HomeReviews2.5/5 ReviewDice Legacy Definitive Edition Review

Dice Legacy Definitive Edition Review

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Simulation and city-building games are becoming more and more frequent on consoles. It seems the limitations of a controller over a keyboard and mouse are a thing of the past. But how do you stand out on console, against the likes of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition and Anno 1800 Console Edition, both released in the first half of 2023 and both excellent in their own right?

You need a gimmick, a new way of going about the traditional resource management and city expanding. And it might not be the most obvious choice, but that new inspiration has come in the form of the humble die.

And not even a big old d20. A regular six-sided die.

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A regular six-sided die is the star in Dice Legacy

Dice Legacy Definitive Edition takes the traditional city-builder and throws a dozen d6’s at it, forcing them to stick. Your controllable units are the dice themselves. Each face represents a different ability that coloured dice can do. The orange peasant dice that you start off with for example are used primarily for gathering wood, stone, food and other resources. They have one side reserved for fighting, but that is better off left to your blue soldier dice. To get these though, you first need a barracks and a surplus of peasant dice.

Dice however only have a limited lifespan. After being placed on a building to perform a function, they are exhausted and can only be used again after rolling them. They can be restored but you need food to add durability to your dices.

You dice can be upgraded over time too. Their faces can be upgraded to give them a bit more power on specific faces. Fusing two – and not necessarily from the same group – sees them Constructed together, boosting them significantly.

As well as your dice units, there is a wide arrange of resources to gather, stockpile and then spend. Wood and stone are for buildings, but you can gather plenty of other items too. Wheat can be used for food, but is also used for making ale. Ale is used at the tavern to unfreeze frozen dice during the winter months. And in Dice Legacy, this is only one of the many issues that will be thrown at you frequently.

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Gather up your resources

There is an awful lot going on, and often Dice Legacy feels like you are being more reactive than proactive when playing it. It has a nasty habit of just constantly throwing issues at you, to the point where it feels a bit restrictive when playing.

As well as the dangerous winter months where dice can freeze – and therefore be unusable – dice can become sick. This causes their remaining turns to drop down to zero until they are ultimately ‘killed’. Worst of all, if these sick dice are used in conjunction with another dice to build, forage or something else, this sickness can be contagious and pass amongst other dice.

Then there are the enemies. In the ‘tutorial’ mission Stranded, your primary objective is to find out where the band of mercenaries are residing. Tutorial is in inverted commas because it is a real baptism of fire, and there should be no shame in choosing to restart if things go awry.

The mercenaries make infrequent appearances as you begin to get to grips with the game, but the more you progress, the more frequent they come down and try and destroy your village. You can use soldier dice and peasant dice to repel their attacks, providing the die is facing on the sword side anyways.

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Take to the battlefield

Despite there being a large amount of content in Dice Legacy with multiple campaigns, different characters, endings and more, Stranded is the only campaign open to you from the beginning. It does do a good job of showing you the ropes and the high difficulty in the game, but it also highlights the main issues.

The maps on Dice Legacy Definitive Edition all take place on a ring-shaped world. The buildings and dice you create are all very well detailed, and that feeling of playing a board game is further added to when you look at the design of the game. Though, as pretty as the world can be, Dice Legacy has a nasty habit of blocking your view with pop-up menus when you highlight buildings. These menus even block your dice at the bottom of the screen, covering everything until they disappear.

But, as seems to be the case, the transition from PC to consoles has the same issue as many other city builders: namely the control scheme. Rotating around the ringworld for example is done using the left and right triggers, which feels odd and very out-dated. The other two shoulder buttons are used for rerolling the dice and locking them off from rolls. But even these feel the wrong way round. After years of conditioning to use the right-sided buttons, the right bumper is utilised to lock the individual dice whilst the left rolls the dice.

The d-pad is used for controlling time. Left and right to speed-up/slow-down and holding down will stop time. This is useful for planning and strategising in hairy situations, but with a caveat. You can still view the current state of the world, your encyclopaedia (a very useful tool to have), and most importantly, your dice. What you cannot do though, is place your dice anywhere in preparation for resuming time. You can do pretty much everything else apart from this, and it is incredibly frustrating.

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An interesting prospect…

Presenting itself as a game to appeal to sim fans and board gamers, Dice Legacy Definitive Edition offers up an interesting prospect. The reality though is far more tedious, with frustrating gameplay elements and an incredibly slow pace throughout.

It feels more like Dice Legacy Definitive Edition was designed to test a player’s patience with the amount of issues it throws your way. It is hard, but sometimes not enjoyably hard either. And sadly, no amount of pretty dioramas can ease the frustrations had when slogging through Dice Legacy.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Pretty dioramas to look at
  • Novel concept and idea
Cons:
  • Unfairly difficult at times
  • Very slow paced/li>
  • Repetitive
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - DESTINYBit
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5
  • Release date and price - 26 May 2023 | £16.74
Richard Dobson
Richard Dobson
Avid gamer since the days of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Grew up with the PS1 and PS2 but changed allegiances in 2007 with the release of Halo 3.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Pretty dioramas to look at</li> <li>Novel concept and idea</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Unfairly difficult at times</li> <li>Very slow paced/li> <li>Repetitive</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - DESTINYBit</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5 <li>Release date and price - 26 May 2023 | £16.74</li> </ul>Dice Legacy Definitive Edition Review
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