Aarklash Legacy is a highly tactical RPG set in the world of Aarklash and based on the desktop miniature game Confrontation. While not a direct sequel by any means, it is set in the same world as the handily named Confrontation, a far inferior game, also from Cyanide Studios.
You play as a group of Wheelswords, the debt collectors of the Gold Mongers guild, the group that funds the armies of the ever warring races in Aarklash. Your initial 4 person group is quite the motley lot, a part mechanical lizard with self confidence issues, a dog-monster, a tiny rat-like man and the standard fantasy trope of a sorceress in skin tight revealing clothing. While the player doesn't have a customisable avatar of their own, it becomes clearer as the story goes that one of the starting four serves as the POV character. Over the course of the game you'll meet 4 more characters that can be swapped in at any time for a maximum of 4 in the party. All the characters are interesting and frequently talk among themselves and the game itself is fully voice acted very well.
Where the game really shines is the isometric real-time with pause combat. The standard MMO trinity applies here, with a tank to hold and collect as many mobs up as possible and hopefully orient them away from the squishier party members and 3 support or damage dealers. Each character is limited to only four abilities and an auto-attack. While this might seem limiting at first all the abilities can be significantly changed as you level up and with the ability to respec at will you can tailor your group to each individual fight. Positioning is vitally important here, many of your parties abilities are line of sight. There is nothing more annoying than firing off a healing disk and having an enemy walk in between and get healed instead!
All enemies and bosses have there own set of abilities that can be viewed at any time and you should ignore these at your peril. Enemies come in many types, tanks who self-heal and can resurrect themselves, healers, debuffers, melee, ranges, summoners and many more. While bosses come with own set of difficulties, many have insta-kill abilities like stay too close and you die, stay too far away and you die or don't stand here and you die. You'll die a lot but all these abilities are telegraphed well! Buffing and debuffing also plays a vital role in the game. A favourite trick of enemy casters is to immediately turn off your group members most vital abilities but luckily some of your other characters are able to strip debuffs off one member and apply them to themselves. Enemies will also constantly control your characters and many fights do degenerate into battling a series of buffs and debuffs with the first few seconds of any fight being the most important. Though one criticism might be once you break the back of an enemy group, it can become a bit of a grind to finish a group off with no real threat.
As opposed to the combat this is not a gear heavy game though, each character only has 4 slots, relic, ring, necklace and earring and you can't change armor or weapons or make any visual change to the characters. There are also no merchants in the game, just a recycling mechanic where once you put in enough items in you'll get a high quality item back.
The game also contains a heavy puzzle element outside of the combat. From the standard lights out puzzles, though on a grand scale, to match the floaty magic symbol with various parts made up from lever pulls to guide the light through a maze. At times the number of puzzles in a row can overwhelm, you can bypass some of them, but you might miss out on some of the best loot!
This game is very demanding of the player, asking of exact positioning, use of all your various abilities and strategies and punishing of mistakes. The difficulty is also set very high, it's not easy, medium, hard, it's more on the Super Hexagon Scale, hard, harder and harderest! Though I think the latest patch may have toned the difficulty down a little bit. But, don't let that scare you off as you'll miss one of the best tactical RPGs in years!