The Truth About Sword Coast Legends

The Truth About Sword Coast Legends

Last updated on December 16th, 2016

Sword Coast Legends isn’t D&D. So what? The game, while not what many were hoping for, is just downright fun. I wasn’t going to write a review for this game, but after seeing the mixed reviews all over the internet (which is a shame), I decided that I probably should. Most of these bad reviews are by people who thought the game would be the D&D tabletop on PC and were upset that it wasn’t. Now I’m not too familiar with SCL’s marketing strategy, but if it was advertised that way, I can see how they would be upset. However, the devs had done numerous live streams and answered questions months before the launch of the game, so I can’t see how people didn’t know what they were getting.

Genre: RPG
Developed by: n-Space
Published by: Digital Extremes
Release date: October 20th, 2015
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Reviewed on PC)
Launch Price: 39.99 USD

The game is something of a mix between D&D, Dragon Age and Diablo III. I love all of those games and SCL does a particularly good job mashing them all together into a more accessible D&D with tons and tons of loot (something that I like!), and a Dungeon Master Mode. One of my biggest gripes about D&D games like Neverwinter Nights is that the game felt slow and the upgrades to loot and your character were slow and sometimes sporadic. Some people like that, I don’t particularly and SCL avoids that.

ability_crusader

Each Class has 7 Ability Trees to choose from. Some share a few of the same trees. This is an example of one tree.

In SCL there are so many abilities per Class which makes room for a ton of builds, and you get 3 Ability Points per level so you really feel your character become more powerful as you progress. After a few levels your character build starts to take shape (something I felt took much longer in D&D). The loot upgrades are frequent enough that you avoid the, “Yay! More crap loot…” feeling. Items are uber expensive at vendors so you have something to save up for and the Search and Lockpicking abilities are invaluable. All of this translates into a lot of fun, and while many players are complaining it’s too easy, there is a hard difficulty that ramps up the combat challenge.

Combat reminds me a lot of Dragon Age: Origins. When things get dicey, you pause the game and issue commands to your party and resume (pausing as needed). This isn’t needed all the time, but in the harder fights it’s a necessity. The cooldowns on the Abilities make planning and management essential to success. An interesting contrast happens when you are running a Dungeon Crawl (playing someone’s created Dungeon) in multiplayer, where most of the time the pause button is disabled and the game transitions into MMO like combat. Players will all have their roles (healer, tank, dps, cc), and they will have to manage their cooldowns and work together (just like an MMO) to clear each encounter. My only gripe here is that cooldowns do not refresh after combat, making it so you sometimes have to wait before attempting the next encounter.

Combat is a blast! AI is decent, but does need some managing. Far better than the latest Dragon Age, but not perfect.

Combat is a blast! AI is decent, but does need some managing. Far better than the latest Dragon Age, but not perfect.

The music and setting of the game (The Forgotten Realms) are both fantastic. The graphics, while being average by today’s standards, are still pretty good for the genre. Quests are not overly complicated and flow along nicely, almost breezily which may not please some players. The game isn’t a “deep” RPG in that sense, but I personally find that it is fitting for this game. The combat, loot and gameplay are what really makes this game shine. Creating quests that are more straightforward allows the player to get back to the best parts of the game faster.

The Dungeon Master Mode allows up to 4 players to play against another player who takes the role of Dungeon Master inside a “somewhat” unique dungeon created by a player. I say somewhat because after you’ve played around with the editor for about 3 or 4 hours you start to realize that it is very limiting. That isn’t to say that it isn’t fun to create dungeons, because it is entertaining to play around with the editor. However, where I thought I would create an entire Fextralife campaign, I very shortly realized that I would be better off creating 3 or 4 very good dungeons and leaving it at that. The tools for a massive branching campaign that all links together just simply are not there yet, which is a bit disheartening. However, having experienced a great DM Mode session the other day (on a live stream), you can have an absolute blast with a singular one-off dungeon if you are creative in how you use the tools.

loot

There is tons of loot and lots of choices to make. Not all loot will fit your build so you may have to adapt your build to a particularly good item or a few good items.

What excites me most about this game is that it is coming to console next year. Because the game is 4 player co-op throughout the campaign or dungeon crawl (5 if you have a DM), I really feel like this will appeal to the console market. The game is drop in drop out, so it should be relatively easy to find people to play the campaign with or run a quick dungeon. The game reminds me a lot of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, which is a game I absolutely loved (I still have both titles on original XBOX discs). Why they didn’t make more of that series is, frankly, beyond me. But, SCL is probably the closest thing to that in 15 years, perhaps with more RPG elements in it and a bit less of that “arcade” feeling. I’d wager a hefty sum if this game was released on console first and PC second, you’d see a lot more positive reviews.

Do not believe the negative reviews. The game is definitely worth picking up at it’s price point (39.99 USD) on Steam. There’s simply so much replayability with the mulitplayer elements and large Ability trees that I don’t see how you could play the game for less than a month. Sadly, the negative reviews out there have probably hurt sales and discouraged people who would have otherwise purchased the game, potentially resulting in less people to play multiplayer with.

I’m having a blast playing. Hours fly by when I do. If you’re looking for something to play until Fallout 4, this is it.


Sword Coast Legends Wiki

 

7.5
Summary: A fun trip through the Forgotten Realms. Not the deepest RPG but there are enough classic elements to give that nostalgic feel. Not every feature is perfect but there's a lot to enjoy.
Story & Setting (8.5)
Gameplay (7.5)
Design (7.5)
Replayability (7.5)
Pricepoint (8)
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Senior Editor at Fextralife. I enjoy gaming, playing and watching sports, cooking yummy food, watching a good movie and hanging out with Fex.

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9 comments on “The Truth About Sword Coast Legends”

  1. Avatar Emergence says:

    It’s nice to hear the clear headed counterpoint here. The game isn’t perfect (what game is?) but some of the expectations have been totally unreasonable. If players were expecting a digital toybox to bring their tabletop creations to digital life, then they’re expecting an impossibly complicated piece of technology that just can’t be done. The game can’t read your mind lol. Go play DnD around a table or on Roll20 if that’s the experience you’re looking for.

    During the live stream, I felt (as did others) that it was one of the more entertaining game sessions I had ever seen. It was 3 hours of pure comedic gold and should be an example of what players can expect to experience if they put their preconceptions aside and focus on building a Sword Coast Legends dungeon and not a Dungeons and Dragons tabletop session. Some of the reviews have frankly bordered on outright entitlement. It’s puzzling.

  2. Avatar EldritchImagination says:

    is this and action RPG, turn based, or something like WOW?

  3. Avatar Emergence says:

    It’s a top down action rpg with mmo like gameplay at certain points. It’s not turn based but there is a pause and play feature similar to Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age games where you queue up abilities. But the combat plays out in real time. If you disable pause and play it feels more like an mmo.

  4. Avatar Drascoll says:

    It’s progressive 5e rules with Real Time combat and a option to pause and queue up party commands. Get with the times. How is that different then Baldur’s Gate aside from not using obtuse old fashioned AD&D 2e rules? I also hear its more of a dungeon crawler similar to Temple of Elemental Evil so it a bit light on Story. I mean I’ve never really played much of ToEE but we all know that ToEE was a under appreciated classic. So I don’t quite understand where this claim "its not D&D" comes from? It just seems like a arbitrary line being drawn to exclude it from the pack.

    Granted I haven’t played it and have no intentions on playing it in the first place. I’m busy playing through Wastland 2 and Divinity Original Sin EE is coming out in a few days. I just don’t think I’ll be playing Sword Coast any time soon. I just don’t understand the "not D&D" criticism it looks competent from the game play videos. I mean look you can play as a female dwarven warrior! Do you have a problem with female dwarfs?

    Rule just make Games unnecessarily complected and raises the barrier to entry. We need to cater to the lowest common denominator so that everyone can have fun. I even go so far as to say potentially old D&D Rules and conventions were sexist because only math geeks and nerds cared about statistics and formulas. We all know traditionally women did not like Math because of it is inherently sexist. Any way, Nerds and Geeks are stinky dorito eating nerds and who really likes nerds anyway? I mean whats with the exclusive club mentality? Don’t you want more diversity in Dungeons and Dragons?

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  5. Avatar Fexelea says:

    Did you really just link a little graphic that states that girls getting into a hobby that is supposedly male-driven is "the point at which the hobby is unrecoverable" because they are there not to play the game but to get attention from boys?

    Shame on you for propagating outdated sexist and outright illogical views.

  6. Avatar Drascoll says:

    Pretending its not somewhat true when talking about generalizations and not having a sense of humor, Shame on You. Outliers are the exception to the generalization and their is always exceptions to any rule of thumb. If it don’t apply then let it fly.

    I mean after all I made the greasy nerdy virgin gamer generalization too.

    :P

  7. Avatar Castielle says:

    How about you play it and THEN give your opinion. It’s not traditional D&D. That’s all. I love the game. Was that not clear? Or did you just read the first 5 words and post this?

    Cas

    P.S. It’s fine by me if you just want to play with men. I’m not judging. Just don’t push your "preferences" on us, since we don’t on you.

  8. Avatar Fexelea says:

    It is not "true", and your generalization is based on assumptions, that are particularly harmful as they propagate and idea that women "ruin" videogames and such.

    What kind of illogical nonsense is this? You are acting the same way as the guy who showed up to MY darksouls3 beta stream to tell me to STFU because I’m a girl and therefore I don’t know what I’m talking about. Comments like yours attempt to tell other people that it’s ok to attack girls based on their gender because of outdated, sexist, illogical notions.

  9. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

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    Joking. Sorta. I’m not actually leaving without saying anything.

    People seem to like the singleplayer when they aren’t (rightfully) complaining that the game is overly shallow (because it’s based on overly shallow 5e rules.) What they don’t seem to like is how incredibly limited and shallow the heavily marketed DM mode is. It’s a D&D game with a D&D name and it’s a CRPG, being oversimplified is a pretty big sin with that audience (you know, the type of people most likely to know the kind of power and freedom the term DM implies and thus be dissapointed by not having it?)


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