Built exclusively for VR and initially launched on Steam, Shadow Legend VR is a medieval action adventure with RPG elements by developer VitruviusVR. It’s now out for Playstation VR as well, which is how we checked it out.
Shadow Legend VR went through an early access phase on Steam, and although VR games are a dime a dozen on Steam we took notice of this particular one because it was being made by the people behind Mervils: a VR Adventure, which I still consider to be one of the closest things to playing Lucky’s Tale on Playstation VR. The game also promised to be an action-rpg game set in medieval times, which although not entirely unique in VR land (Skyrim, The Mage’s Tale and the recent Sacralith come to mind) seems to be a good fit for VR.
The story of Shadow Legend revolves around the kingdom of Anaria and a war that rages between the gods that created it. Much of the kingdom as you see it today was created by Lady Evelyn, who has tasked you (as a grand master in the military) with the order to find an end to this everlasting conflict with Lord Adaroth. It appears that Adaroth would rather do away with us humans completely, so the stakes are rather high…
In a game that takes place in a medieval fantasy setting, the ‘military’ is actually more akin to the Knights Templar. This makes for a great series of introductory sequences that include swordplay and archery, two elements that benefit greatly from the use of VR. You can also play with a mage’s staff for a touch of magic if you prefer that to the bow and arrow for your ranged attacks, but we felt like archery was a better fit for the setting and the most fun to play in terms of immersion.
This is especially true when compared to the melee action that swordplay offers. It’s functional and if you learn the ropes it can be a lot more than just wildly swinging your Move controller around while in front of an enemy, with options to block and counter attacks. Things don’t feel as organic as they could have though, with enemies sometimes clearly following set attack patterns and vulnerable body parts being visually signposted in battle. You also can’t block attacks using a shield but need to rely on your sword to do so, which feels like a missed chance for added tactical depth here.
Enemy AI isn’t great – which is especially clear in melee combat but can also be seen in how enemies (don’t) reposition for cover or (don’t) look for attacking strategies. Luckily, things are fun regardless, with responsive controls and a nice variety of options between ranged and melee combat. This is especially true for the game’s boss fights, which are well designed and bring a bit of strategy into the fray with gameplay that changes as you chip away at the boss’ health.
VR immersion doesn’t end with the use of a bow and arrow or sword. Navigating around the world of Anaria means you’ll be climbing ladders, flipping switches and holding on to narrow ledges – all of which add a great deal of immersion to this VR adventure. But as epic as it sounds, the story campaign unfortunately wraps up rather quickly – in under six hours while taking it slow but not hunting down every single collectible (rune) out there. Grabbing runes helps you acquire other/better weapons, so it’s good to keep an eye out for them.
Shadow Legend VR features a host of movement options that show that VitruviusVR knows that gamers appreciate having a choice in this matter. You can teleport or move organically, turn in increments or smoothly, and I’ve heard the developer will be implementing 3dRudder support soon as well – which should be a great fit for an adventure game like this one.
A few other touches make this a VR title worth noting, including the ability to use spoken language to interact with the world. I loved this as one of my favorite parts of The Inpatient, so it’s great to see it in a production from a smaller studio. Shadow Legend may not have the production values of a first party title and be on the shorter side, but it manages to pack in an almost unrivaled amount of VR immersion in its combat and level design. That alone is a good reason to check out this one.