Rogue Legacy Review

Rogue Legacy 1 Yr Anniversary

Deemed one of the best PC indie games of 2013, Rogue Legacy returned for the Playstation 3, 4, and Vita this past week. Created by Cellar Door Games, Rogue Legacy is a fast-paced genealogical rogue-lite platformer where the player controls the children of each character that they die with (over and over) in an attempt to finally defeat the castle and vanquish the kingslayer, Johannes the Traitor.

What sets Rogue Legacy apart from other platformers and RPG's is that when a player dies, they have the choice of three offspring to pick up the sword of their fallen ancestor. The lineage system, while a cool concept, was poorly realized because it led to a strong imbalance in favor of certain classes. As you unlocked more classes, rather than being rewarded with more diverse options for characters, you felt as though you were punished because it meant that you weren't as likely to roll the class that you wanted (Shinobi), much less the traits.

Which actually brings us to another very good point. Traits. Traits were designed to also enrich the gameplay experience. The issue was that some traits (Alzheimers, Glaucoma, and Vertigo to name a few) were not fun to play and further serves to pigeonhole the player into only characters that are available without these traits.

The enemies and bosses that you encounter are uninspired, being re-skins of previous enemies with similar attack patterns. The difficulty of a new situation is entirely dependent on how many enemies are present rather than increasingly intricate game mechanics. The same can be said for the randomized dungeons, they might be randomized but it is still the same boring dungeon.

When you start the game it still feels fresh due to its initial difficulty but quickly surrenders to becoming a simple grind fest. The cost of items and stats requires that your toon survive long enough to progress through multiple bosses each round or kill every other enemy on the map to effectively upgrade. Once you have completed the game, the only reason to continue playing it is unlocking New Game +/++ and desire for a faster time. Because of this, upgrades becomes rather meaningless with all stat points, after unlocking the Shinobi, being dumped into damage. Even when you do manage to upgrade a few stat points, the results gained from the power up are rarely felt.

That is not to say the game is all bad certainly. The musical score is reminiscent of Castlevania and produces a wonderful old-school feel. The game is also perfect for speedrunners due to the quickness with which you can complete the campaign (fastest time was 13m41s with glitches before they got patched out)  if given a little luck and a fair bit of skill. With the simplicity of the gameplay (revolving almost entirely around a single attack and movement) the controls are smooth and responsive. Many complained about the floaty feel to jumping but I would argue that it actually helps with maneuverability in combat rather than hindering the player.


Gameplay: 3/5
While the controls are flawless, the lineage and trait systems greatly detracted from my enjoyment of the game.

Soundtrack: 5/5
I loved the entire soundtrack. Had a perfect nostalgic feel while still being fresh.

Story: 2/5
Pretty standard high-fantasy fair. I had to go back and read the journals later because I was uninterested in them when running through the castle.

In conclusion, Rogue Legacy (G2A) does some aspects of the core gameplay flawlessly and others it completely misses the mark. I would have to give it 3 hack 'n' slashes out of 5.

So what do you think? Am I spot on or did I miss the mark too? Let me know in the comments below.


About Matt Merlenbach

Matt Merlenbach is the founder of MetaGamr. He loves RPG's and fears no gazebo. Connect with him at the links below:

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