Ports! Some see it as a derogatory term with regards to games that are coming to consoles. The idea that games that have been on PC for a while now, are finally coming to console owners is in some way negative. We at Gamestyle aren’t in that camp, we love that many great games, once only available for PC owners are coming to a wider audience. That window between a PC release and console release is also getting shorter.
Rogue Legacy is another Indie that has had success on the PC and is finally making its way to consoles and we are very happy to see it. What you have here is a Roguelike game, that revels in its diffculty. The game is also a platformer that sees you navigate a randomly generated castle trying to reach and defeat a boss in four different environments before tackling a final boss.
Now, you won’t reach any of the bosses for quite some time, as you will die and die often. The mechanic here is that each death is final and rather than lives, you children will carry on the battle for you. They inherit the gold and items you find along the way, which in turn can be used to make them better, as not only do they inherit your goods, but also the attributes and upgrades from their ancestors.
It is an excellent mechanic that is essentially a slight reskin on the usual Roguelike ideas, but one that works very well indeed. As you look back through your family tree, you will get a history of slain ancestors, which will chow you how many previous attempts you have made to make it through the castle.
The gold you find can be spent in various ways, such as upgrading already existing abilities, unlocking new ones, expanding you manor to get further upgrades, buying new armour, etc. One early unlock is the ability to lock down the castle, allowing you to return to it in the state your parent left it in. So if you found a run that was particularly beneficial to you, then you can take it on again. However this comes at a price, as you will only be allowed to keep 60% of the gold that you find.
That is the thing about Rogue Legacy, it works on a fantastic risk vs reward ideal. You can go into a new run completely blind and maybe get some better results, or maybe return to a previous setup but get less from that run. That mechanic is evident in levels too, there are chests dotted around, some require you simply to get to them to open, other have you completing on the spot tasks, such as not receiving any damage on that particular room before reaching the chest, or getting to it in a certain time. Achieve this mini objectives and the chest is yours, fail and it is locked forever (well, until your next death anyhow).
The thing that really impresses about Rogue Legacy is just how fair it feels, especially for a game that is designed around killing you multiple times. The controls are simple, as is the goal and you never once feel like you have been cheated by the game. Sure, you may come up against a run that seems incredibly difficult, but any death you have feels like something you could have done better, whether in that immediate instance, or the way you lost your HP getting to that scenario. Other Roguelikes have felt like they are cheating you to push home a mechanic, but that isn’t the case here at all and Cellar Door Games must be commended for that.
The game is available for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita and runs exceptionally well across all three systems. It has one of the best cross-save systems we have seen to date, based on the fact it is cross-save by default. You load the game up, it checks for a cross-save file update and loads it, without any additional checks needed by you as the user.
This worked well for the most part, such as time you left it maybe half an hour from turning off one version then loading the other. There were the odd occasions where we needed to sync the data from the platform we were leaving, which is done by pressing triangle on the title screen and choosing the option. This takes all of 5 seconds and you have peace of mind when switching instantly.
The other thing that works here, is that you can also load separate profiles in the game on a single PSN account. In this instance we was able to play on one profile, switch that game to the Vita, whilst someone else on the same PSN account loaded a second game profile so they could play on the PS4, at the same time as the original profile was being played on the Vita.
Another thing to note is that each version of the game looks just as good as the other, it meant that there was no minor adjustment needed when switching between each system to get used to the controls. A lot of though has gone in to the cross-platform parts, as it appears clear that the developers wanted people to play it across all three, thus making it as easy as possible.
Rogue Legacy is not a casual game, it is one that requires you to put a lot of time and effort in to get the most from it, accept that you will make little progress early on and need to learn how best to approach certain scenarios, but those who are willing to put the time in, you will be handsomely rewarded.