Sword Legacy: Omen
Cast into the role of Uther, players must fight against evil forces gathering against them in "Broken Britannia." In this turn-based strategy game, players will move, explore, and fight with a party of up to 4 characters as they try to piece together who is behind the attacks across the land.
-Turn-based party combat
-Tactical decisions that can aid or hinder the outcome
-Light RPG elements
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Processor: Intel i5-760 @ 2.8GHz / AMD Ryzen 5 1400
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 650 / AMD Radeon HD 6850
Storage: 2 GB available space
August 13th, 2018
Developer: Firecast Studio
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Since it was being published by Team17, I had a good feeling about Sword Legacy: Omen. A turn-based combat game loosely strung around the Arthurian Legend, published by the same group behind Worms, The Escapists, and Overcooked? It sounds like a great combination. Unfortunately, a game’s pedigree does not always pan out, and I found myself glad when my time in “Broken Britannia” was over.
Spiritual Content: No mention of Jesus, but different bodies of believers who follow different deities. A priest of the order of Terah joins your party, and can come on missions if the player selects them. He talks about his faith and how he came to see the light.
Language: Considerably profane language for a King Arthur story. The biggest offender is the rogue Gwen, who often speaks a F*** or S*** word in combat. While it was usually fitting for what she was doing—like when she shouted “get out of my f***ing way!” when I used her dash skill—it felt out of place overall. There is no rule saying knights or thieves cannot swear, it is simply not something you often see in the same sentence as King Arthur.
Violence: Attacks result in spurts of blood, and overkills or criticals can result in body parts being lost. Uther can lop off the top of an enemy’s head in one of his finishing moves, giving you a look at the dead NPC’s brains. Some finishing moves result in blood splattering all over the combat area, often in ways that defy physics.
I enjoy a good turn-based combat game, so I was looking forward to playing Sword Legacy: Omen. While at first glance it seems like an obviously good game, I found myself getting bored as I led Uther and his party through various dungeons, cities, castles and ruins. This re-imagining of the Arthurian legend seems to only have the claim of “It’s King Arthur! But darker!” going for it. The game’s world feels dark and oppressive, much like Darkest Dungeon or Sunless Sea. Those games have new, different mechanics and deep lore to keep players engaged, but the simplicity of my combat encounters in SL:O came down to toe-to-toe fights where I had to hack the enemies down first, draining the fun and making it a chore.
Occasionally, there are chances to be tactical or to bottleneck enemies, but to my surprise, there are no ranged-combat options provided early in the game. Near the five hour mark, I had a knight, rogue, pikeman, mage, priest, and barbarian, but no archer or ranged fighter. Merlin’s best skill early on is teleporting. You can unlock new skills by spending renown points, which you get by finding lore, killing enemies or completing objectives. It does not feel like you acquire points fast enough though, as I was only able to unlock a couple skills for my frequent party members.
Sword Legacy: Omen‘s art direction was confusing to me. The characters, especially in cutscenes and menus, look like drawings from 80’s Disney cartoons like Sword in the Stone or 101 Dalmatians. That in itself was not weird, but combine it with the spurts of gore and bloody finishers—it does not quite click. To add to the strangeness, everyone is a cliche representation of their inner self. Uther is brooding and grumpy, always glaring and intense. The squire pikeman is unsure of himself; he’s skinny and timid. The thief has a lot of makeup with the back story of a street urchin. And the priest wears thick glasses. I’m all for leaning on conventions to ground a player’s expectations, but there’s a point where you have to mix in a little originality when it comes to character design. In addition, the game uses three different methods to deliver exposition to the player: in cutscenes that appear on yellowed pages, in party conversations that use their character from the skills page, and conversations in-game that appear like comic book chat bubbles. I captured some examples below.
Another small frustration was the map overlay screen. At first, it seemed like the environment was going to become more open, but it only served to show the player where they were headed next and if there were any random encounters along the way. Random encounters could be anything from more backstory of party members to a small skirmish with wolves or bandits. The skirmishes were easy, I only saw 4 enemies at one time, which is nothing compared to some of the numbers you fight towards the end of Act I.
I did run into a couple small bugs, but nothing game-breaking. Sometimes, it would seem like the game did not register that I was clicking, especially on the map screen. I thought I was stuck for a few minutes until I clicked again where I once had and the icon for my party moved to the next mission. This happened more than once, even after I had lowered my settings to see if it was a problem with my graphics. I also saw a glitch with finishing moves. Occasionally when blood would splatter everywhere, it would shoot up a column or crate vertically, as if the texture was just grabbing onto whatever was nearby.
Overall, Sword Legacy: Omen is mediocre. If you are willing to put up with some of the fiddly bits or you love the idea of a dark, brooding take on King Arthur, you could have fun with it. For everyone else, there are a lot better turn-based games that do not rely on just one hook.
Review code generously provided by Team17.
+ Solid strategy
+ Hits the ground running
+ Unique look and style
- Nothing new here
- Blood does not splatter this way
- Game seemed sluggish, even on low resolution
- Uninspired, cliched characters