyed the game and it is well worth the price. Rogue Legacy ties together its mechanics in a really seamless manner and it really shows. I’m sure it will become a timeless classic. I would recommend it if you liked any of the side scrolling Castlevania/Slash Em Ups with some RPG and genuinely fun mechanics. It is currently only available on Steam but will reach PS3/4 and Vita in 2014.