Arkandian Legends: Crusade
If I say "there's a new game from flash game developer Undefined," what are you picturing? A new Protector game? Well... SURPRISE!! Way to fall into the trap. Get ready for Undefined's new game Arkandian Crusade the first chapter in the new Arkandian Legends series, a turn-based RPG with defense elements. Create a hero who will venture out into the world at the behest of your kind to combat the demon threat. With over sixty dungeons, hundreds of items, magical spells, quests, and much more, expect to be busy for a very long time indeed.
While there are story quests, the game lets you decide what you want to do. The bulk of the gameplay is split into two categories: adventure and defense. When you decide to go adventuring you'll be presented with a world map with possible adventure locales. Some of them are simply places where you can hone your skills, make some money and find equipment, while others are places where you can get spells or are dungeons related to completing story quests. To go to a dungeon you'll usually have to pay a fee. When you go to a dungeon, you'll control your character with the arrow keys. In the dungeon you'll find materials scattered around which can be gathered and used for crafting, along with chests containing equipment, and enemies. Combat is turn-based and you have a few options when it comes to attacking. There are three kinds of weapon attacks (heavy, normal and light) with different chance-to-hit percentages. You can also use items, defend or cast any spells you've found.
If you choose a defense mission you'll be taken to the battle field, which is a 6x6 grid. At the beginning, you'll place your character and then click the next turn button, whereupon enemies will start moving in from the right. With every new turn, you can move your character. When you end your turn your character will attack whatever's directly in front and diagonally of them. Enemies will move one square at a time and if one of them reaches the other side you fail the mission. If you've earned enough gold during the defense you can place one of your soldiers on the field.
In Arkandian Crusade, you won't level up in the traditional way. Almost everything you do exercises a stat and will increase your proficiency in it. Buying and selling trains your bargaining stat, for example, and every action in combat has its associated stat. Even when you're not adventuring there's a lot to do. You can visit and decorate your home, craft items using the materials and recipes you've gathered, or you can equip your soldiers, sell and buy items and check out your progress.
Analysis: The best part of Arkandian Crusade is that all of the elements are collected into this one game. It's like a buffet. Different kinds of gameplay all collected in one place and you can sample them as you like. The adventure quests are the meat of the game, which is good because they're a lot of fun. It's exciting to watch the dungeon unfold as you explore it and the prospect of all the new equipment that awaits will keep you moving forward. The combat is simple, but it works well. Sometimes it falters a little, like when you land a heavy attack and it does disappointingly low damage. However, that won't be too much of a problem as your character's skills increase at a pretty fast rate and your attacks won't miss as much. That's not to say the game is easy; as you get stronger, more difficult dungeons and tougher enemies will be unlocked.
The defense quests are a little weaker than adventure quests, but they're still fun. As time goes on you'll find yourself in really tense situations. There's nothing like trying to take down one enemy while another has almost made it to the edge of the screen. The crafting system is another element that starts off slow. You won't have many recipes initially and your crafting skill won't be very effective, but as you get more recipes and materials you'll have a good time creating new items.
There are other small touches that make for a great experience. Just like in Pet Protector, all the items you equip are shown on your character in battle. If you equip your hero with a pretty bow, you'll see yourself doing battle with demons while wearing that bow. The leveling system is nice too, because some stat or another is constantly increasing. You'll be getting a lot of notices that your stats have raised, which gives a nice sense of accomplishment and progression.
Arkandian Crusade is an incredible game that offers a ton of gameplay and will last a long time. Sometimes this expansiveness works against the game when it comes to smaller things, like managing items. The vast majority of the time the game is a treat. You can easily lose yourself on minor dungeons for hours and barely touch the storyline and you'll be glad because so much more content is ahead of you. It's great to see a talented developer like Undefined do something a little bit new and it's even better when it turns out this well.