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Rise of Legions – First Look

Anyone else sad that Smite Rivals never came to be? Well apparently we’re not the only ones. In an age where the gaming industry has started to finally move away from Clash Royale style card battlers, Broken Games has set out to grab the genre and shake things up with their new MOBA inspired Rise of Legions. So how does this new, small-team developed foray into the world of minions and towers stack up in its current state? Let’s look.

I’m Colton for and here’s our first look at Rise of Legions.

On its surface, Rise of Legions is a simple game. You build a deck of about 15 cards, each containing units to shove down the singular lane and into someone else’s life until you knock over their block castles and win. Lurking just beneath the surface, though, is something a little more nuanced.

Like in most MOBAs, Rise of Legions starts you off with a tutorial to explain its myriad resources and card playing systems. Basically, you generate resources over the course of the map that you use to do one of two things: play dudes, which is your main recourse for enemy towers, or creating spawners that periodically push enemies down the lane for you.  Barring that, most of the combat in the game is automatic. I say “most” here because there are summoner spells you’ll be using to help turn the tide of battle in your army’s favor.

I’ve only found the need to use two for my preferred playstyle, which are the A.O.E stun, and the shielding buff to keep my soldiers alive. I prefer to play the White Legion, which focus on powerful soldiers, monks, and archers which you keep alive with strong crowd control and defense. They can overwhelm very quickly by rushing out units as soon as they’re available and buffing them, which suits me quite well.

There are three other legions available for play, with the Green Legion being the one I’ve encountered the most of in my time with the game. They focus on summoning a lot of ranged plants that have limited mobility but can also crop up quickly and deal a bit more damage than Forces of Light archers do.

Anyway, once you’ve destroyed your enemies’ two towers and base, you win. Games don’t last too long, with the longest match I’ve played being just over ten minutes. This is great if you’re looking for something quick to play in a small space of time but makes me think this game might be best suited for mobile platforms.

Visually, Rise of Legions is fantastic, especially when you consider that it was developed by just three people. The character models and art direction are crisp and polished; the cel shaded look is already a damn-sight better than some larger studios could muster and is deserving of your attention.

Playing matches and flinging minions isn’t the only way you’ll spend your time in Rise of Legions. Each faction has a progress tree that grants you access to new cards once you’ve completed certain quest-like objectives. For example, White Legion can unlock new cards by playing a certain number of Monks across any number of matches, or by killing a certain number of enemies who have been blinded by the Light summoner spell. These add a bit more depth to unlocking new stuff that goes beyond just throwing money at the game or grinding for hours which is a huge step in the right direction.

Another common misstep that Broken Games dodges artfully is monetization. The only things you can buy with real world cash are cosmetic, and the rates are fair. The shop is pretty bare-bones right now, so we’ll have to see how that develops over time.

Rise of Legions is a great game, but not a perfect one. Its major flaws come from things that may be beyond the studio’s control right now, though, and it almost feels unfair to mention them, but I need to. At time of writing, the game has about 80 people playing. Now the game is in early access, so that accounts for some of the small population, but I think this is mostly tied to the amount of marketing such a small group can afford to do. I hadn’t even heard of Rise of Legions until my boss Jaime suggested we cover it.

Broken Games have spun this into a positive, too. Despite the small base, matchmaking has always been almost near instant, something that certainly couldn’t be said for larger games like Paladins, where some queues can last as long as 10 minutes despite a much larger player base.

The other major issue I foresee with Rise of Legions is its staying power. It’s fun to play, and it doesn’t take very long at all to start playing proficiently, but there’s very little that makes me want to keep coming back to the game. There’s no hook drawing me back in every time I decide to log out for the day. Until the team can master that, I think the future of the game may be a big question mark. We’ll keep tabs on it as time goes on and check back in later.

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