Sword Coast Legends is a “new” RPG set in the Forgotten Realms of Dungeons and Dragons fame, which purports to use 5th Edition rules. It was developed by n-Space in collaboration with Digital Extremes, and is licensed by Wizards of the Coast — the makers of Dungeons and Dragons.
I bought 2 copies so I could play D&D with my son in the Forgotten Realms, outside our normal tabletop play, and I feel cheated.
I’m not sure what the fuck the developers were thinking here. SCL is not a “bad game” per se, though — at best — I feel like I am beta testing an alpha version of a Diablo clone. The voice acting is largely well done, though there are some glaring errors and boo-boos. When you arrive at the gates of Lusken, every declaration by guard number two sounds like a question. There is an obvious hanging question mark after every line.
The story is passable, but entirely on rails and impervious to your choices or actions. It works best as a loot mongering dungeon crawl.
I’m disappointed that Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition is tied to Sword Coast Legends at all. There is almost no D&D in this game. I can’t play a bard, can’t multi-class, and my alignment and deity choices are so pointless, the character sheet never even references them beyond character creation. I played a Paladin of Helm — the D&D god of Holy Watchers and Knights, and the game’s chief antagonists, who are also Paladins of Helm, never even noticed. That’s some lazy fucking bullshit.
Worse, the story is so completely on rails that all of my dialog choices are entirely cosmetic. The only difference I can make by role playing my character is in triggering slightly different dialog responses.
I can literally loot “purple” drops through locked doors by positioning myself near a chest from the opposite side of a wall. That kind of shit should have been worked out in the early stages of testing, but somehow made it through to the final release.
Now, the really bad news: The Dungeon Master tools are super limited. Iconic D&D monsters aren’t even included as options when “designing” a dungeon. I am throwing air quotes around the word because creating a dungeon consists of answering a few questions and clicking a “generate” button. You can go back and re-arrange some of the particulars, though. Sometimes those changes even stick.
The “action bar” is often slow or non responsive. Sometimes dragging something off a character sheet to the action bar works, and sometimes it just doesn’t. Consequently, ability or item management is a frustrating pain in the ass.
The sad thing is someone threw a lot of money at this in an effort to create a licensed product with a tie-in to the current Dungeons and Dragons “season.” What they got was a Diablo clone, and frankly — the money would have been better spent creating Neverwinter Nights 3.
There, I said it.
(Never)Winter is NOT coming. And THAT is a damn shame.