Fantasy Flight Games Unveil Descent: Legends Of The Dark

October 23, 2020 by brennon

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Fantasy Flight Games this week unveiled their upcoming addition to the Descent line of games, Descent: Legends Of The Dark. This new version of the game brings a whole new app-based spin to the dungeon-delving experience and focuses the action around a cooperative quest with impressive miniatures.

Descent: Legends Of The Dark Trailer // Fantasy Flight Games

Much like in previous editions of Descent, you'll be playing as a band of heroes from the world of Terrinoth who have been drawn together in order to stop some terrible foe from dominating the land. All of this is played out through their Blood & Flame campaign which they say is going to take around fifty hours to complete.

Descent Legends Of The Dark Hero Cards - FFG

Descent: Legends Of The Dark Hero Cards // Fantasy Flight Games

Each of the characters that you play as in Legends Of The Dark is unique and features plenty of room for customisation as they grow and develop. Much like in previous versions of Descent, you'll be starting off following a straight road but you'll soon branch off and be able to unlock specialisations which will make the character your own.

Unlike with previous editions, however, you will be able to change things if you don't like how your path is progressing. You'll be able to swap out skills and powers in order to make a character which fits the situation. There are some caveats to that though. As you play you'll go down specific paths thanks to the decisions you make through your app-driven quests. These choices reward you for taking direct routes but you'll also find ways to reward yourself for meandering between these routes.

I was immediately taken by the character design that we're seeing here. I like the variety on offer and it really shows off what's fun and interesting about the world of Terrinoth. I'm not sold on the graphic design though which looks like it has been drawn from a mobile game. I assume this has all been done to make it bright and poppy but the choice of icons and the way it has been laid out seems somewhat "kiddy" in appearance.

Playing the heroes in Legends Of The Dark has also been revamped. One of the coolest things about the game is that you don't rest anymore and waste an action. Instead, you use fatigue as a way of flipping between two sides of your character sheet and using your weapons. You'll still have to manage your fatigue during encounters but there is a focus on this offering variety and action economy rather than simply dooming you.

An App Driven Experience

During a designer interview (watch that below!) they went into great detail about the app and how integrated it is into the experience. For good or ill, the app is the centre of the experience within Descent: Legends Of The Dark.

Descent Legends Of The Dark App #1 - FFG

Descent: Legends Of The Dark App // Fantasy Flight Games

The app has been rebuilt from the ground up in order to tailor the experience within Legends Of The Dark to each player. According to the designers they have painstakingly gone through the usability of the app and how it helps deal with monsters, hero advancement, tracking of choices and the general gameplay experience from dungeon delve to dungeon delve.

Descent Legends Of The Dark App #2 - FFG

Descent: Legends Of The Dark App // Fantasy Flight Games

As you can see above, the app tacks the building and design of your dungeons too. This also shows off an element of the game that you'll see more of when you watch the big designer interview. Legends Of The Dark is packed with terrain which isn't just 2D tiles but features 3D elements which you can interact with.

I shouldn't judge the game too early as they were working with prototype pieces but when I was watching the preview I wasn't very taken with the style of that either. It all seemed a little off and I can't quite work out why. I think it's because it looked like nothing meshed together and the modular nature of the tiles meant that there wasn't much detail worked into their appearance. This does allow them to build up levels and such to their dungeons though which is a big plus.

Going back to the app for a second, it also tracks a whole bunch of other stuff. As well as fully narrating your adventures, building your maps and tracking your enemies, it also helps you craft items and play around with their effects. It handles all the number crunching here and means that you can have quite the deep experience when playing with items, weapons and armour without getting snowed under by a bunch of cards.

There is a lot more built into the app experience but I'll leave it to the designers to talk through it all...

Descent: Legends Of The Dark Designer Discussion // Fantasy Flight Games

I'm not someone who cares overly that the app takes such a vital role in the experience. If it makes for a fun tabletop game and removes a lot of the downtime as you work out maths then I am all for it. From what we've seen here it does enhance the experience rather than detecting from it but the proof will be in the pudding.

Fantastic New Miniatures

One thing that I was exceptionally impressed by was the new miniatures. Fantasy Flight Games has talked about how this iteration of Descent features miniatures made of harder plastic than before meaning that they can work great detail into the characters and monsters.

Descent Legends Of The Dark Heroes - FFG

Descent: Legends Of The Dark Heroes // Fantasy Flight Games

These are just some of the early looks at these characters but I think they look awesome. They have managed to capture the artwork exceptionally well and they even come with stunning scenic bases too. I'd be very happy to pick these up and paint them! The same goes for the enemies.

Descent Legends Of The Dark Enemies - FFG

Descent: Legends Of The Dark Enemies // Fantasy Flight Games

Even the standard looking Bandits from this collection look awesome. I think that the Wights and Berserkers look fantastic and again, give you a really good glimpse into the world of Terrinoth. This isn't your standard collection of Fantasy fare. Even the Wolves look different!

The big problem is that all of this fancy stuff comes at a hefty price tag. All of this costs $175.

Descent Legends Of The Dark - FFG

Descent: Legends Of The Dark // Fantasy Flight Games

That comes in at around £130 (thanks Google) for us using real money over here in the UK. That's likely to be a lot higher when it eventually releases as it will probably come in around £150 when all said and done. This is a hefty price to ask for a game which is entering a market saturated with dungeon delvers right now. You have to really like Terrinoth if you're picking this up.

As a comparison, the original Gloomhaven is only £100 and Jaws Of The Lion (whilst not as big an experience) is around £50. Frosthaven, the newest Childres experience was also coming in at around £130 and already has a good pedigree behind it...admittedly without the monster miniatures.

I think that people are going to have to see some seriously impressive gameplay to be won over by this. I am happy to be proven wrong though and I hope Fantasy Flight Games are able to produce a fantastic Fantasy experience.

What do you think?

"I hope Fantasy Flight Games are able to produce a fantastic Fantasy experience..."

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