Call it Baldur’s Gate nostalgia, call it Planescape: Torment elitism, but I’m a sucker for 3D isometric, party-based RPGs, and doubly so for games based in Dungeons and Dragons-inspired campaign settings. Enter Sword Coast Legends, a new Forgotten Realms-based RPG from n-Space and Digital Extremes that is being touted as an evolution of games like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights and draws its inspiration from 5th Edition D&D.
At first glance, Sword Coast Legends’ minimaps, class skills, dialogue options, and user interface certainly connect the dots for what a spiritual successor to the beloved Bioware and Black Isle games should look like. In our GDC 2015 preview, we first got to look at a small portion of the single-player campaign and a dungeon delve through the sewers beneath Luskan, which showed off the game’s rich use of Forgotten Realms lore and tactical combat. Like the single-player RPGs before it, Sword Coast Legends allows you to pause the action to micromanage your party as much as you’d like, and I’m pretty sure I saw some Bless spells, Magic Missiles, Fireballs, and other goodies fly across the screen as the developers ran us through the campaign. The demo also showed off a very prettily realized aboveground Luskan, with classic landmarks that Forgotten Realms buffs will recognize, such as the Cutlass inn.
Perhaps as interesting as the extensive story campaign of Sword Coast Legends is the game’s Dungeon Master component, which essentially allows a DM to create an adventure and modify it in real-time to suit a party of up to four other players. As players move through the dungeon, the Dungeon Master can earn a resource called DM Threat through interacting with them, and then spend this resource to do things like lock doors, spawn traps, create ambushes, and more. Although we didn’t get to test the system for ourselves in our brief demo, it looked very easy to work with, and represents all kinds of opportunities for messing with players on the fly - although the DM can technically demote monsters to even out a fight if necessary. But seriously, what kind of DM would do such a thing?!
In our demo, we were told that the adventure creator will be very accessible and easy to use, giving you the ability to create encounters in minutes. You can create adventures and put them out there for others to play, or DM in real-time, and there will be a rating system so that you can find a DM that matches your playstyle. There definitely seems to be a lot of potential here for your weekly gaming group that just doesn’t seem to be able to get it together to create a fresh new adventure experience every time, as well as an opportunity to find like-minded players on the internets. Furthermore, Sword Coast Legends will support full-fledged campaigns, which the devs will be discussing in the near future.
Sword Coast Legends is slated for a PC launch this year, with six fully customizable classes and five races to start. I think I can speak for the whole MMORPG.com crew in saying that we’re extremely excited to see how this game pans out, so stay tuned for more impressions as we get them!