CHRONICLE: RUNESCAPE LEGENDS Review
One of the most common shared experiences for people who play video games or people who are really into RPGs are fond memories of RUNESCAPE. Whether it was gaming the system or griefing n00bs (I felt weird typing that), many people trace their roots back to one of the original MMORPGs. Recently it’s undergone a bit of a renaissance, with updated graphics and an expanded world and lore to fit the times. In the interest of journalistic transparency, I must inform you that I’ve never once played RUNESCAPE, but am only vaguely familiar with its crude OG visuals and UI. So when CHRONICLE: RUNESCAPE LEGENDS came down my pipeline, I was a little concerned. Was I gonna get it? Should I start mapping hotkeys? Do I need my mom’s credit card? Fret not, adventurers; CHRONICLE requires no such parental permission, as it is a free-to-play card game based on the world of Runescape.
In theory, there should be a lot of memories rushing back at you right about now
Like all tabletop games, CHRONICLE sounds incredibly complicated until you’ve played a few rounds. Rounds are very short, lasting 15-20 minutes at a time. The game is played by choosing a Legend to play as, then going through five levels setting up monsters or spells for the player’s legend to encounter. Each of them has beneficial and strategic effects that can assist the player in their goal, which is reducing the opponent’s health to 0. If no one’s died by the end of the game, they fight to the death.
And just like you when you were a kid, you celebrate victory by smashing their figurines
One of my first thoughts about the game was how much the feel and even look reminded me of ARMELLO, the successful indie game released by League of Geeks last year. Both games combine tabletop and card elements in their mechanics to satisfying effect and both games make use of stylized cel-shaded characters that give the world a fantastic look about it. In many ways it’s ARMELLO without dice but set in the world of Runescape.
While initially the game does seem very complicated, it can be quickly picked up by those brand new to it. Additionally, the game offers three tiers of solo play that one can use to hone their skills before they go out into ranked matches. I managed to beat the first two tiers of solo play, which to me says that while strategy is a big part of the game, luck is an even bigger part (this hearkens back to when I won a game of ARMELLO on my first time playing at IndieCade and the dev seemed mildly surprised I won). It’s pretty much like most card games in that what you draw really determines how you’ll play, and what strategy you can set up before your opponent tumbles it like a ton of bricks.
Trust me, this all makes some semblance of sense
CHRONICLE: RUNESCAPE LEGENDS has an addictive nature to it, owing to its quick round turnover and its sort of game-of-chance feel. If you’ve got time/money to burn, there’s always the Dungeoneering mode, which involves one match after the other until you lose 3 times. It’s easy to get the hang of and looks very, very nice. Online matchmaking is fine; you won’t wait that long for a match. It does, unfortunately, have a very strong pay-to-win sensibility, as players can pay money for currency to be used to purchase stronger and better card decks. Cards can be earned through leveling up individual champions or using the currency given out as experience, but it seems much faster to buy your way in as well.
If you’ve got even a passing interest in Runescape or card games, CHRONICLE: RUNESCAPE LEGENDS is worth picking up. It is free, after all, just like Runescape.
CHRONICLE: RUNESCAPE LEGENDS is available for PC.