MU Legend CBT[2] Impressions - All Filler, No Killer


Since CBT2 isn't much different than CBT1 I felt this review was well worth revisiting and still holds as to my initial impressions of MU Legend

It’s always fun trying to sum up a game with a single sentence. Where do I begin with MU Legend (pronounced myoo, moo?)? I could start with the synopsis: it’s a “hack-and-slash MMO.” Yeah, that’s true, there is quite a bit of pressing keys and clicking; sometimes the music is hard to hear over my spam. But the real single sentence would say something about how MU Legend is the successor to MU Online and some people hope Legend will let them relive the glory days of hardcore MU. But it looks like the nostalgia train is on the express track and veterans are going to be left behind at the station, wondering what happened. Not that it matters.

MU Legend is a product of the times: a casual ARPG that most Westerners will play for a bit and think about in rare moments, “Oh yeah, I did play that game.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun. But it’s fun in the same way that scrolling through Reddit is fun: eventually you ask, “what am I doing?”

Closed Beta features four classes, with a fifth one—the Emphasizer—showing off plenty of skin to tantalize. Classes are gender-locked so go ahead and click out of here if you’re offended—I never understood why anyone cares. I can be a male, a female, a tree, a cinnamon bun; I’ll roleplay as anything—and I predict genders stay locked so don’t bother crossing your fingers.

It ought to be obvious just by the genre but I’ll make it clear: no matter what class you pick the game plays out the same. You run through hallway maps—some of which are very nice looking—sending mobs flying like crash test dummies, completing kill quests, and gallivanting through dungeons with more reckless abandon than Goldilocks thinking it's alright to sleep in a bear’s bed. It’s a quest grinder.

MU Legend’s quests squeeze your hand and funnel you to exactly where you got to go: mainly to a camp of spiders, boars, goblin looking things—whatever fauna needs killing that day—helped along by linear map design (think Tree of Savior or Blade and Soul).

It’s a good thing MU Legend’s combat is fun.

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Combat’s guiding principle is to get a handful of mobs and devour them all at once by spamming abilities. It’s a timeless method that has yet to stop working, e.g. Diablo 3, Grim Dawn, Devilian. And what makes it work is your flashy skills.

Each class has 7 skills to rotate through; the tutorial starts you off with a full hot-bar to let you test your button mashing finesse. They all have pizzaz. My War Mage’s Fire Clutch creates a tiny imploding sun sitting atop indecipherable runes. It only lasts for a moment but I appreciate the attention to detail. And skills have gusto behind them thanks to the soundwork: each explosion gives off heat and some bass.

So you don’t feel bored blowing up mobs again and again and again. It’s quite cathartic.

With all my skills mobs are not much of a challenge. So, naturally, I went into a dungeon thinking I could drag my finger across the keyboard like a toddler at a piano and win. Turns out, a boss killed me. I know, I know. Shocking.

Unlike some other hack-and-slash games, MU Legend’s bosses are able to puncture holes in your health bar. I couldn't believe it. They even use multiple moves, so you have to dance around attacks like your running across hot coals. I was so happy when I died. Thank you MU Legend. Thank you.

The last Korean ARPG with some weight behind it, Devilian, was a face-roll grinder. I watched Narcos, ate a bologna sandwich, cursed mustard for refusing to stay between two slices of bread, and played Devilian at the same time. I can’t multitask and run a MU Legend dungeon—at least not on the higher difficulties. Thanks goodness.

As you make your way through dungeons and the world you level up, unlocking new colorful spells to use—dopamine high guaranteed. Skill progression is fairly typical at a glance. But MU Legend does give progression a tiny twist. As you become proficient spamming a move like lightning you unlock slots to attach crests to your skills—stat bonuses such as Magic Attack + 3%. Up to three crests can be attached to a single skill.

It’s a neat way to give you further customization over your character. Do you want MP regen or do you want to be a boss like me and go all out crit? That’s up to you, but Gumble knows best.

My biggest issue with MU Legend isn’t isolated to MU Legend.

The User Interface is bloated. Let's use our imagination to put it in other words. You’re sitting at a restaurant. You look at the table near the bathroom and see a corpulent cigar smoker stuffing his face with tiny cakes. Little bits of crumbs nestle in the fold of his shirt, and he doesn’t wipe them off when he gets up to leave. It’s just a mess; the carcass of the tiny cakes follows him to the door. That’s MU Legend’s UI.

I am a UI snob, and I need minimalist UI—that’s one area Elder Scrolls Online gets right. I can’t stand oversized bars: one’s that occupy an entire section of my screen.

At least give me the option to resize my hotbars; give players control over how they interact with the interface. That goes for all games. There’s nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed by a UI à la WildStar. So please, MU Legend, patch in some versatility before full release.

Other than optimization issues MU Legend is a solid enough ARPG. But it is a filler game, not the killer title that’s going to make you forget what time it is. You jump in, admire the effects, roll through a few dungeons, and jump out when something more appetizing pops ups. I would enjoy the game more if its world wasn’t an endless hallway and dungeons had some labyrinthine design elements. But I’ll keep MU Legend installed and looked forward to seeing if the game shapes up at full release.

If you disagree with me, maybe you'll find something to like in Omer's First Look below. 

From Mega Man II to Ape Escape, I've been playing games for as long as I can remember. I've spent months killing porings in Ragnarok Online and more recently lived a second life in Eve Online. I usually play as gUMBY, gUMBLEoni, or gUMBLes in-game.