Raid: Shadow Legends

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Antonis Pavlou
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Raid: Shadow Legends Game Review

Plarium’s game studio developed Raid: Shadow Legends, a mobile RPG that is free to download. The game uses the mechanic where you can spend in-game currency to unlock equipment or “Champions” for play. It appears to be a fairly generic mobile freemium game. Millions have downloaded it and it intrigued me enough to spend a few hours on it to see if it was worth it.

The game’s opening cutscene transitions into the gameplay very well. Raid looks amazing . The hub world of the Bastion is bright and vibrant, while the dungeons that you will be fighting through range from dank sewers to razed cities. The voice acting is excellent, with the introduction cutscene being well delivered and “The Arbitor”, the game’s guide, being voiced appropriately. Raid’s main objective is to upgrade and unlock your Champions. You can also collect artifacts (which act as buffs) that will increase your Champions’ fighting abilities. It’s quite satisfying to unlock Champions. You can make a small investment by selecting “unlock” and waiting for your Champion out of the portal onto the screen. Champions are my favorite part of Raid

The Champions in detail

The Champions are a dazzling display of fantasy. Human warriors, monsters and sorcerers, as well as orcs, elves, undead and other creatures, have the chance to enter the Champion Portal. The orcs are large and intimidating, while the humans sport colorful gambesons, unusual weapons, and the elves are sleek and beautiful. The costumes they wear are often outrageous and make each Champion feel different, even if they share the same costume.

Unfortunately, this is where the positives tend to diminish. Raid Shadow Legends is, as it turns out to be, a pretty standard freemium game. It is a very weak story, relying too heavily on fantasy tropes to stand out. It takes place in a realm known as Teleria, tasking players with besting the Dark Lord Siroth, who has subjugated the realm. You will find Shards on your journey. These are vessels that hold the souls past warriors. That’s all. You’ll get the same story and settings if you substitute any of these names with terms from the generic fantasy dictionary. You’ll find yourself overwhelmed by an overwhelming HUD as soon as you are left to your devices. This is quite common in free games. There are over 15 menu screens available, all scattered around The Bastion, and, coincidentally your phone screen.

The currency

You also have three currencies and several places you can choose from within The Bastion in order to actually play the game. There are annoying microtransactions and abrasive ones. Then there are Raid Shadow Legends microtransactions. You’ll be presented with multiple screens each time you open the game. These screen ads will show you different packs that you can buy with real money. These packs contain the currency mentioned earlier, energy to allow you to continue on missions, as well as Shards to unlock additional Champions. The accompanying microtransaction artwork features various Champions in funny meme poses. It’s a charming touch. But what isn’t charming is how much push you get to visit the store. To get to the menus and to choose the next step of my adventure, I had to clear seven store screens upon entering The Bastion.

Let’s play the game

Once you’ve gone through the usual free game nonsense, it’s time to play the game. Start by choosing your Champions team. The number of enemies you will be facing determines how many you can recruit. Once you have chosen your team, you will be greeted by the opposing force in different versions of the same corridor. It is a very simplified turn-based experience. Final Fantasy and Darkest Dungeon require you to weigh your options before making any decision. You must also consider the class of your team and your items. If necessary, sacrifice one of your own characters to win the encounter. Raid takes away most of this.  

The buffs are usually ineffective for the first few hours. Your best choices are the Champions that do the most damage. Tap the attack button to select it. Next, tap the enemy or enemies you wish to damage or buff. The animation ends, buff or damage numbers appear, then you can repeat the process. The enemy AI can be confusing as all of your enemies will attack one Champion from your team at random until they die. At that point, they turn their attention towards another Champion. After you defeat three enemies, your splash screen is filled with confetti and debris. You can then either continue or upgrade your characters and equipment. Raid Shadow Legends isn’t a bad game. There are tons to collect and a lot of love went into the Champions’ designs and voicework. It is just a bit underwhelming and weighed down by standard free game junk. 

The verdict

Raid: Shadow Legends might not win any awards for its amazing gameplay or user-friendly mechanics, but as long as the endless stream of people will continue downloading the app to unlock the next great Champion, it makes sense to try it. Plarium spends a lot, considering the number of times the phrase “brought you by Shadow Legends” is used across the internet. Raid is a good game. It’s not a unique game. Although I tried it for only a few minutes, I did not really get into the multiplayer. However, if you are interested in these types of free rpg games I highly recommend it.

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