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It's been a crazy ride for Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles. The second in the "Legends" series of mobile MMOs, Star Legends started out in closed beta, then eventually was made available to the masses and now is the top dog among mobile MMOs.
It feels like forever since I last mentioned it, but I had to
take make the time to really dig into this excellent game when it was announced it was finally downloadable in the Chrome Store. A fully fleshed out MMO on my phone and my browser? For free? Those charms are too strong for even yours truly to resist.
So let's start at the beginning. When you first start up Star Legends, you'll have to create a character. There's three classes (commando, operative, engineer) that all boast their own strengths, and you're free to pick the one that'll suit your play style the best. There's pretty deep customization options when you're first creating your character, like gender, skin color, and hair color, so your toon can look fairly unique (until you cover everything up with gear, anyway).
From there, you're thrust into the world of Star Legends, onto the UCS Blackstar, an massive spaceship that serves as your main base and a starter quest hub (complete with tutorial). The tutorial is awesome, even if it looks like it overdoes it a bit, because hey, this is mobile MMO'ing, and we need to learn how to game correctly.
The controls are similar between phone and computer, with the phone using a virtual joystick and the Chrome version opting for WASD controls, but they're both equally tight and responsive, just like all touch-based games should be. You're also free to click with your mouse in Chrome (just like tapping a location on your Android device) and your character will move to that spot. It's pretty intuitive and makes a lot of sense, especially when you've got the power of a keyboard and mouse at your disposal.
Speaking of your mouse, you can also rotate your camera around by holding the right mouse button and moving the mouse. It works really well in Chrome, except for when your arrow goes out of the game's playing field. It's a little niggle, no doubt, and I'm really looking forward to when you can fullscreen it, but for now, that's not an option, so you'll have to make do without.
Leveling up is earned through owning bad guys, and you'll be owning a lot of bad guys to complete your quests, so don't worry. There's not a lot of grinding levels out or farming for anything in the time I spent with the game. In fact, with quest givers constantly saying, "Go kill those guys to get to the big guy at the end of the level," the levels roll in pretty easily, at least at the start.
Quest givers are easy to find, too, with a golden symbol (a hexagon, I think), floating above their head. Simply walk over to them, tap (or click) on them, and you can accept their quest. Spacetime Studios has done a truly bang up job with the quests (and the game in general), making sure that the quests feel like they're actually advancing a reasonable plot that you're keen on uncovering.
Combat flows rather well, especially when you're against multiple enemies. With auto-attacking weapons, it's all a matter of making sure you're in range, then letting loose on the unsuspecting baddies that have their backs turned to you. Sometimes it feels like things hang up for a second, right after you've disposed of one enemy and haven't selected a new one to attack, but that might just be part of developing true fluency of the gameplay.
Social is what really makes this game, hands down. It's an MMO, and if any of you have ever played Everquest, World of Warcraft, or any other game that remotely constitutes an MMO, you know what I'm talking about. Jumping into the UCS Blackstar and being able to chat with anyone there, about items or quests or how their life is going is great.
When other characters happen to join the quest you're on, you can ask them if they'll help (or offer yours to them) without anything stopping you. It's as simple as opening the chat window and typing. While typing can be kind of a pain on the small screen, once you're in Chrome, it's a breeze. Hitting the enter key brings up the dialogue box (with cursor at the ready), you just type your message, and with one more pressing of enter, it's sent.
No review would be complete without mentioning Platinum, the universal currency of all Spacetime Studios games. The concept is simple: pay real money for Platinum and you can buy more stuff, faster. Generally, items cost either a lot of credits (the currency you earn for completing quests) or a little bit of Platinum. For a couple of bucks, you can deck yourself out with some pretty sweet gear, and it's these microtransactions that probably help keep the games in the Legends series free to play.
To wrap it up, Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles is the real deal. What Spacetime Studios has managed to do with their line of mobile MMOs is nothing short of incredible, and the quality of of gaming they've brought to our pocket-sized portables is commendable.
Star Legends proves that attention to detail goes a long way, and the praise and accolades heaped upon Spacetime is well-deserved. The addition of gaming inside the Chrome browser kicks the whole package up to 11, especially because of how seamless the experience is. If anyone wants to talk about a three-screen strategy, Star Legends is rocking a two-screen strategy right now, and it's working for them.
Best of all, it's completely free! There's no ads, no mandatory purchases, nothing. You can spend what you want, pay your way, or hit the level cap without spending anything but in-game credits if you choose. Regardless, you're going to have fun.
If you haven't given this game a shot, you should. It's the best MMO in the mobile arena and arguably one of the most entertaining games in the entire Market.