Raid: Shadow Legends and why I don’t like (a lot of) Gacha mobile games

There are some mobile games out there that are actually quite good. The first Plants vs. Zombies game, for instance, was great! There are also “Arcade”-style games like Pac Man or Space Invaders that are actually well-ported and very much play- and enjoyable on the phone. I also had my fair share of puzzle games in the past, like Doodle God or Sudoku and even know I sometimes install a Chess-App, just to not get too rusty before visiting my parents and playing against my father.

But when I say I don’t like most mobile games, I’m talking about games that are so obnoxiously advertised on all forms of social networks and YouTube videos. Games that are falsely advertised on many ends with gameplay stolen from “actual” games that have nothing to do with the actual gameplay inside of the App. Games whose developers bribe people into sponsorships with a whole lot of money to make them say stuff like “innovative gameplay”, “console-level graphics”, and “absolutely free to play and a lot of fun”, even when they don’t mean it or even when they don’t even play the game themselves.

And while the latter is nothing to be judged – after all, I’ve heard that there is a whole lot of money involved when you get one of those deals and some people really need that money when they make YouTube or Streaming their full-time-job – it is quite concerning when huge Streamers and YouTubers promote stuff that they don’t believe in, which may result in kids playing gambling-style games. In Germany (and probably other countries) there has been the case of “Coin Master” which got promoted by a whole lot of people that have a fanbase of 13-18 years. Coin Master is getting suspected of being artificial gambling and there has been a debate about it being prohibited altogether for kids, as it doesn’t even hide the slot machine aspect of it and as it’s unplayable without using money.

But today’s post isn’t about Coin Master. It’s about a game that exactly uses the “innovative and immersive gameplay”, “console-level graphics” and “free to play and a lot of fun”-keywords, amongst others. We’re talking about “Raid: Shadow Legends”, a game that is shit, I assumed. And then I installed it. To find out if it’s actually as bad as I thought. And I must say, it’s worse.

Now, when you play the game on your phone you’ll realise that the game itself doesn’t look as pretty as you’d expect for “console-level graphics”. If you use “console-level”, you should elaborate on what kind of graphics you mean. N64-era graphics were great and Raid Shadow Legends is better than. Xbox One level graphics are great – Raid can’t be compared to that, though. The graphics are alright. At some point, I played it on PC instead of using my phone, due to storage limitations that made my phone’s other functions not work properly. On PC, you need to create an account, then download a launcher, download that game on the said launcher and then you end up getting thrown into the game.

In-game you then chose your starter-hero out of four classes. A Ranger, a Mage, a Barbarian and a Templer/Paladin. Then you go through a little tutorial and go start “playing” the game.

Playing the game means that you select a dungeon to run through, then fight in three to four combats, including one stronger enemy at the end or even a boss monster. Combat is turn-based and not that immersive or innovative. You click on an attack and select an enemy to attack. Then the next enemy or ally gets to attack. You can speed it up to double-speed if you don’t feel like seeing the animations play so slowly. An option to turn them off altogether would have been neat as well but I couldn’t find anything like that.

The little depth there is.

Around level three, you unlock the “auto”-function. With it, you don’t need to do anything anymore apart from selecting the next mission, hence getting rid of the little gameplay that is existent in the game. If you feel like training your characters more, you may as well use the “Multi battle” feature which allows you to queue up 15 runs, so that you save the time that is needed to click on two buttons between runs.

Another aspect of the game is the collection of characters. You unlock them by paying silver to open Shards that then unlock the characters you then can train. These characters have stars depending on rarity and are stronger the higher the star rating is. Legendary shards have a higher chance on Super Rare characters while normal shards have an insanely low one to get said Super Rares. In the beginning, you will have to open some for the tutorial and probably receive something rare, despite the odds, due to the devs wanting you to see what “great units” there are. Despite them being stronger, these characters then still need to get trained, equipped and skilled.

182 Defense! Fewer clothes mean more armour after all!

The game brags about “over 300 unique champions” when instead there are maybe 50 different once and a ton of variations of the same characters with just different clothes and more or less clothing on. Female characters usually are busty or half-naked, because more skin that is shown means more armour, right? Meanwhile, guys are either muscular or armoured. There are some more androgyne males in the game but those are usually elven mages or something like that. There is not much uniqueness between characters apart from colours and clothing.

While they may vary in looks, characters have the most boring names ever with a few exceptions. There’s “Magekiller”, “Sniper”, “Bully”, “Knight”, “Shadowkiller”, a different coloured “Magekiller” that just looks like Magekiller but has a different element, and the list goes on with stupid names without any character or back-story of sorts. “300 unique champions” is something you have in this game if you close your eyes, imagine 300 unique characters and then dance in a circle until your wish of these “300 champions” becoming unique comes true.

Oh, nice! I got a Lvl. 1 Uncommon character called “Sniper”. Now that’s rad. Not.

Skills usually are the same for most characters with single-target or multi-target spells. There are some status effects here and there like poison, fire and debuffs, I guess, but nothing too strategic or innovative. I found a Support-Character who can protect allies and heal them but there still is no depth to the gameplay. When you play it on Auto-Mode the A.I. does exactly what you’d do. Some may call it “smart programming” others may call it “making the obvious move and just doing the simplest and best way of winning the round”.

Now, to participate in those fights and continue with the poorly-written run-off-the-mill story, you need Energy. Just like in other games, Energy recharges over time and can be refilled using micro-transactions. These micro-transactions are really expensive for the most part, so you either have to wait it out or you take a deep dive into your pocket. You can pay for Jewels (cash), Silver (in-game currency) and all sorts of bundles that combine characters, jewels and gear, and eventually you will have to pay again to continue with the game as it is.

The skill tree that requires you to buy scrolls in starter-kits using real money. Wohoo.

In my two hours of “gameplay”, I hit a road-block where enemies were too strong for my current party and the only way of progressing would have been to get Legendary Shards and have luck with the rolls, resulting in four-star-characters as most of my party members were at max-level, already. Now, I tried enhancing them using other characters and raising their star levels but it didn’t seem to increase their strength at all. So, my options were limited as a free-to-play player who doesn’t want to spend money on a game like this, so I stopped playing.

And that’s probably the point where a lot of people would say that nobody is forced to play the game or that the game isn’t forcing you to pay money for it. BUT – and that’s a big “but” – the game is actually manipulating the player quite easily with a ton of obnoxious pop-ups that give you better offers for skill books, gems, shards, jewels and gear. In my first two minutes of “gameplay”, my screen was covered in pop-ups for a lot of time. The “game” offered me limited-time offers that were up to 90% better than the usual shop offers… but they are only available for the next fifty minutes! Oh no! And the timer is ticking down! What should I do now? I am in fear of missing out (FOMO) and may want to grab this nice deal that allows me to play the game and suddenly I’m buying something in this shitshow of a game that is abusing people that might suffer from FOMO and that might be easily manipulated. Like kids that are playing it on their parents’ phone or kids that know how to access their parents’ data. And parents that think that this is what their kid needs because of all the other kids in school having it already. Welp.

An offer you can get right now that isn’t limited time-wise.

And that’s the last point I’d mention about this game. It’s a pay-to-win shit-game with essentially no gameplay to it that gets rid of its own gameplay by introducing an “Auto-Battle”-button to it and that essentially requires of you that you pay something to gamble for good characters before venturing into the dungeons again where you then stumble across the point of pay-to-win-iness. There is also PvP in the game but it’s not based on skill or strategic know-how but purely on who invested more money into the game to get powerful units. The gameplay is limited to a few clicks per battle. It’s not immersive or innovative at all. The graphics are not bad but they aren’t on – what I’d call – “console-level”. The characters are overly sexualised with no variety or diversity.

Raid: Shadow Legends is not a roleplaying game, it’s, at most, a glorified Gacha-game with turn-based combat and false advertisement. There are issues in this game like the abuse of FOMO and the pay-to-win aspect. And I honestly don’t get why people would play it, apart from the instant gratification some people may get from gambling.


So, that’s it for the post. I’m sorry if it turned into a rant. I tried to look at the good aspects of the game until I realised that there are no good aspects to it.

As the last point: Why don’t I like Gacha mobile games? Well, most of them are filled with micro-transactions and have nothing else to offer, so I don’t like them and usually don’t think much about it. Raid: Shadow Legends managed to not meet my already super-low expectations and is a shit show of a game if you can even call it a “game”.

Have a nice day!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

11 thoughts on “Raid: Shadow Legends and why I don’t like (a lot of) Gacha mobile games

Add yours

  1. Mobile games facinate me, especially Gacha games. The popular ones pull in enormous amounts of money year after year. Every once and awhile I’ll convince myself that I want to try playing one of these and seeing what it’s like and my experience is always exactly as you describe a shallow game that begs me to spend money on it. Yet I also have friends who gladly spend hundreds of dollars on games like Fate Grand Order and Summoners War. I’ve asked them why they play and they know they’re shallow but they like the IP, or the progression, or they “roll on it” when they’re bored. To each their own I guess. I don’t understand it but I’m not the target audience apparently.

    I used to follow a blogger who wrote about their progression in Summoners War. I can’t remember what it was called but to their credit the author made it seem like a very interesting game. At least from that blog gacha games seem like really distilled MMOs where you’re chasing the next level you couldn’t beat before, the next upgrade for your character, or the next long term achievement you’ve been working on. Except without that pesky gameplay part…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess that blogger was falsely advertising the game as well, which I really don’t like. Making something seem a lot better than it is, only to waste people’s times.

    And I don’t hate all mobile games. I just don’t like most of them and this post was more of a rant than anything else, to be honest, nitpicking on everything that is wrong with Raid: Shadow Legends. :D


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