Elder Scrolls Legends: Return to Clockwork City Review
Return to Clockwork City is the latest expansion in the Elder Scrolls Legends card game that revolves around the mysterious mechanical city of the same name. It includes an interesting 35-mission main quest full of memorable fights but over 55 new cards ranging from questionable usefulness to questionable brokenness. While the new cards don’t change the meta in any big ways that make the expansion a must have, those interested in the lore will find some satisfaction in the new challenges the single player throws at them, even in spite of it not quite being worth the price of admission.
Much like Legends’ main quest, Clockwork City takes pieces of Elder Scrolls lore and frames it around a standard adventure fit for multiple card fights. What starts off as a search for ancient treasure becomes an unraveling of one of biggest mysteries in Elder Scrolls, including Skyrim-era set pieces fans of the main series of games will recognize.
The narrative is nothing groundbreaking, but for a card game story mode that could have easily been as incidental as the main quest seemed at times, I was more impressed than expected. Part of this is likely due to the fact that this story utilizes the lore much more effectively than the previous outings.I feel like the whole “treasure hunting,” vibe gets dropped a bit too quickly in favor of a traditional “save x” adventure, but it was enjoyable overall, and the branching paths offer a bit of variety and narrative freedom.
The narrative also ties in well with the gameplay – Legends’ campaigns have always been able to effectively represent an actual story beat or fight through the decks and rules at play, and this trend continues with Return to Clock City, making the variety of deckbuilding puzzles more engaging.
The rule tweaks at play can be anything from a simple mana gain every attack to an entirely new premade deck complete with different objectives. This expansion introduces actual puzzles in this expansion. In these events, you and your opponent have a premade decks, and you have a goal that isn’t necessarily the standard “reduce enemy health to 0” objective. These round types offer more variety, and I enjoyed them overall despite them being a bit easy at times. The campaign was a decent length, but for the price of 1000 Gold / $7.99 per Act or 3000 Gold / $19.99 for the whole bundle, I feel like the content offered is just barely worth the admission price, and I can see others being less forgiving.
My main issues with the expansion stem from the new features introduced. The expansion introduces the creature type Factotums, humanoid mechanical beings of the Clockwork City, as well as two new card mechanics, Assemble and Treasure Hunt. Players that use a creature with Assemble can choose one of two bonuses, and that bonus will affect that specific creature as well as every Factotum in the player’s hand and deck. Creatures with Treasure Hunt watch each card the player draws to see if it’s the treasure they’re looking for. When the player has drawn everything that creature is looking for (this can happen over multiple turns) the bonuses for that card activate. Also introduced with this expansion are Fabricants. These cards allow you to build a custom creature through the use of random stat and effect generators. You first choose between 3 sets of stats with random costs per creature, and health and attack stats. You then get 3 random effects that could be anything, from keywords to gaining health or a random effect on summon.
The new cards rely heavily on random chance – and I am sure some pro player specializing in building meme decks could cobble together something relatively playable – but for the average or even intermediate player, these aren’t worth rolling the dice on” Thankfully the new regular cards fared a bit better with the community. They weren’t deck-defining meta-changing cards as some might have hoped, but they will definitely find a place as additions to existing decks.
Clockwork City was not anything breathtaking, and in my point of view was barely worth the entry fee – decrease the price by a third or half, and you’d have a perfectly priced expansion. Those who need all of the cards right away will pick this up regardless, but I’d advise fans who only play the campaigns to wait for a sale.
- The campaign is varied and fun. The duels are contextualized within the story well
- Artwork is a bit more consistent this time around
- Not quite enough content in the single player for me to recommend it at full price, even with the bundle that includes all the acts
- While the cards aren't bad in of themselves, there were not enough new build types or changes to the meta for the expansion to be worth a purchase based off of the cards alone.