Law & Order: Legacies in Review – TV show live and under control

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Before I start, I would like to say that for better or for worse I’ve never seen a single episode of Law and Order. Ever. So as I laid my hands on the recent release from Telltale, I was completely unbiased, if a little surprised. It seemed to me that the TV show in question would not survive the transfer to videogaming well, let alone on an iOS device. Boy, was I wrong. But wait, the court’s in session and the jury have yet to reach a verdict on Law & Order: Legacies.

Law & Order: Legacies heralds another step away from the traditional point-and-click adventure genre for Telltale. This time the king of episodic adventures targets the detective/lawyer model made popular by Phoenix Wright. The gang is back together and they’re on the case, or should I say – cases, starting with a mysterious murder of a gorgeous maid in a run of the mill hotel.

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Law & Order has two distinct gameplay modes addressing the structure of the tv series. First of all you have to guide the detectives in conducting the preliminary investigation. Most of it is interviewing witnesses, though sometimes an examination of a crime scene is required. Noteworthy is the mechanic for the latter – you pan the screen to look over the surroundings and to actually verify if the hotspot is of interest, you have to draw a circle around it. The interviews are quite straightforward and require significant attention to what is being said since even through the course of the dialogue, you’ll be quizzed on whether you appraise the victim to be telling the truth or not and actually provide a basis for the decision. If you ace a particularly important question you’ll be awarded a star, and a certain minimum number of stars are required to pass the scene.

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Once the investigation is more or less complete, the hearing will begin. You will then alternate between questioning the witness and poking holes in your opponent’s testimony by a well placed objection. Based on your performance the jury will lean one way or the other. Naturally you’d want them to support your arguments, and mastering the objections in a variety of flavours is key. Sometimes you’ll even want to retract your objection before giving the grounds for it to disrupt the opponent’s speech without actually having a reason to.

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Graphically Law & Order is quite impressive, with its detailed artwork and characters that nicely resemble the real live actors. The voiceovers are not performed by their television counterparts, but are close enough to the originals that you won’t give it too much thought. I was pleasantly surprised to see the game run quite well on my iPhone 4 which is certainly a rare treat from a Telltale adventure. Also the app is universal, which allows you to enjoy it on both the iPhone and iPad. And instead of releasing a bunch of separate titles, new episodes will be available via IAP as either separate purchases or a whole season pack ($2.99 per episode or $12.99 for all seven).

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I’m not deeply familiar with the Professor Layton subgenre of adventure games but what I saw in Telltale’s latest experiment impressed a whole lot. Law & Order: Legacies is both a solid TV show tie-in and a deep and balanced detective/lawyer adventure that sometimes verges on a simulation. The performance is great even on older devices and the fact that it’s a universal release doesn’t hurt one bit. I can safely recommend it regardless of whether you’re a fan of the genre or series, or simply looking for an enjoyable way to spend a few hours on your iDevice.

With this I declare Law & Order: Legacies officially touched!

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title:Law & Order: LegaciesDeveloper:Telltale Inc
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:4.2
Price:Currently FreeApp Size:160.24MB
  • Varied and balanced gameplay
  • Nice graphics
  • Authentic TV show characters and atmosphere
  • Universal
  • The episodes are a bit on the pricy side

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