Hey You Should Play This - Shadowgun Legends

Shadowgun Legends is a mobile first-person shooter by Madfinger Games that-- wait, no, don't leave! Hear me out on this one. Shadowgun Legends might just be the best, most substantive mobile experience I've ever had.

Most iOS or mobile games are just complete time-wasters that barely feel like full games. Sure, there's a lot of phone games that can be fun and a great way to kill five minutes, but you never get that same whole feeling you get from playing a game on a real game console. Almost every phone game feels like it has been paired down or neutered in some way to either appeal to the great unwashed masses or to fit in with some inane free-to-play marketing scheme. Shadowgun Legends is the first mobile game I think I've ever played that doesn't feel that way. It feels like a real honest-to-god video game that just happens to be running on your iPhone (or Android).

I'll not beat around the bush as to where Shadowgun gets its mechanics from-- it's pretty much all cribbed from Bungie's Destiny games. You shoot and loot, get new equipment, and level your character, gaining new skills and abilities along the way. Your quality of equipment even adds up to a certain power level rating you'll constantly be trying to improve, just like Destiny. But this isn't just Destiny, Shadowgun Legends is Destiny you can play on the toilet-- and what else could you possibly want in a game? (There's a hell of a pull quote. You can put that on your app store page, Madfinger Games).

Of course, the game does make concessions for the fact that it's a game you are playing on a phone, but only in smart ways that really work for it instead of against it. Shooting your primary weapon is automatic-- instead of pointing and shooting, you're just pointing. It makes gameplay feel faster and leaves more screen real estate for you to actually see what is happening rather than look at a big digital shoot button. Of course, if you don't like that you can always turn on a shoot button as well, heck, there's full controller support if you are looking for that. The level's lack a lot of the verticality that Destiny has, but they are designed smartly to where it doesn't feel like it's missing something.

Shadowgun Legends mechanics may scream Destiny but it does make itself stand apart in terms of setting. Shadowgun doesn't take itself nearly as seriously and takes place in a sort of scummy future where fame is everything. After each mission or activity, you are awarded fame points which put you on a leaderboard with all the game's other players. The center of the game's multiplayer social hub has an enormous statue of the highest ranking player. Surrounding the statue is some very Hollywood Walk of Fame-style stars with the rest of the game's top players. Video screens all over the world project images of players as they log in and off. High ranking players are announced like royalty when they log in and out of the game. It goes a long way into building an interesting world. The social hub exists for more than picking up missions and buying and selling guns too-- there's a functioning casino where you can gamble away your hard-fought credits and a bar where you can get your character drunk and get food for buffs on your next mission. There's even a premium item called a money bomb that makes explodes money out to all the other players in the area, effectively allowing you to "make it rain" in the club.

The game is surprisingly fully featured too. Not only is there plenty of single-player missions, but there's also PVP deathmatch modes and PVE dungeons as well. As I said, there's so much to do here it feels like a whole full featured game experience and not the cheesy mobile ripoff the majority of iOS/Google Play games feel like.

I've only had the game for four or five days and it still has its hooks in me, which is more than I can say for most mobile games. It is of course supported by a premium currency, but so far to me, it seems fair and is mostly used for cosmetics or to buy keys to random loot boxes you find during gameplay, not unlike F2P classic Team Fortress 2. It seems too good to be true and I keep waiting to hit a paywall or find the point where the other shoe drops and the kind of stuff that ruins these type of experiences rears its ugly demonic head. So far so good, though, and I can safely say Shadowgun Legends is definitely worth checking out.

You can download Shadowgun Legends here: iOS/Google Play

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