Pick one, a barbarian, an elf or a dwarf. Now set them on an adventure that will test their skill and just how lucky they are. This is Fighting Fantasy Legends.
Developer: Nomad Games
Publisher: Nomad Games
Release Date: September 2017
Purchase At: Steam
Fighting Fantasy Legends is the second game I’ve played based on the Fighting Fantasy brand, the first being Steve Jackson’s Sorcery. Much like that title’s adaptation, this game attempts to bring the “build your own adventure” of the original Adventure Books—which were essentially single player role-playing games—to a videogame format. And much like Steve Jackson’s Sorcery, it does so with a bunch of annoyances.
On the positive side, Fighting Fantasy Legends is pretty fast-paced, as even the lengthiest of combat sequences you’ll complete in only a couple of minutes. The rest depend on how fast you can read and process information. I would have liked for it to keep a log of everything NPCs told me in conversations or overheard rumours, to keep track of potentially important information, but alas, no such thing is available.
Visually it’s quite pleasing and gives the impression of moving pieces on a game board. Event pull cards as if from an invisible deck, and contests roll dice the same way you would if you were playing a tabletop game. It’s a bunch of tiny details meant to evoke the tabletop feeling, but Fighting Fantasy Legends nails them.
As a RPG, Fighting Fantasy Legends offers its content as a collection of quests and dear me there are so many. Even the main quest, to kill Zambar Bone, has a ton of subquests attached to it, each tracking a single little thing, every part of the recipe to prepare you for the encounter. Add to that the possibly hundreds of random encounters that will screw you over in one way or another, and you have lots to experience, making each journey unique. There is an element of choice but much like Steve Jackson’s Sorcery, the choices at times rarely matter to the outcome.
I’m a tabletop and videogame RPG player, Dungeon Master and overall storyteller, so I know what kind of a system I’m playing with and how fair it is, and Fighting Fantasy Legend’s system is too damn random and slightly skewed against you.
Every encounter you solve rolling skill or luck, without any modifiers or flat bonuses or even abilities to compensate or mitigate the randomness of the dice, which have 5 blank faces. It’s extremely easy to fail, especially on rolls that need a specific amount of successes. And this is all or nothing, if you don’t meet the required dice rolls, you are going to pay for it and it’s going to hurt.
The worst so far has been a random encounter with a mimic, it said: “Roll three luck dice. For every blank rolled, lose 1 life, and then you have to fight it.” At 2 health, I danced with the devil in the pale moonlight. Oh, and there is way too much combat in this game. On every encounter, it’s almost a binary choice of fighting or some other nonsense, which will often involve a check that if you fail means you’ll fight. And considering there are no means of resting up for healing and items often come from random events, you begin to feel as if killing you was the actual goal of the game.
When you reach enough experience you can level up your dice, which means you can add another success face to the die, up to 2 of them, which means that at its highest upgrade, each die is still a 50/50 success chance, making it feel so insignificant, so pointless, especially considering that any game with d6 dice as its core—such as Shadowrun–would already have a 50% success chance from the beginning, with skills and quirks only upgrading from there.
Even your special character quirks chosen at the start lack impact. The naturally lucky talent means that one die has one face that if you happen to roll it, you automatically succeed. It’s such a minuscule thing that I didn’t roll it a single time in my entire playthrough, the dice just coming up blank most of the time.
Fighting Fantasy Legends offers you a ton of quests and a chance to relive the adventure books you might have played at some point in your life. For me, I’d rather play a deeper RPG with a balanced system.
2.5/5 – Average