I wanted to like Rogue Legacy, but I haven’t had much fun with it. At first, I thought that maybe I needed to invest a bit of time into upgrades and it would become fun, kind of like with Prototype, where extra powers make roaming the city a joy. But even after two days straight of buying upgrades and unlocking all the other character classes, I’m still not having fun.
I imagine a meeting at the studio behind this game, and one of the programmers said something like, “You know what the best part of those old NES RPGs was? The endless hours of forced grinding before you could work up the skills to take on the boss.” I wonder why no one said, “Uh, dude, grinding is a chore that most people hate.” But no, apparently a lot of people think grinding is awesome, and so here’s a whole game devoted to grinding one generation of heroes and heroines to death so the next generation will have the money to pay for more stuff. Each time you enter the castle, whatever funds you don’t spend get taken away, so hey, might as well shop between the looting and pillaging, right?
It’s a shame that none of this feels fun to me because the game has a lot of good points that should please me. The controls are simple. There’s a ton of enemy types to keep things from getting stale. (at least initially, that is. I’ll come back to this.) The music is good, and the graphics are crisp and bright.
But combat is a chore no matter what class I play, and no matter what level I reach. Part of it has to do with the number of enemies who shoot through walls and begin attacking long before I ever see them. Part of it is in the wimpy nature of every sword, even after upgrading the damage. There’s no sense of progression in that it takes roughly the same number of swings to kill bad guys no matter what sword I use or how much I upgrade my stats. And the thing is, the cost of upgrades becomes ridiculously expensive pretty quickly. So I might have several runs where I can’t afford to upgrade anything after dying and have to give up my money to Charon, the castle guard, before restarting a new level. I later upgraded one stat so he only took half my gold, but it’s still frustrating and it cost me a shit ton of gold just to upgrade five levels and max that stat out. Continue reading