Released on March 25, 2021, Black Legend is the second game developed by Warcave Studio and the first developed by themselves. It’s an excellent showing of their ability as a studio.
The game’s events follow the protagonist as they seek to gain a royal pardon for past crimes by freeing the city of Grant from the corrupting fog that covers it. The main enemy being a cult that worships it and the strange and corrupted remains of previous heroes. A fate that the protagonist may well share if they cannot succeed in their plan.
The adventure starts with the protagonist, who can be customized with a small selection of hairstyles, arriving just outside the city’s walls. They get thrown into a few fights with the cultists in a basic tutorial. This teaches the player the basics of moving the character, combat and how to select the classes from which abilities are learned.
It also teaches the player about the alchemy system, which is a core element required to make it through the many battles within the game. Once they reach the main safe-house of the resistance, the real game begins.
The gameplay loop consists of being given missions by the various NPCs of the resistance. Once a mission begins, the player has to navigate through the maze that is the city of Grant to the location. There is no map, however, there are plenty of street signs that give the cardinal directions of the various zones, paired with the compass at the top of the screen this will be enough to guide the character to the destination.
Scattered throughout are gates that are opened with a key gained from the NPCs once needed or opened from the opposite side, shortcuts for the return trip back. While traveling, many cultists of various classes and other enemies will block the path. Each one has a red visible cone of aggression. If it touches the principal character, combat will start.
Combat has several layers in Black Legend and can turn against the player. The first element to be aware of is the terrain and the positions of the cultists when a battle starts. At the start of each round, the player is told to arrange the four members of the squad as desired in a small white box that appears on the map. The surrounding zone then becomes the grid for that encounter; catching one or two cultists alone can thus be an immense help. This includes boxes and other elevated surfaces that could help ranged units stay away from the front lines.
The second element is the act of juggling the alchemy system for larger damage later with applying damage or another status effect on that turn. The way it works is each character has a class that has various abilities that often apply stacks of what the game calls Humours. Get a stack of two different colors to combine them; the various enemies will often have a weakness to certain combinations which makes being able to create the resulting catalysts very important. Some items even have additional effects tied to the Humour system.
This loop of traversing the world and the severity of combat gives Black Legend a decent potential for a lot of hours during the first playthrough and even more on consecutive runs.
The sizeable amount of classes to choose from and abilities to unlock lengthen any run if the player wishes to optimize their squad to gain the advantage on the battlefield.
While spending the time to level up the resistance members and unlock the various abilities, the player will spend a lot of time traveling through the world. The player exploring in this manner will experience two things in particular; the visual style of the game and the tone of the lore.
While the visual style is very apparent from the get-go, the lore is important as the characters spend a lot of time in the fog while fighting the cultists. It is through the scattered bits of lore that are gained by talking to NPCs throughout the map that tell how horrifying and desolate the city has become. They can sometimes give hints that will prove useful if the player listens and executes on the knowledge. The grimdark visuals also add to this, the more time that’s spent looking at it, the more that it can be appreciated. This is an element that very well may have happened to the cultists during the transition to the dark side. There’s also a bestiary that gives additional insight into the foes that are encountered. All of it reads well enough.
Black Legend is an excellent showing for Warcave and it would make an excellent addition to a collection of other tactical role-playing games. It can be found here for steam or on the respective stores for Xbox, Playstation or the Switch. Go mad! But please try to avoid blocking any major roads. The desperate resistance will be thankful.
Black Legend delivers on its promise for a gritty and dark tactical RPG. Play it now if you enjoy murdering bloodlust-filled cults.
- Multiple ways to engage in combat
- Intriguing lore
- Grim Dark visual style might not be for everyone
- Occasional nudity may not be for everyone