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Games of 2013: Rogue Legacy03:38 AM -- Wed January 22, 2014

Rogue Legacy

Oops, I was so busying playing Marvel Heroes, I forgot to tell you about the other games I played last year. Rogue Legacy is a Castlevania-like. It's a side-scrolling action platformer where you level up and kill stuff and try to find the bosses and slay them. The big twist this time around is reflected in the game's name: Rogue is trying to tell you that when you die, it's permanent (also that the game world is randomly generated), while Legacy is there to tell you that it's okay that you are dead - your children will carry on in your name!

The legacy feature is actually fairly dumb to me - theoretically, the 3 characters you get to choose from each time are the 3 children of the last character you played, but first of all, why does every person in this family always have exactly 3 children, and second of all, why are they completely random instead of related in some way to their parent? What's fun is that they have random traits, including things like Near-Sighted (the edges of the screen are blurred, only the center is clear) or Insane (occasionally you'll encounter enemies that you are imagining!), so it's fun stuff, and often a very interesting choice to be making, but I'm just not sure how "legacy" it is.

But there is one big thing that is very legacy about it, and it's the way you progress in the game: your family owns a giant castle, and you use the gold you manage to get out (not sure how your people who die in the middle of the dungeon get their cash out, but they seem to send it by Western Union in their death throes) to upgrade the castle, which upgrades all your guys in various ways, or unlocks new character classes or special abilities. It's pretty enjoyable to upgrade this, knowing that even though you begin each run from scratch, you're a little more powerful each time anyway. It's also fun to find blueprints for new gear and runes in the dungeon which you can apply to your descendants.

The progress is very well balanced here, where I can push forward a little bit more each time, and gradually upgrade. Eventually you beat a boss, and that boss remains dead for good, which is a pretty big let-down actually, since the bosses give huge piles of money when killed, and it'd be quite satisfying to re-slay them with your more powerful descendants.

But this game is very hard. You die a lot. It always feels pretty well-earned, and even if it doesn't, no big deal - you get to go again, and probably buy an upgrade first! It doesn't feel frustrating despite the challenge.

So I highly recommend Rogue Legacy. Just a great game for people like me who love Castlevania (Symphony of the Night, that is)! Which by the way this game is full of homages to - from the skeletons that toss bones in an arc to the really annoying wolves.
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