Action MMO Steel Legions Review

Steel Legions is a Free to Play 3D Action Game (MMO) that can be played in your Internet browser or downloaded (20MB) and installed on your computer.

In Steel Legions, you’ll assume control of an upgradeable Battle Tank and sent directly into a war-torn world where precious resources are in limited supply. The simple control scheme and combat mechanics allow for an immediate ‘pick-up-and-play’ experience, placing you into battle within one minute of play.
It no secret that browser MMOs are fast becoming the best way to casually play games. From Drakensang to A Mystical Land, MMOs and MMORPGs are now viably available to play within a browser environment, and the days of downloading games at school and work only to find that the installations have been blocked by the network administrator are all but entirely over.

Steel Legions, from Spiltscreen Studios, is the latest high-quality addition to the browser MMO generation, and one that has made a significant splash in the pond. With ‘ease-of-access’ in mind Steel Legions has been designed to be easy and accessible on an unprecedented level, a factor that brings with it many pros, and many cons.

Of the many things Steel Legions does right, none is more impressive than the controls and combat. The game begins with no prelude, prologue or tutorial, instead opting for an instant-action approach that brings you into enemy conflict less than a minute of playing. There are no customization options pre-gameplay, though you can choose your faction (the Phoenix Empire, Tundran Warriors, Pandora Rebels and Golden Territories), and will be awarded 50 gold for choosing to play with the least popular group.

From there, it combat. [Left-Click] the mouse to move, [Right-Click] to shoot, and thanks to auto-targeting, you’ll only need to do it once. Simple, yes. But it also effective. Terrain also plays a large role, so moving while fighting and attempting to block your enemy shots by taking the high ground soon becomes a crucial element of play.

Small ToolTips will begin to appear as you begin playing that, combined with a large arrow pointing you in the right direction, serve as a constant tutorial and ensure that you’re never unsure where to go. By killing NPC tanks you’ll be awarded with construction parts that can be used to upgrade your tanks weapons, armour, and more; however, these can only be upgraded once you’ve attained the required level. Sadly, that where things take a turn for the worse.

In order to increase your level you need to complete Missions, which — and this isn’t mentioned before you begin — are, to my understanding, only available via team-based PvP. Yes, in order to increase your level, you’re going to need to PvP. Upgrading your tank is PvE and lots of fun, too, but if you want to increase your level (and if you want to keep PvEing then you’re going to need to) you’re going to need to battle other players.

Personally, I don’t mind. There are others that will, I’m sure, but it not an issue for me. What is; however, is the gameplay and matchmaking. My first missions, as a level 1 player, was to steal resources from the enemy and bring them back home. I had a teammate — a level 2 — and the enemy team had 2 players, too. One of them was level 2, the other was level 5. 

Let me break that down once more: a level 1 and 2 VS a level 2 and 5. This mission, as you can likely imagine, was an irritating failure that lasted for 10 minutes and involved my dying about 30 times. I did not increase my level. 

My second mission was to protect a transport carrier; I had a level 2 teammate again, and our opposing team only had one player: a level 5. So, he came and attacked our transport. We killed him, but he did about 30% damage to our target. Then he came back. Again. And again. We lost. I did not increase my level.

As you can see, this is a problem. And it one that greatly affects the game experience, as in order to level, you basically need to fail a few missions, painfully, or leave them until you find one that evenly matched. In my professional opinion, these missions need to be made optional, and a new way to increase your level (perhaps a slower method, to add a PvE choice) must be implemented. 

Outside these gameplay issues Steel Legions is a fantastic browser title that will keep you occupied for hours. While not the most deep gameplay experience, to be playing a game that looks and feels this good in an Internet browser is something to be applauded. If only they’d taken a little more time to fix up the gameplay. 

— Cody Hargreaves
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