Summoner’s Legion Review
8.5 Overall Score
Gameplay : 8/10
Performance : 10/10
Lots of cards, lots of features, strategic combat
PVE seems extremely easy in the early game at least
This week we checked out Summoner’s Legion from R2 Games, a free to play browser-based trading card game that we already showed you in a First Look video and that follows a more Asian market style TCG format than we typically see with more Western games (Magic the Gathering, Hearthstone, Hex, etc.). Similar to other TCGs players build their deck of troops, 30 cards to a deck, enter battle and then with a combination of random draws they must spend resources to place cards each turn, which come in a range of offensive troops, defensive troops, spells and actions. The ultimate goal is to reduce the enemy Hero to 0 hit points and thereby winning the match, so far it all probably sounds pretty standard, however the difference is in the way the battlefield plays out and how units automatically move and attack each turn.
One of the key differences in comparison to other TCGs is that the battlefield itself is made up of typically two or more rows where players can place down their troops at their end of the battlefield, at the end of their turn the troops will automatically move towards the enemy hero and automatically attack anything that is in their path; either other troops or if there are no defenders then the Hero itself. It does, in part, put a completely different type of strategy to the game that we are used to playing and whilst at first we turned our noses up a little thinking it was going to be a cheap TCG wannabe we actually found it extremely fun (and as much as we rag on R2 Games titles from time to time given the cookie cutter RPGs they publish, we have to say this is probably one of the best titles in their catalogue).
We got a few hours of gameplay under our belt to ensure that we’d unlocked all the features so that we could give them a little more of an extensive play through and it is actually quite feature packed including PVP Arenas (obviously), an extensive PVE Campaign, cooperative PVE Dungeons, Crafting, Card Upgrading and more. It does, from what we can tell, deliver pretty much everything you would want from a TCG these days and has pretty decent graphics that whilst not blowing us away were good enough to not put a black mark against the game.
Starting out with a Warrior deck (players have four different classes to choose from, each with their own unique ability, which can be upgraded, or simply finding new weapons and attacks to perform as your Hero attack) by going through the campaign mode we were able to rack up quite a few extra cards to add into our deck. The mechanics are relatively simple and the actual combat isn’t all that complex, units either deal physical or magical damage, they have melee or ranged attack and then a variation of movement abilities such as being able to move more squares or fly over units. Some troops have special bonuses such as Counter where they will deal damage back to any target in range when they are attacked, Alert which allows the unit to attack enemy units that are adjacent to them, either in front, behind, or on adjacent rows and even diagonally. Dealing with each different type of unit requires a different type of strategy, but with a variety of buffs from spells, abilities or our own Warrior action that could inspire a single unit to increase its attack damage each match is a constant slog trying to cut through the enemy defences to reach the enemy hero.
The PVE Campaign didn’t give us too much of a problem, though each match taking anything between 5 to 10 minutes we didn’t manage to progress any further than the next zone and so we can only imagine that things start to get a little more difficult. Similarly with the Dungeons, once they were opened up we were able to join and either play solo with the AI filling in the other two slots in a 3v1 battle against a Boss. These battles were very fast-paced and very exciting, still turn-based between our side and the Boss when it was our turn it is simply all three Heroes placing their cards at the same time, the first one to place a unit on a square would claim it. We played a few Dungeon games and also played a Co-op with two other players, there was still very little communication and was just a fastest finger first to place your cards, though even with little communication we still seem to work very well as a team. There was for the majority of one of the matches a potential pitfall for my hero, an enemy had managed to push through our defences and get adjacent to my Hero, attacking him each turn as I (nor my companions seemingly) had any units with the Alert traits to attack behind them when placed and my instant damage magic spell just wouldn’t turn up in my drawn cards. Fortunately we managed to push through and kill the Boss about three turns before I would have died, hussah!
Against the AI simply trying to rush them with units and stack them on the same row for the most part seems to work well enough, overwhelming them and keeping your units on a slow push forward seems to work the majority of the time. In the Arena against other players this wasn’t quite the case as, obviously, they have much more strategy and would simply take advantage of your weaker line and so it was a constant back and forth between which of the different rows you would send your troops down and constantly having to balance putting down units to defend yourself as opposed to the more aggressive tactics we used against the AI.
By completing matches and progressing through the PVE campaign we picked up a number of different resources in the various in game features/areas that you unlock as you level up. With the Alchemist we were able to use up Magic Dust to upgrade our cards, depending on the card itself it may upgrade their attack, their hit points or both, each card has its own Magic Dust cost to upgrade; we were also able to recycle any cards that we no longer needed/wanted to create more Magic Dust. Alternatively we could upgrade our weapons in the Blacksmith spending ingots and acquired silver currency that typically increased your Heroes hit points, depending upon the equipped weapon/gear. Combined with a variety of achievement based rewards, logins and other key perks that R2 Games are so fond of there was a wealth of things to do to customise your deck, cards and Hero.
All in all we don’t really have that much that is negative to say about the game, at least not at this stage. The cash shop actually doesn’t look too bad, the VIP feature allows players to get easier access to cards, but from what we could see there is no way to pick a specific card that you wanted, and that’s only good thing. Though players can potentially spend a crap load of money to get a lot of cards it is still random and we managed to a couple of purples from our purchased booster packs and even as a free reward at the end of the Dungeon where you get to flip cards to get an unknown prize. How the game holds up at later levels competitively we are not sure, but for now it definitely has a lot of promise and is well worth trying out.