Legendary Champions is a “free to play” Chinese-style fantasy mmorpg by USERJOY Technology / Aeria Games. I had no time to check this game in its closed beta stage, but after reading some positive things about it i thought it is worth checking its open beta after all. Every LC ad out there states that it “stands out from the crowd by offering players unique 5v5 PvP gameplay reminiscent of the super-popular Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients or DotA. As players take part in these DotA style matches they can choose from a wide variety of heroes to transform into, heroes that span entirely different eras and time periods, such as Dracula or even King Arthur.” Don’t believe it. There’s nothing close to DotA there, and while i usually spent a lot more time on each game, this one made me want to uninstall it after a few hours at best.
Not that i did expected an A class game from Aeria after all. But, let’s start from the beginning. The game is based on Chinese culture and styling, but, unlike Kingdom Heroes (which happen to use the same setting) it looks like one of faction leaders wanted to spice up things a bit – the player character is an adopted child to one of the faction leaders and has an ability to impersonate one of the great Champions (they made Maid of Orleans to look Chinese, didn’t seen their Beowulf, but i’m actually glad about that). Male characters look a lot like females (and some even more feminine than said females themselves), which seems to upset some players.
When you start Legendary Champions you’re offered to choose one of six different classes, as in most Aeria game’s there’s not much information about each of them in-game. Then you choose gender, face, hairstyle and hair color (lots of colors), then choose a faction and begin playing. In open beta, there’s no tutorial for new players. The graphics you see are of medium quality – this means, characters aren’t that blocky as they could be, but the background is not that shiny and detailed as it could be, either. Overall game looks good enough for 2GB archive, at least, until you move. As in many Asian games, there’s a feature allowing you auto-track NPCs, monsters and places, but in Legendary Champions they went further and made you automatically mount the horse if your destination is far away.
This horse is the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen since the “Quarantine” movie! And indeed the worst animated-in-game-anything. It looks like a sick mutant unleashed from some Resident Evil laboratory, not like anything close to a horse (LC modeler and animator haven’t seen even a picture of a horse, i bet), and it’s animated really horrible, the animation don’t even loops, but wildly twitches instead each time it reaches an cycle’s end. Speaking of animations, there are little to none animations in this game, only characters have a few moves, but they can’t even sit or jump. Also, some actions are a bit lagged because of how some animations must start.
The sound is of the same quality as the graphics are. Music isn’t exactly annoying, but sound effects are – when you’re supposed to kill a hundred of enemies, and each of them makes one same sound each time you hit them. Brrrr, it’s a nightmare. Interface of Legendary Champion at first looks a little confusing, but easy enough to grasp. What i hated, is that by default it zooms and fixes camera on whatever i am activating – NPC i talk to, mailbox i use. There’s an option to switch it off, but it didn’t seem to work for me (options are quite buggy right now). The game also automatically use HP/MP potions, which sometimes good, but if you’re low on potions and would rather wait to heal yourself than spend a potion, you can’t do that.
What i hated most, is how combat handled here. Each time you hit someone or they hit you there’s a lot of bright letters and words flowing from around your head, but it’s okay with me, the worst thing is – to imitate fast-paced combat and action, each time you give or take a hit, the camera jumps, shakes and bounces. It made me feel dizzy and sick after half and hour, and i had to take a break. Can you believe that? I had no problems with Half-Life 2 when many people had nausea playing it, and some Chinese mmorpg finally got me at that.
Now, i must mention DotA here. They say, they have a DotA-style combat. Don’t you believe that, they don’t! Its only for people who might have never played DotA, i can’t even call it a clone since the mechanics that make DotA what it is are completely lacking here. I really don’t want to talk about that more. Now, what about Legendary Champions being “free to play”?
There are two kinds of money: gold and silver. Silver you earn in-game, gold you buy from the cash shop. And since i haven’t been playing this game for any prolonged amount of time, i can’t be 100% sure, but from my experience it looks like Legendary Champions can precisely work as a black hole sucking away your money. Every action (even repairs) and item out there which you can buy with in-game money are also available for cash. Badges that you need to upgrade your Champions are also sold for cash, plus, people on the forums say that Legendary Champions is set to slow player progress after lvl30 (i didn’t went that far to see for myself), so i don’t think someone can play this game without putting a lot of money in.
Now, the last few things i want to add. Does this game need a lot of grinding? Is it buggy? Let’s see. Somewhere around lvl5 you’re shown your first Champion – Lancelot. You are ported to an instance (which gives you half an hour to finish it) with a long map full of cloned mobsters and the objective is to get to the other part of the map and save another Champion. Lancelot is super-cool, so he needs only hit once to kill each of the monsters, but there are several hundreds of them between you and the objective. Just click each of them for auto attack, wait for animation, click next. Boring like hell.
Then, after I’ve spent about ten minutes on it, Lancelot suddenly vanished and left me with my newbie character alone with the hundreds of angry mobs. I think it was a bug, along with several option in the Option menu that didn’t worked too. The game asked a few times after that, if i want to be Lancelot again, i answered yes, but he never came back. The pompous jerk. Anyway, i just ran across the map to its end, getting hit by everything that breathes and drinking HP potions on the way, until I’ve made it to the end. I didn’t even had to kill any of these mobs at all in the end, be it a bug or a game design flow. It was really boring, and due to the repeating glitches meeting other Champions wasn’t fun either.
So, my answer to the question “should i play this game?” – no, i wouldn’t be playing it. There are of course bright things about this game – the graphics are overall not that bad if you shot your horse and don’t look at the animations (would be hard, but still), there are a lot of cool mounts like a giant panda and dinosaur, and the color setting is all bright and shiny, and the Champions idea isn’t that bad (if they ever going to fix it), so there certainly would be people who would like to play – just not me.
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