Aarklash Legacy: my new shiny mmo break

AarklashLegacy_NellaPeriodically, I need a break from MMO’s so that i can recharge my batteries.  On those occasions, I try and crank up something interesting, like Aarklash Legancy.  I picked up this title during the GOG.com winter sale and have been enjoying myself immensely with this little jewel.

I’m struggling a bit in how to describe it but suffice it to say it has a similar look and feel of Diablo 3 but that’s where the similarities stop.  Another comparison is that the combat has a certain Dragon Age fee to it as it’s a tactical RPG with real time pausing allowing you give commands to your party and react to a changing battle.

Your party is a typical old school group make up of tank, support/dps, and heals.  You start out with 4 members and as you progress in the game, you unlock 4 other members which you can swap out as you like…however you only get to use 4 at any given time. The art and character models are pleasing to look at.  My one gripe is that you can not change the way your characters look.  The armor/clothing/weapons will not change.  For me that’s minor.

How do you make your characters stronger? 2 ways…jewelry and skill trees.  There are 4 jewelry slots that are filled with drops and a limited crafting option available by recycling old gear into an “epic” piece once you’ve hit a recycle quota.  However, you never see this jewelry, it just adds stats to your team.  The far stronger way is advancing up skill trees.  Each character has 4 branches in their respective skill tree.  Each section of any branch cost the same to upgrade, 1 pt…which coincidentally is the same amount you earn for each level gained.

Skill Tree choices

Skill Tree choices

Again, the combat has a very tactical feel in the sense that my pinpoint CC and support skills seem to have a bigger bang than any dps skills.  I quickly felt overwhelmed initially however once I got used to pausing and issuing commands, I began to get more comfortable.  Of course, that’s when the difficulty level goes up and in some fights, adds come out of nowhere forcing you to adapt or die. Making choices in combat is a given, often giving something up in order to get something. For example, one character who is my main healer, uses mana to heal.  The “catch” is that this guy does not generate mana AT ALL, so after a few heals, he’s locked out b/c he’s OOM.  What makes it interesting is that he has a skill that steals life from one of your team members (ideally someone who’s not taking any damage) and transforms that into mana. So, this is viable as long as the member you are leeching from doesn’t start to take damage.

2013-07-2100002I can’t say enough how much i’ve found the gameplay challenging and fun.  There’s always something new around every corner. There’s no “dialing it in and zoning out” with a standard rotation in this game, at least that’s been my experience so far.  Even in some of the simpler encounters, it wasn’t rare to wipe a few times as I tried different tactics until something worked.