Sword Coast Legends: The return of the dungeon master

It’s a bit of a crowded market for PC RPGs nowadays. In fact, there’s such a wealth of great stuff that it’s becoming hard to stand out from the pack. What can a dev do to catch the attention of consumers? Well, you can get the license of the granddaddy of all RPGs, Dungeons and Dragons. You could then opt for the Forgotten Realms setting, the host of many beloved campaigns and books not to mention PC classics like Baldur’s Gate.

But maybe that’s still not quite enough. What the game needs is something big, unique, and dynamic, a chance for players to truly experience the same sort of chaos and camaraderie that the best tabletop D&D sessions offer. Can a PC RPG accomplish that? If what we saw of Sword Coast Legends is any indication, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Sword Coast Legends developers n-Space and Digital Extremes are obviously big D&D fans, and for this new title, they’ve partnered closely with Wizards of the Coast to make sure even the smallest details stay true to the setting. Many of the team’s staff members are quite experienced with the setting, having previously worked on the likes of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. That alone should be enough to get you interested, but there’s plenty more.

The game features a robust, fully-voiced single player campaign with a player-customizable party, of which we were shown a slice. Our demo had a team of adventurers searching for the powerful necromancer, the Ashen Priest. The party was to meet a contact within a city whose gates had been locked, and they needed to sneak in through the underground sewers. They fought their way through the underground (with classic pause-and-play style combat), looted a few corpses, fought Dead Rats bandits, chased down our (sadly deceased) contact, and eventually took on a zombie horde. It looked beautiful, it sounded great, and was plenty fun.

But that was nothing compared to what the game offers in multiplayer. What truly makes Sword Coast Legends so exciting is the fact that, for the first time in an RPG like this, you can play as a Dungeon Master and shape the adventure around the players. As the DM, you pick the size, number of floors, and creature set for a dungeon, then proceed to change the flow of the game dynamically using a resource called “threat.” Threat is gained by your interactions with the party, and can be used to alter encounters, spawn monsters, set traps, and more. Giving the party a good challenge but not being a complete jerk rewards the DM with more Threat and special “DM loot” like new monsters to use.

Sword Coast Legends isn’t due out until late this year, but what we saw of the game and the sheer awesome potential of DM mode was more than enough to get us hyped up. If you love classic PC RPGs and have always dreamed of crafting your own adventures, Sword Coast Legends should rank high on your watchlist.

Post a Comment