Law & Order: Legacies
Review by odino
The original Law & Order finished its 20 year run a couple of years ago, with its spinoff SVU still running. Law & Order Legacy is mainly based on the original show but has SVU's Benson as detective in half of the cases. The other detective comes in the form of Curtis, who originally the show in 2000 to help his sick wife at home. In the last season of L&O he was seen as coming back after his wife had died and the game makes the notion that he has returned to work as a cop (now with gray hair, even in the flashbacks to 1999 hmmm). Farfetched as it seems, Curtis was one of the more popular characters and the later detective are nowhere to be seen for that reason alone. Van Buren is also ever-present but nobody else seems to work in the precinct, not even "information-bringing-person" or the lab people. You will also spot another familiar retired face in an episode who interacts with the other cast like fans of the show would like to see. You might have also spotted Lennie who sadly died alongside his actor Jerry Orbach in 2004. He makes it into the game because it jumps back and forth between 1999 and the present to link a cold case that will finally be resolved at the end. This jump also means that the E/DA have changed and you will see McCoy jump from one position to another and Cutter replacing him here, Schiff replacing him here. Law and Order fans will eat this up. The only downside is that for some reason they never replace the ADA and Abbie Carmichael filling the role for all years. She also seems to know characters she never met in the show but I suppose in the expanded L&O universe not everything is only what we see in the episodes. Nevertheless, that is all for the characters. I do have to get something out of the way now. None, and absolutely none of the characters are voiced by the cast members. They all look like their counterparts but their voices are sometimes not even remotely close to it. You would not recognize McCoy from his, but Curtis and Lennie on the other hand are quite good impersonations. As a fan this is disappointing but I would think this way is much lighter on the budget and in some cases for the CSI games some cast members do not like to participate anyway. Oh, Steve Zirnkilton does to the voiceover for the introduction screen, naturally. A small consolation prize I suppose.
As for the gameplay, it's a little dull and you have to pay attention to small details the game thinks are perfectly designed for you to solve it. This is where they are wrong. Apparently if you are paying attention you know that 3 bullet cases were found and thus 3 shots were fired. That makes sense, but in other cases it's not so obvious and you will find yourself guessing a lot, then you get a strike and also lose out on your bonus. The stars might not be important but having to replay the level to get the correct info is tedious and gets on your nerves. If you screw up the case early on you'll also get a hell of a time in court since, like, you haven't got any evidence to convict, or don't know many facts. This is partly realistic and there are many outcomes, but unless you play the perfect solution with a guide you will probably never get it right without a lot of replaying. You can replay the scene straight away to boost your score, so it's not all bad. The question might be if you really want to do that over and over again. You can skip dialogue with a double tap to make this a little less annoying. Even playing with a walkthrough I got just 2 1/2 stars sometimes, which makes me wonder what I was missing but I also have no desire to replay it.
There are seven cases in total, but you have to buy them all. It makes little sense to buy just the first and the 2nd or 3rd later since you'll be paying more that way and in the end you want to see the entire season the cold case has been getting to. Thus, buy none or buy all is my strong suggestion to you. Each episode will take you maybe 1-2 hours at the most, less if you screw up of course. You can also make deals with defendants to skip parts of the court proceedings. Realistic and sticking to the format of the show.
There are two parts of each episode, playing as the police, then later playing as the prosecutor. The police tends to have two styles of play, interrogation and evidence finding. Interrogations/Questionings are done with topics and then guessing if they are true or false statements, and always a questions of why or why not telling the truth, i.e. what kind of evidence or proof do you have to back up your selection. This gets old quickly but I have to say it is very "casual" to play and if you are just interested to listen in, not paying much attention, then this is a game for you. The evidence finding is rather dull too. You get a list of things to find, some with silhouette outlines, then you go through small area and circle stuff. You have a limit to how many things to check (yeah, I suppose the cops are too busy and have to rush out soon, other L&O games had a similar thing with time for investigations. For the prosecutors you mainly have to question and cross-examine witnesses. This is similar to what the police did earlier. The new part is objecting to the defense's line of questioning and rebutting their objects. You might think Phoenix Wright still "objection" but actually this is a little bit more complicated. You have to give a reason for objecting, such as Leading or Not Expert for it to be valid. If you get it wrong the jury will not like your objection, neither will the judge. One issue I have with the The main objective of the court proceedings are naturally to sway the jury to your side as indicated in the bar at the top of the screen. If you have a full bar you also get to make better deals with the defense when it comes to the bargaining table. Interesting stuff. I never ended a case early but did offer a deal once, yet the defense thought it was too high. Having a perfect walkthrough for this almost makes this feature useless so I suggest you try and get your own results, even if it is boring to replay. It will give you multiple endings. If you still can't get the best result then go for the solution.
Graphic-wise the game is nothing spectacular. I have mentioned the characters look like the cast, yet most of the scenes are just interviews and court rooms so there is little to describe here. It is good enough for what the game wants to accomplish and I highly doubt anyone playing this game expects more.
As mentioned earlier the cast do not have the actor's voices. They are still quite good and it also keeps the show's cynical humor, especially the judges. There isn't much else for the theme music and some background ambience, even if you are in the court room you hear people cough and it tries to keep some atmosphere going.
Do I want to recommend this game? Pretty much only if you like the show, and then you have to like it a lot to fully enjoy it, not just "watched a couple of seasons and it seems good". Most of the fun is seeing Abby welcome back you-know-who and so on.
Oddity of the game: Apparently regular detectives now visit the DA for gameplans.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 09/19/12
Game Release: Law & Order: Legacies (US, 12/22/11)
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