Real-time strategy, roleplaying game and sandbox; Legends of Ellaria tries to be a great many things at the same time. While these features are in the game, it feels like, in an effort to diversify gameplay, Legends of Ellaria is spread too thin. The player takes on the role of a monarch who uses a portal between their home plane and that of Ellaria to give their people a fighting chance. Set upon by countless enemies, it’s up to the player to build a foothold in this new world.
When first starting, the player has the option to go through a tutorial which is highly recommended. Introducing the player to their character’s skill tree and how to perform in combat with blade, bow and spell. After they escape the castle in the tutorial, players will begin the strategic end of the game and learn how to build up their village. Finally, the player will be instructed on the use of units both in character mode and strategic view.
With everything going on in Legends of Ellaria it can be frustrating to deal with the game’s animations. When entering build mode there’s a long animation as the perspective zooms out, and the speed scrolling over the map is frustratingly slow. The game is also full of loading screens and while it’s immersive to be able to enter the buildings of your kingdom, a five-second interruption for a two-room home makes exploring almost not worth the wait.
On the topic of graphics, the textures can be impressive, particularly indoors. The walls of a crypt just outside the player’s village was particularly detailed. Textures outdoors tend to be a little more lackluster, particularly with trees and plants. An option to reduce outdoor foliage would be a big help, as the difference in framerate between indoors and outdoors was as much as 50 frames per second on a mid to high-end PC.
The music isn’t exceptional but it does a good job of setting each location. None of the tracks are particularly memorable or stand out, they simply serve their purpose. The lack of sound effects and choppy ambiance is unnerving, however. A large stone golem can lumber after the player with barely any noise. Also, the player may be outside and hear only the game’s music before a burst of bird and insect noises play for a few seconds before more silence.
The combat in Legends of Ellaria is predictable. Ranged enemies have a clear advantage and are among the most dangerous. However, melee enemies will thrive in numbers where they can surround the player. Tough enemies without ranged attacks and encountered alone can be brought down easily. By simply backpedaling and using the beginning fire spell they may not even get to attack. The leveling system is fun and gives clear bonuses to a player to help them figure out their desired build. Talents within the same tree complement and work with each other to further specialize.
Overall Legends of Ellaria is an ambitious title with a lot of potential. However, while there’s a lot to learn and do, the game feels unpolished. With clunky animations, loading screens and a slow camera it can become tiresome to explore all Legends of Ellaria has to offer.
Legends of Ellaria is available on Steam for $16.99