Inferno Legend is the latest MMORPG from Gamebox behind games such as Ancient Summoner, Odin Quest and Wartune. It’s totally free to play, with a browser version you can play now and mobile apps on the way. The game runs on the Unity engine, so even though it’s playable in browser, the requirement for the Unity plug-in means it’s only available on PC and Mac browsers. The Unity engine is important for Inferno Legend though, as it supports the feature that makes Inferno different from most of its competition: it features full 3D graphics on and off the battlefield.
Inferno Legend tells the story of the eternal clash between Angels and Demons, Gods and Devils. The motivations for the attack aren’t exactly clear, but it was actually heaven that launched the war on hell. The demons and devils, under the leadership of their king, Diablo, are doing everything they can to resist the attack. Player characters fight on the side of hell, receiving the aid of demons, gaining power from their infernal ancestry, and opposing the forces of good.
For now, you’ve got the choice between an oafish but brutish Cyclops, the seductive Vampire queen, a magical Faerie, and a demonic Samurai. There are more monsters on the way though, with a Mummy character already announced. The characters have pretty good designs and voice acting. I really appreciate how Gamebox has custom-tailored the game experience for each character though. Not only does each character have a custom skill tree with accompanying animations, they also each have unique lines of dialogue, even after you’re more than 10 missions deep in the game. I’m not just talking about spoken lines, even text-only dialogue is often flavored for specific characters (such as the Vampire making a joke about sucking blood before fighting one of the bosses). Perhaps it’s a simple thing to write a bunch of unique lines for each of four characters, but details are important and it’s just not a consideration you ever see in dime-a-dozen browser MMORPGs.
The graphics really are quite lovely. The character design rarely strays beyond stereotypical RPG fare, but the animations are solid and the color design is great. In any case, the graphics do their job of communicating everything quickly — the vivid colors go a long way here. Battles are flashy in particular, which is exactly what you want out of an RPG. There are unique animations for every attack, spell, summoning, and each time a God or Devil sees fit to bestow aid to their adherents. The animations are bolstered by all kinds of special effects, eye candy in both 2D and 3D. Sometimes that’s bursts of light, runic symbols, and dynamic camera angles. Other times, it’s a small pop-up comic panel showing the caster’s enraged face or a highlight of a particularly brutal attack (for instance, a spine snapping in two). Slain heroes and enemies don’t just disappear either. Depending on how they were taken out, they might be lying motionless on the ground… or they might just be a splatter of blood on the ground. The violence gets pretty graphic, but the cartoon-style visuals ensure it never gets too intense. Inferno Legend isn’t going to have the prettiest or most innovative graphics you’ve ever seen, but it’s undeniable that great care has been taken for the art and that it’s very stylish.
All that style and flashiness comes at a cost though. Even on a good internet connection (I pull about 50 Mb/s), you’re going to see a lot of loading bars. Every time a battle involves a new creature or a new attack, it’s going to need to load. Sometimes, that even means a loading bar will pop up in the middle of combat. The game can get a bit laggy too. Given, the computer I played on isn’t really a gaming rig, but Inferno Legend still surprised me with how choppy it got. Unsurprisingly, big boss battles where 10+ characters were charging at each other, slinging spells, summoning more creatures, and calling upon Gods and Devils caused the worst frame rate issues, but these would also be the most exciting battles to watch — if they worked. There’s not really a way to know how bad this effect is going to be for you without trying. Just know that if you give the game 20 minutes of time and see way too much lag and loading for your liking, it’s probably going to be that way for your entire experience.
Inferno Legend bears many of the trappings of its fellow free-to-play, browser-based MMORPGs. There are loads of prizes to claim and events to participate in on a daily basis. Some require simple tasks like logging in, while others ask more of you, like clearing a special dungeon run or paying some money to advance to the next VIP level. These are annoying, but fairly innocuous. Free-to-play games need to monetize somehow, and almost always that means optional microtransactions. My real concern when I see a free-to-play MMORPG are the things that eat into actual gameplay: auto-pathing and auto-combat. As far as I’m concerned, both are a huge problem in the genre and are signs of a game that is being designed by money-grabbing corporations instead of designers that care about making a fun game and respecting the players that give their time and money to a game. Auto-pathing is absent in Inferno Legend, although movement is fairly mindless. You teleport to the next stage and then follow a linear path through monsters to the stage’s boss. Movement just isn’t that important. It’s a different story for auto-combat.
Combat in Inferno Legend can easily be switched between manual and auto control. This is done as elegantly and respectfully as I’ve ever seen. The game defaults to auto, but all you need to do to take over is to click on the icon marked Auto. Once you’re in control, you’ll be given the options of Attack, Auto, and Skill every single turn. The combat will stay in manual control (even from battle to battle) until you click the Auto button. Likewise, if you click the Auto button, it will stay in Auto until you switch it back to manual. This seems extremely obvious, but you’d be surprised how many games either don’t allow manual control or require you to switch to manual every single battle. I applaud Inferno Legend for picking the solution that best respects the player. I’m still slightly torn on the combat — the decisions aren’t very interesting so I still found myself switching the game to Auto even though I hate auto-combat. Still, I appreciate that there are at least decisions to be made, and I imagine these decisions would open up significantly as you advance through your skill tree.
Many of these RPGs are crowded with tons of menus. Like, so many ridiculous different things you can do to make super minor tweaks to your team. Inferno Legend does a lot to streamline this, with the total menu options being narrowed to approximately three major options — your team’s formation, items, and skills. Admittedly, there are about ten more menu options than this, but they are all fairly minor and you won’t use them often. All of these minor menus will flash if they contain anything that requires your attention (for example, you’ve acquired enough Faith to increase your dedication to one of your patron Devils). The three major menus are for team management, and give you some pretty satisfying control over your team. You can recruit all kinds of demons to your team, ranging from actual demonic imps to more basic things like crabs and man-eating plants. In any case, your formation allows you to choose up to seven such demons to join you in battle. The items menu lets you equip your hero and recruits with gear, or sell the gear. The skills menu gives you access to the skill tree of your hero and recruits. At any time, you can go in and downgrade some skills so you can upgrade others. I really love that you have control over your recruit’s gear and skill trees as well. Recruits have significantly fewer equipment slots and smaller skill trees than your hero, but that’s really a good thing.
Inferno Legend is at the leading edge of graphics for browser-based MMORPGs, but it’s got some surprisingly good gameplay too. While combat is a little disappointing, it’s still better than most of the browser MMORPGs on the market. Team customization is undoubtedly better, and it’s pretty fun to put together a team of demons that complement your hero well. The writing is pretty funny (I got three or four good chuckles out of it) and the story is at least a little novel, if only because you’re hearing it from the perspective of the “bad guys”. Gamebox has really put a lot of care into Inferno Legend and it shows. The game’s performance is definitely an issue though, and one that’s big enough to drive off players. Constant loading and, worse, lag are problems that come with the territory of lots of 3D graphics and flashy animations. I love how stylish the game is, but if they can’t get it to run better on a computer with lower specs, I’m not sure how many players they’ll be able to retain — players with computers designed for gaming are likely to pour their time and money into full-scale MMORPGs instead. There is a lot of potential in a mobile implementation of Inferno Legend, assuming they can get it to run well on modern iOS and Android devices.
If you’re looking for an RPG to dedicate yourself too and appreciate the convenience of a browser-based game, this is definitely one worth checking out. The gameplay and graphics are both examples of some of the best among free-to-play, browser-based MMORPGs (which, admittedly, set a very low bar). You might experience enough loading and lag that it gets in the way of your enjoyment, but you’ll never know until you try.
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Video Rating: 5 / 5