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  • Writer's pictureOle Gamer Joe

Relic Hunters Legend Review (Early Access): The New Addiction Among Looter Shooter Games?

Relic Hunters Legend Review (Early Access)



Developer: Rogue Snail

Publisher: Gearbox Publishing

Relic Hunters Legend may look all cute and accessible on the outside, but on the inside lies a fairly complex shooter with quite the variety of systems and mechanics. This is further highlighted by the fact that the game begins with an hour long tutorial, which might sound a bit off-putting, but also seems necessary. The game begins by interrogating the player's psyche a bit, asking questions ranging from your gender to your personality. This will award you with something akin to a tarot card, making this come off as something like a personality litmus test. I'm not entirely sure how this effects the gameplay, but I can say both myself and my co-op partner did ultimately receive different signs.

From here we wake up in a classroom and take control of a person referred to as Seven. We don't know their real name as they appear to be suffering from amnesia. And then we spend the next 40 plus minutes trying to learn all of the intricacies of this game's systems. There is a surprising amount of story in Relic Hunters Legend. Long story short you join a band of rebels known as the Relic Hunters who are attempting to restore time itself, which was somehow stolen by the game's villain Duke Ducan. The Hunters search for, well, relics (obviously) of the past, to restore the memory of what has truly come to pass. The story is somewhat entertaining with some great cut-scenes littered throughout and shockingly good voice performances, though the game is not fully voiced. Many times, this felt like watching an old school Cartoon Network show. This is not a deep plot, but the characters are charming enough, and it sets the game up well for multiple adventures. Unfortunately, the story-based levels cannot be played in co-op, which is not only a mistake in my opinion, but a bit annoying. The game goes so far as to announce that you've unlocked co-op after the extensive tutorial, only to reveal shortly after that story segments can't be played together. It's just a bit of a bummer.

character holding a gun
Combat is pretty easy to learn and a blast with friends!

To explain every little element of Relic Hunters Legend's gameplay would take an eternity, so I'll try to keep this as clean as possible. Even though there is a massive tutorial, things can get convoluted and confusing in a hurry. You start out with a memories system. Memories are consumed and allow you to gain XP. It's a bit of a mess, as you then have to go to an inventory screen somewhat hidden in the UI, and that's just one factor. You'll also have relics to craft, weapons and equipment to upgrade, and don't even get me started on the recycle system. Then there are feats accomplished the more you play. This is an entirely different menu and must be cashed in for each character individually to increase your level which allows you to wear better equipment. We aren't done yet; we also have skill points to contend with. These attribute and skills points are dispersed across characters to unlock new attacks and abilities in combat.

In my opinion, there are just way too many systems to keep track of and it gets a bit frustrating, especially when you have to do this for every individual character. If you are someone who enjoys digging through menus you might not be as bothered as I was, but I do feel like the overall UI can be improved. Hey, it is early access after all. Outside of that you can track quests which works relatively fine, and then off you go to various areas scattered across the world either solo or with friends.

As I mentioned before, it takes a long time to even get to multiplayer, and the story mode sections didn't seem to allow for it at all. This meant me and SilentSigns were relegated to selecting specific level types to tackle together. These range from open exploration, to surviving waves of enemies. The game is so much more fun with friends, so it's definitely a shame that things still feel a bit limited.

world map
Players will have plenty to do even in early access

The core combat in Relic Hunters Legend is honestly not half bad. You can select two different styles whether you want to make this a twin stick shooter or not and have your abilities easily accessible with the bumpers should you be playing on a controller. Aiming, healing and shooting all felt reasonably comfortable, and as you probably figured out, you'll have no shortage of loot to collect and equip. Relic Hunters Legend will be a grind, and even in early access I found no shortage of things to do. All told despite the ridiculous number of systems and limits to story mode, Relic Hunters Legend does offer some undeniable fun in the gameplay department. It's interesting that the combat is relatively straightforward and was my favorite aspect of the game, while the menus and leveling systems are so messy for no real reason. Even bouncing through different levels via the game's world hub led to tons of locked off areas and confusion, though I imagine much of this has to do with the game being in early access.

Visually I already talked about how Relic Hunters Legend reminded me a bit of a Cartoon Network show. It's really quite bright, has a charming style to it, and ran pretty well. This build of the game was currently optimized for 60fps, though it seems the developers are working on higher framerate options as well. 120 was available but did not seem as stable currently. There is decent variety to locations though you will see many of the same assets time and time again, but overall, I liked the style and presentation.

level up equipment menu
The game didn't need to have so many systems

As for the sound, the voice acting was quite impressive, adding a fun personality to the experience. The soundtrack itself is well done, with plenty of electronic synths, but the sound effects stand out even stronger. So, all told, Relic Hunters Legend delivers in the visual and audio department.

While the systems are a bit confusing and perhaps more complicated than they needed to be, Relic Hunters Legend is currently on a good path, especially for an early access release. I look forward to revisiting the final release in a full review, but as to whether you should jump in early, I don't see why not if you are a fan of the genre. You certainly won't feel all that short-changed in terms of content but might need to contend with some of the usual growing pains that come with early access games. Still, I was impressed with this title and will certainly be keeping my eye on it going forward.


+ Fun art and sound design

+ Combat is easy to learn and fun

+ Plenty to do


- Too many systems

- No co-op story mode currently


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