Mortal Legacies

When I first heard the name “Mortal Legacies” I thought it sounded like someone left out the word “Kombat” on an iPhone port of the series.  I mean, doesn’t Mortal Kombat Legacies sound like a crappy iPhone version of Mortal Kombat?  It does to me.  Something that uses digital controls and plays like shit.  Well, Mortal Legacies isn’t an iPhone version of Mortal Kombat.  It does play like shit though.

Okay, so the term “play like shit” is a bit harsh.  Utterly pointless, clunky, and containing less personality than a sea sponge is probably a better description for Mortal Legacies.  It’s a traditional turn-based RPG, where you play as a dude who has to kill a demon and return the king’s crown to him.  Why?  I don’t know.  Mortal Legacies does a decent job of recreating early 16-bit era graphics, but skimped out on stuff like storyline, characterization, and any sense of urgency to the situation.  Let’s face it, straight-laced RPGs are fucking boring as hell.  The only reason to play them is if they contain an absolute dynamite storyline that can keep you from zoning out while you navigate menus.  The guys at Zeboyd realized this, which is why they took copious amounts of laughing gas when it was time to write the batshit insane scripts for their games, or at least that’s my theory.

Okay, early-early-early 16-Bit era. I’m talking Beta stage here, people.

Mortal Legacies has five characters that join your party, but none of them have any back story, or even dialog beyond an introductory sentence.  Characters in towns typically speak only one fragmented sentence at you.  With no story and no characters, what is the point?  Maybe this was a learning-curve game for the developer, who frequently posts here as Ivatrix.  Cool dude he is.  But he has a long ways to go as a game developer.  Ignoring the lack of narrative, Mortal Legacies has all kinds of mechanical problems.  First of all, it’s a time-honored tradition in RPGs that you press A to talk to someone.  Here, you just walk up to them.  Early on, this created annoying situations where I missed dialog from my mother that I couldn’t repeat.  Maybe I missed something that would give the main protagonist something resembling a personality.  Probably not, at least outside of being a pussy-whipped momma’s boy.

Leveling up is fairly easy in Mortal Legacies.  I was easily able to max out all the stats of my party on normal difficulty in fairly short order.  It helps that you get experience points for completing objectives, like for example, talking to your mother.  You level up for that.  I’m not joking.  If that’s too easy for you, you can fight in random battles.  However, enemies shit out so much XP and Gold that they might as well shove a spigot in their ass and call themselves a tap.

You use gold to buy items, even though enemies hemorrhage those as well.  Chances are you’ll never actually need to buy any potions, so you can save up all your money for weapons and armor.  Equipping them is a bit tricky.  The menus are unintuitive, slow, and clunky, but thankfully the game only lasts a little over an hour so you won’t have to deal with them for too long.  Then again, there really is no reason to play Mortal Legacies.  When I say it has nothing to offer, I’m not being coy.  It literally has nothing to offer.  If this was Ivatrix’s babysteps into game development, bravo for the effort.  It’s too bad he missed the first lesson of RPG creation: have a fucking plot.  Do you know what you call an RPG that doesn’t have a plot?  That’s right: Final Fantasy XIII.

Mortal Legacies was developed by IvatrixGames

80 Microsoft Points said this should have been the ironic theme song of Mortal Legacies in the making of this review. 

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The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

14 Responses to Mortal Legacies

  1. Ouch. Thanks for the review, It was a real eye opener. I think it definitely proves something when I had to Google the word characterization, it’s definitely something that I now see my game was definitely missing. I tried to go for the pokemon style playable characters, where they are all silent and let the others do the talking but now I definitely see some flaws that I blindly ignored such as didn’t simply have one silent character, but five of them. Even pokemon had cut scenes, it’s something I can’t explain away but simply say my game was lacking. As for the mechanics, I tried making life more simple for people but I guess I just handed them the game in a silver platter. I won’t lie when I said yours and others reviews of indies definitely influenced me in those decisions, it seemed like the general consensus was that developers got too good at their game. I took this and made sure the game was child’s play for me on normal, assuming that I must be a lot better than everyone else at it. I was wrong, everyone else found it to be child’s play too.

    I always thought it was a great idea for me to skip all the simple games and jump straight into something bigger but it seems like I definitely bit of more than I could chew. My next game will be a lot more simple, you can count on that.

    Thanks again for the review, I will definitely take this to heart.

    • You know, that might not be a bad idea. Like I said in a previous review, the guys at Atari created a very complex game as the first coin-op video game, and it bombed. Then they created Pong, and kicked off the entire industry. If it’s good for them, it’s good for you and everybody. Good luck Mitch.

  2. Tom Happ says:

    I’ve attempted to make an RPG several times in my life and it was always hard and discouraging work – much more difficult, I think, than making an action game. There is just so much to have to account for – it’s like you have to build a mini MS Windows just to get the bare skeleton of the game working. But since you already have a basic engine, you could actually save some work on the next game by beefing it up and fixing the shortcomings.

    • I think the best advice I could give to anyone interested in making an RPG is “make something you would want to play.” It should be a story that interests you, that you want to tell, with mechanics built around the type of RPG you wish you could play.

      • I think some even better advice is to make something you want to play within your limits. I tried making something I wanted to play, but it was ruined by my lack of experience.

        • Andreas says:

          Lack of experice is overcome by studying and taking your time. Just jot down your obstacles, and start googling. If you cant find your answer, you’ll find that there are alot of very helpful forums where you can get the help you need. Thats what many aspiring developers do, and before you know it, you’ll be able to pull it off!
          If you dont try to go beyond your own limits, you’ll also never push your own knowledge forward.

          • CJ says:

            Just start using a RPG Maker first before you go and make RPGs from scratch using XNA. RPG Maker 2 for the PS2 is a great learning tool, because it helps you understand just HOW MUCH stuff goes into even a mediocre RPG, with a flexible scripting system. And it helps you avoid common pitfalls with scripting too.

            Ivatrix, I can appreciate the effort you put into this game. Making a RPG is hard work and making a good one is impossible!

            • Thanks! If there is one thing I’m proud of about Mortal Legacies it’s how much I learnt when programming it from scratch. I’m confident now that whatever game I decide to make in the future won’t be limited by my lack of knowledge when it comes to programming. As for art and design, I’m going to really try and up my game(no pun intended) in those areas.

  3. mayaterror says:

    Fact: This game contains an extremely large number of graphical assets that come straight from RPG Maker 2003. I’ve used the exact same tiles in some maps that I’ve tooled around with. Perhaps in addition to improving the story, design, & gameplay issues, the developer should also consider creating original artwork for a game that he’s attempting to sell.

  4. GaTechGrad says:

    I played the Mortal Legacies demo and it didn’t seem too bad, but I grew up playing RPGs with very little story like Dragon Warrior (the original for the NES). Less “talking” is better in my opinion. If there’s more than two speech bubbles from one NPC, then I start mashing the skip button.
    I do agree with the review’s statement about lack of urgency. If you look at look at many classic RPGs, most of them threw the protagonist immediately into some sort of situation. In Secret of Mana, you fall down a hole and you’re fighting a boss right off the bat. In Final Fantasy IV, you’re stealing crystals and fighting enemies on an airship. Starting out waking up in your bedroom in your parent’s house isn’t very interesting.
    The game could have used some sort of transition between screens, like when going from inside to outside of a building. This could be as simple as a fade-in/fade-out. Instantly flipping the screen just seems jarring to me. Equipment management was somewhat confusing to me. I could only unequip items from the equipment screen, but I had to go to the inventory screen to equip items. I’m used to selecting an equipment slot on a character, and then the game showing me a selectable list of all of the available equipment I can use in that slot. A simple background graphic for the menus would probably also help. Just a plain white screen seems to give the impression that it’s not quite finished.
    The battle system and controls seemed well done to me. The only thing I would have changed would be putting the run button on B instead of RT.

  5. Pingback: Mortal Legacies Post-Mortem « Ivatrix

  6. Pingback: Monster King « Indie Gamer Chick

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