We haven’t played the original Facebook version of Legacy of a Thousand Suns, a sci-fi MMORPG that’s text-heavy and action-light, but this galaxy-spanning opus has just hit iOS (iPhone and iPad) so we got stuck in to see what the fuss was all about. As the game opens, you’re twiddling your thumbs in some dingy cell on a massive spacecraft. Before you can say ‘Star Wars’, an evil force known as the Centurions attacks and you find yourself breaking free and escaping with a feisty princess in tow.
Although this is an RPG, the character set up and general gameplay is very sedate. When you come up with your character, there aren’t hundreds of stats and skills to pore over – rather, you have to choose his or her name, face and skin colour, and that’s you done.
Similarly, Legacy of a Thousand Sun’s single-player missions are presented as a chunk of text, usually a couple of paragraphs long, and the only intervention on your part is tapping ‘continue’ until one of two things happens. The first is you hit ‘continue’ enough times to complete the level. The second is you run out of energy, which is depleted each time you hit continue. If this happens, you need to sit back and wait for a bit, until your energy regenerates. You can then resume tapping ‘continue’.
We were surprised at the lack of interactivity, even during the boss stages at the end of each section. Admittedly the number of buttons on offer is doubled during these fights – you can choose to either ‘attack’ or ‘flee’. You have a health counter which depletes, so it’s simply a case of keeping tabs on that and legging it if you near zero. Still, the story is relatively interesting if you’re a sci-fi fan, so as long as you’re patient you’ll want to play on to see what happens. The ability to collect or buy new gear is a draw also, allowing you to turn your profile into a proper badass with a terrifying uniform and all manner of deadly weaponry (or even iPod-type gadgetry).
Thankfully Legacy of a Thousand Suns also has an online section, which has you creating or joining an alliance of real-life players in order to build experience and go looting across the universe. It’s a sociable experience as you can chat with other members and check out their profiles at any time.
However, much like the single-player missions, the raids (essentially one big boss fight) are slow-going. Most of them take days to complete, with you individually hacking tiny chunks off the enemy until they finally collapse dead. For instance, the weakest enemy we took on had a whopping 4500000 points of health, and every super-charged blow we dealt it took off around 1000 points. Even with a big group of you getting stuck in, it’d take less time to watch every episode of Last of the Summer Wine than it would to complete just one of these raids.
If you’re the patient type who can tolerate playing tiny chunks of a game at a time, and prefer story over gameplay, Legacy of a Thousand Sun’s single-player mode might just about hold your attention. Otherwise, social gamers may get a kick out of the online mode.