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Raid: Shadow Legends

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Raid: Shadow Legends App Poster Image
Fantasy action takes heavy investment of time and money.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Combat is relatively cut and dry, with players first choosing an ability and then a target. Outside of combat, though, the game's a complex mess of menus for upgrading equipment, skills, bonus, etc. It's a bit convoluted and confusing, leaving players eager just to get back into the simplicity of battle.

Violence

Combat is central to the game, with players fighting against human (and human like) soldiers, fantasy creatures, and other monsters using a combination of magical abilities and medieval weapons. Although there's very little blood, there are some scenes of more graphic violence, including characters getting burned alive or eaten.

Sex

Some female characters are presented in overly sexualized outfits.

Language

While there's no profanity in the dialogue, there's a text-based chat feature that could expose younger players to offensive language.

Consumerism

Players can earn some lower level characters quickly, but unlocking higher tier characters and other special items requires a lot of luck and patience, or spending money through the in-game shop. The shop does offer bundles of goods at a range of prices, but many of the lower cost bundles don't offer a lot of value.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Raid: Shadow Legends is a free-to-play mobile fantasy action/role-playing game (RPG) available for download on iOS and Android devices. Players recruit and collect characters, building small teams to take on the armies of a dark overlord. Violence is a central part of the gameplay, with characters fighting against each other using a variety of magical abilities and medieval weapons. While there's little onscreen blood, there are still some strong scenes of violence. The game leans heavily onto players to try and convince them to spend money through the in-game store with a steady stream of pop-up ads for special bundles, many of which are either highly priced or offer very little content.

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What's it about?

RAID: SHADOW LEGENDS is a fantasy-themed action/role-playing game (RPG) that pulls players deep into a cosmic tug-of-war with the fate of all of Teleria in the balance. On one side is the Dark Lord Siroth, whose evil machinations have corrupted most of the land, leaving a path of destruction and despair in his wake. And on the other side of the battle is the mysterious Arbiter, an entity that opposes Siroth and his dark ways. With her power of resurrection, the Arbiter calls upon you to rise up once again and to build an army capable of standing strong against the Dark Lord, defeating him and freeing Teleria from his grasp. You can stand against Siroth in single-player PvE Campaign, or test your mettle against other champions in massive online multiplayer tournaments and arenas. Can you bring peace and tranquility back to Teleria? Or will darkness forever fall across the land?

Is it any good?

This fantasy action role-playing game (RPG) packs a visual appeal and overall presentation that's almost on par with many console offerings. Make no mistake about it, Raid: Shadow Legends is a gorgeous game. Its story lays down a classic, though almost cliched, fantasy foundation, but that tale sort of gets glossed over in the campaign mode, outside of a few quick narratives between stages. There are also bits that leave players scratching their heads too, like how demons and orcs play nice with high elves and sacred knights, outside of a few throwaway lines about being under the contract of the Arbiter. It's not necessarily that the game needs a strong story to move it forward, but it feels like a sorely missed opportunity.

No matter how impressive the game looks or how engaging (or disengaging) its plot may be, none of that matters much if it isn't actually fun to play. And thankfully, by and large, Raid: Shadow Legends is fun. Moving through waves of enemies and playing with your characters' skills is a blast. When it all comes together like a well-oiled machine, you can genuinely feel like a force to be reckoned with. The problem is getting that well-oiled machine pieced together. Although the game has hundreds of characters to recruit, the hard truth is that many lower-tier characters aren't worth anything more than sacrifices for experience to improve your better characters. Getting higher-tier characters takes a lot of luck, or some heavy spending in the in-game store. Meanwhile, between gear, skills, ranking, and other elements requiring constant upgrades, it's easy to burn through resources, forcing players into a repetitive grind or yet another pricey trip to the Shop. If you look past the constant draw on your wallet or the repetitive grind to build up your characters, though, you'll find a lot to like in Raid: Shadow Legends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in gaming. Is the impact of the violence in Raid: Shadow Legends affected by the lack of blood and gore in its combat sequences? Does this fantasy setting make the violence less impactful to younger players?

  • What are some of the ways that "free-to-play" games sustain their market (pop-up ads, microtransactions, etc.)? When do these offering cross the line and become obstacles to actually playing a game?

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