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Re:Legend Valiantly Goes Beyond Its Fantasy-Laden Farm Simulator Inspirations
By Kaemon Ong|September 6, 2019|0 Comment
Re:Legend isnâ€™t just your run of the mill farming simulator. It aspires to be so much more.
Malaysian games studio Magnus Games Studio released Re:Legend to the public through Steam Early Access as of 30th August. Although the game in its current state is riddled with bugs, donâ€™t let the mixed reviews on Steam sway your decision to give this game a go. The developers have been actively listening to its community and have already released a handful of patch updates based on their feedback.
As someone who has put in numerous hours into games like Stardew Valley, I can tell you that Re:Legend is worth investing in, even in its unfinished state.
Re:Legend is all about being able to tame monsters that will fight by your side, these monsters are cheekily called Magnus.
These monsters of different shapes and sizes are scattered all across the various regions of Ethia; they can be tamed and added to your party. The Magnus that you tame will fight as your companions. What I find really cool is that each of these unique critters are assigned a certain role.
Some Magnus are Berserkers or Tanks, preferring to deal melee damage and soaking enemy attacks while some are Healers or Gunslingers, providing damage and support from range. Having a max of two Magnus in your party at a time really forces the players to carefully consider which beasts they should bring on their adventures. These creatures even have their own stats system which you can customize. More on the stats system later.
Hereâ€™s where Iâ€™ll highlight one jarring negative about Re:Legend -Â you are actually able to evolve your Magnus to even cooler, stronger forms but the game doesnâ€™t really explain that to you. In fact, there are many, MANY gameplay mechanics that are not explained in the monster breeding simulation hybrid game at all.
I later found out through the community Discord that you have to fulfil certain conditions before you can evolve your loyal companions. If I were a casual player, I wouldâ€™ve never found out about that.
However, this could be an intentional feature by the developers to get their community to share and collaborate to figure out the game together. Either that or a complete developer oversight that hopefully gets addressed in the future updates of the game.
As mentioned before, I reckon I had spent actual weeks playing Stardew Valley religiously at one point of my life. I can tell you for certain that Re:Legend doesnâ€™t feel anything like Stardew Valley. Yeah sure, the game revolves around farming crops and interacting with townsfolk but that isnâ€™t the primary focus of the game.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that you shouldnâ€™t make any comparison between the two. Yes, Re:Legend was inspired by those aforementioned farm simulators, but it’s a completely different beast.
In Stardew Valley, farming crops would serve a few purposes, cooking, selling them for profit, and occasionally to win over an NPC. In Re:Legend however, you can go on a long while without any crops at all and make profits through other means. Players are incentivized to farm crops to create food items that give you buffs useful in combat or used to evolve Magnuses, which goes to show how different the tone of this game is.
Movement and combat in Re:Legend feels like playing one of those old PS2 games, and thatâ€™s not necessarily a bad thing. Some might argue that a game released in 2019 should have more advanced movement controls. Here, the somewhat clunky movement and combat feel like it belongs. Hear me out.
Even though the combat system may be simplistic, it gets the job done. You have a couple options of combat styles, melee or ranged. In melee, you can use dual swords or a greatsword while in ranged combat, you would use a magic staff or a bow. Combat is simple and bare-bones; players only need to face an enemy and click to do damage with the occasional use of dodge rolling to avoid getting damaged.
To complement this combat system, Re:Legend has implemented a character stats system. Each time your character levels up, you would receive two stat points. What I find most interesting about this system is that it doesnâ€™t just affect combat but also your ability to do other activities in the game.
Depending on how you want to play your character, in my case I made my character a ranged magic user, so I invested heavily into the Intelligence stat. This would mean that I could do higher magic damage but ALSO increase my fishing power as well, making my character an excellent fisherman.
Another example would be the Luck stat which increases critical chance but also your passive drop rate of items from enemies. The stats system also extends to your magic critters. My Magnus gains five stat points with each level up, which I can then also manually distribute.
Want your Tank Magnus to become an unfaltering meat shield? Invest your points into Endurance and Wisdom for high defence and HP. This system feels balanced and provides a unique experience for every player.
Each player can build their character along with their Magnus differently and result in vastly different styles of gameplay which I find super interesting.
In a game that requires the player to interact with NPCs rather frequently, the NPCs in Re:Legend are rather one-dimensional in nature. When interacting with them, they usually make a comment about how great the weather is or ask generic questions like â€œAre you keeping your weapons in good condition?â€. These interactions feel stiff and awkward.
In Stardew Valley, you feel interconnected relationships between every NPC. A character you’ve been bonding with will express their thoughts on current events or how they feel about another person in the whole town. This really helped to give the players a sense of immersion that allowed them to escape into this game world.
In Re:Legend however, you really donâ€™t get that sense of escapism. On top of this, shops donâ€™t let the player know what time of day that close, leaving the player having to guess and sometimes make wasted trips all the way to the shop just to find that the shopkeeper isnâ€™t there.
Again, this may be intentional to get players to carefully observe and note down the times for themselves but even just a simple sign to inform the player goes a long way.
Overall, the world doesnâ€™t feel lived-in by these NPCs. Currently, there are only a handful of NPCs that donâ€™t quite fill out the massive world space well enough. I would love to see smaller settlements scattered throughout the world space that players can encounter.
Remember how I mentioned that thereâ€™s more than one way to earn your living in Re:Legend? Well, I was talking about how youâ€™re are able to craft gear from items dropped from the Magnus that you defeat. Every item drop has a certain rarity and is used for certain crafting recipes.
So make sure to hoard all those items you find, you might be able to craft a piece of gear that sells for a whole load. These values might get tweaked in the full release but if they remain the same, you can bet that Iâ€™m becoming a full-time blacksmith.
Speaking of crafting, letâ€™s talk about the crafting system. Every time you want to create an item, you need to have the required ingredients, consume 20 points of stamina, and play a simple mini-game.
Sounds simple enough right? These diversions may look simple in nature, but they’re not.
An arrow moves from side to side on a bar and you time it correctly to hit the coloured parts of the bar. Fail to do so three times and you fail the entire crafting process. However, consider this, you need to play this mini-game even when crafting an iron ingot for example, and some gear needs 5 iron ingots to craft it.
Add the crafting process of the gear itself, you have to play this mini-game a total of 6 times. Yep, 6 times. And thatâ€™s not including the times you fail the process.
It’s tedious as all heck. But you can argue that this gives crafting items in this game feel more rewarding and you feel like you worked hard to attain the item, cherishing that item even more. Itâ€™s really a matter of perspective.
One of the many reasons that Stardew Valley was a fan favourite quite instantly is because they could actively change and place items in their farm space, creating their very own idealized versions of their very own farm. Storage chests, furnaces, animal barns, pathways, you name it, you could place it however and wherever your heart desires.
In Re:Legend, donâ€™t get your hopes on that. Yes, you have your very own farm space but thereâ€™s little you can do to change much of the appearance of it. Your house is already fitted with dÃ©cor, a bed, a furnace and a central storage system.
Aside from these few commodities, thereâ€™s not much free will to change any of that. You canâ€™t craft extra storage units; you canâ€™t buy a new painting to hang in your house, none of that. Youâ€™re also limited to a designated plot to plant your crops with no options to expand it.
I suppose in a game that puts more emphasis on adventuring and monster taming as well as the core design of the game landscape, doesnâ€™t give much room for such a gameplay mechanic. I think many players coming into Re:Legend thinking that it would be similar to Stardew Valley have to manage their expectations.
Besides being able to cook and sell fish like a normie, wouldnâ€™t much more love to catch fish and enslave them to illegal underground fish races?
I wasâ€¦ just kidding about the whole illegal underground bit but the fish races are 100% real. There are designated spots hidden away in different parts of the map, with a blackfish swimming near the surface indicating that the player is able to fish there. You canâ€™t just fish in just any body of water, which I suppose makes sense.
Complete a relatively simple fishing mini-game and poof, you got yourself a little fish friend. You can either to keep or release this fishy friend of yours but what youâ€™ll notice is that these fish have their own form of stats, in the form of Speed, Willpower, and Endurance. Each fish has its own unique stat numbers, one will never have the same numbers as the other, despite being the same fish species.
If you choose to keep the fish, you have a few options here. You can cook them into delicious treats for yourself, use them to potentially evolve a Magnus OR chuck them into the pond in your farm. Doing the last option there lets you monitor their condition through the Fishipedia.
As of now, the stats that show on the Fishipedia donâ€™t actually register the actual stats of the fish you throw in the pond but Iâ€™m sure itâ€™ll be fixed soon. This is just more evidence that the developers want to add their own spin on the fishing mechanic from what weâ€™re usually used to.
With any good game, players want a good story. From my several sessions playing the game, Iâ€™ve managed to uncover a good portion of the overarching plot of the game. Spoilers ahead.
You first start the game getting shoved off a cliff right after the character creation screen. Yea, I know, rude. Days later, you wash up on the shores of Vokka Town and youâ€™re found by Papa Pia, a talking penguin fisherman, itâ€™s a fantasy world, just go with it.
You awaken in the town infirmary with little recollection of who you are and are even uncertain of your own name, xXPussy_SlayerXx (if thatâ€™s what you choose to name your character, of course).
Fast forward a couple weeks, one day you enter the town square and the townsfolk are gathered around this huge bright glowing crystal. You are told that this crystal keeps the peace and order in the world and that itâ€™s starting to act up because a spreading â€˜corruptionâ€™ has tainted the Guardians of the Crystals. Itâ€™s up to you to venture out to different regions to confront the Guardians of these regions respectively.
Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve been able to learn so far. These Guardians will serve as boss encounters for the players which they can repeat over and over again daily. Itâ€™s a pretty cool daily boss system if you ask me. These Guardians are relatively tough to take down, youâ€™ll definitely fail if you attempt to take it on alone but thatâ€™s why you have Magnus to fight alongside you. Trust me, sometimes the Magnus does more damage than you do.
As of me writing this, I am currently exploring the second region after Vokka Town, and it is exponentially bigger than the first region. Iâ€™m excited to see how the other regions shape up as the game continues to grow.
Re:Legend shows a lot of promise and the care that the developers put into the artstyle of the game is evident. The graphics are cutesy, the soundtrack is charmingly ranch-like, the world space does really feel like a fantasy world. The main appeal of Re:Legend, the Magnus, range from super adorable to badass. You really feel motivated to, at the risk of copyright, “catch emâ€™ all”.
Despite that, the game still has a lot of growing to do; itâ€™s definitely not perfect in its current bug-riddled Early Access state. Inventory management can be a chore. Loading screens between areas can take a while. Combat can feel clunky and inaccurate at times.
These are all the things Iâ€™m hoping will be ironed out across the numerous patch updates the game will receive in the coming months.
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