If you’re one of the lucky ones who’re immune to Runescape’s charms and don’t enjoy wasting away your life for a virtual cape and bragging rights, then don’t leave just yet, I think you’ll be surprised by just how creative and enjoyable Runescape Legends can be.
As someone who can’t help but get a little giddy whenever a new Runescape update is in the works, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Jagex were at it again, but with a different IP this time. I initially assumed that Legends would simply be Hearthstone full of doubling money jokes and free armour trimming. But I’ve been had, this game is nothing like Hearthstone and I’m finding myself enjoying this game a lot more than I thought I would.
The game itself is simple: you are playing a board game, controlling one of the signature characters from the world of Runescape, and must race your opponent through five different stages (chapters) battling each other at the end to see who will stand victorious. Unlike Hearthstone the cards you receive at the start of each round must be placed onto the board to progress your legend’s story. You set down the cards secretly at the start of the round which your legend will then encounter in the order you placed them; destroying monsters will net you some health or gold, and you can spend that gold on support cards to buy weapons or to taunt your opponent into a 1v1 in the wildy.
Each legend has their own individual cards distinct to their own style of play and there’s also a pool of unrestricted cards that can be placed in any of the six legend’s decks. Having to learn what cards to pair together in order to form the best deck brought on horrible flashbacks of all my failed Hearthstone decks, but it wasn’t too difficult to wrap my head around this time.
I find the mage, Ariane, to be a very solid beginner pick as the majority of her base cards (the ones she already starts with) can be formed into a powerful damage-dealing deck that takes only a few minutes to familiar yourself with.
I’ve heard people praise Legends for its aesthetics and I have to agree with them; it’s just so… comfortable. The entire atmosphere of the game is relaxed and calm, the music is even reminiscent to a few of the tracks from the original Runescape. It may not be as upbeat and catchy as Hearthstone’s tavern music, but the soundtrack suits the laid-back, one on one board game aspect. Speaking of, I’m glad that the beta testers weren’t lying when they say it feels like playing an actual board-game: you sit at a table with the game unfolding below you whilst you watch your opponent’s expression sour as you leech even more health from their legend. I feel as though some animation times could be shortened to help the flow of the game, but I do enjoy the authenticity of your legend piece slowly moving and attacking as if it were controlled by a floating hand playing the board game.
I would definitely recommend Legends for the plenty of different mechanics it brings to the table; it’s a breath of fresh air after playing hours upon hours of Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering. That being said, despite of all the innovation it brings, it is still, at heart, a free-to-play trading card game. Paying with money is always going to give a disadvantage to those who want to grind their cards for free instead of paying out the wazoo to get a decent PvP deck. Unless you play the Dungeoneering mode, which is only unlocked at level fifteen, the amount of grinding required to get yourself one booster pack, or one decent diamond card, is a feeling I find synonymous with Jagex games, but that doesn’t mean I like it; it’s a necessary evil, considering its free to play. Apparently Runescape just isn’t raking in enough money for Jagex to add another wing to their solid gold mansion.
Chronicle: Runescape Legends is free to play and available to download on Steam.