Sword Coast Legends

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
Sword Coast Legends Game Poster Image
Violent role-playing game fun but light on features, tools.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Defeating evil, saving friends, innocents tempered by constant combat, player choices that can be selfish, negative.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player-created characters can be positive, negative based on user choice. Other characters can be good influences but frequently have additional motives in mind.

Ease of Play

Relatively easy to control, but very technical skill features from Dungeons and Dragons rule set can challenge novices.

Violence

Players use swords, clubs, arrows, magic to destroy humans, monsters alike. Combat almost constant; creatures lose limbs, spray blood across ground.

Sex
Language

"Hell," "damn," "bastard" occasionally.

Consumerism

Will offer DLC free of charge to users.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol references, consumption by characters in game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sword Coast Legends is a downloadable role-playing game (RPG) set in the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms. The title bases its gameplay off the fifth edition rule set, which can be very technical and confusing, even for D&D veterans. As a result, newcomers may find themselves lost for some time until they've figured out how best to control their characters. There's some alcohol consumed and referred to by characters, and there's some mild language said by characters. Combat is particularly brutal, as players use a wide variety of weapons, ranging from swords and clubs to arrows and magical spells to destroy humanoid and monstrous enemies. Limbs will frequently be scattered across the ground, with large sprays of blood erupting from enemy bodies.

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What's it about?

SWORD COAST LEGENDS brings players to the Forgotten Realms to fight the dangerous creatures roaming the world. Players have the option to create and control one character from one of five races (human, elf, and so on) and six character classes (paladin, mages, and so on) before embarking on adventures. The story-based campaign casts these newly created characters in the role of mercenaries from the Burning Dawn guild tasked with guiding a caravan to the city of Luskan. Of course, your caravan is attacked, leaving you and your teammates to track down who launched the strike against your guild. Of course, things get much more complicated than that, and you'll face off against cultists, goblins, and other threats over the course of the adventure. Players also have the option to leap into a randomly generated dungeon crawl by themselves or with three other adventurers. They can also choose to become a dungeon master, throwing monsters, traps, and challenges at other players, or design their own dungeons for characters to fight through.

Is it any good?

Though this role-playing adventure tries to provide a rich D&D experience, the limited game elements prove that this novice adventure needs to gain more levels. Sword Coast Legends has a decent level of customization, which is a great selling point for RPG fans. For example, if players choose to be a thief, they can focus on stealth, making them harder to detect and find in combat, or a ranged specialist, filling enemies with arrows from a distance. The skill trees are large enough to give flexibility for all your party members so no two characters will play the same. Similarly, it's very easy to join friends or random strangers to fight your way through dungeons and monsters, making it easy to create a party of monster-bashing adventurers. On the other side, players interested in creating and controlling the gameplay will probably enjoy the chance to challenge (or perhaps torment) players as the Dungeon Master. This mode lets you build your own lairs with its own traps and monsters and even gives DMs the option to boost the danger these hazards pose as players travel through their darkened halls. It's this one-vs.-four action that's very engaging to play through.

Yet, while it's nice to have the option to create your own dungeons for Dungeon Masters, the tile set for creating unique stages is very limited. As a result, your adventures or campaigns won't be nearly as deep as they'd want it to be, and DMs don’t feel as powerful as they would in a regular tabletop game. Another issue that arises with the gameplay is the fact that it's so overly focused on combat. In D&D games, you usually have the flexibility to come up with creative methods to address battles, including talking your way out of fights that might be too difficult to engage in. Sword Coast doesn't give that option at all; instead, you're basically forced to hack your way through your enemies. A third issue is the limited races and classes. The fifth edition has 12 base classes characters can be, but only half are included. No Druids, Monks, or Barbarians. The same can be said about the races, which have half the base number of races for characters. It's a bit unfortunate when you run into a Tiefling (half human/demon) in the caravan at the start of the game, but you can't select one as a create-able character. The one plus is that the developers have promised to add a large amount of content for free in future updates, so many of these issues could potentially be addressed. That gives a certain degree of hope for players, but for right now, Sword Coast Legends is a tad shy of becoming a fabled RPG.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games such as Sword Coast Legends. Does the combat need to be so bloody and visceral, or could there be more peaceful methods of resolving conflicts?

  • Talk about role-playing games. Why do you think Dungeons and Dragons games are so popular? What keeps players coming back to these adventures?

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