Game Reviews

Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion - Book 'em then blast 'em

Star onStar onStar onStar onStar off
Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion - Book 'em then blast 'em
Er, is that a book you're reading?

Sort of, yeah. It's a gamebook. Like those choose your own adventure books you used to play when you were younger. All pencil and paper and dice, that sort of thing.

So you have to draw on your iPad?

You're just being silly now. Although this one's a bit of a departure from the standard gamebook template. It's set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and it's all about stomping through a decaying space hulk, shooting things.

Actually shooting things?

Well not exactly. Rather than rolling digital dice there's a turn-based battle system that brings to mind some of the old-fashioned first person RPGs. You've got action points, multiple weapons, and you're usually facing off against more than one foe.

Hmmmm, then it's not all reading?

It's not all reading, no. But it's mostly reading. The story is told through pages of future-gothic, slime-stained prose. You make a choice here and there, deciding where to go or how to approach a situation, and then you usually end up in a fight.

Are the fights fun?

They're certainly engaging. Figuring out the best plan of attack is key to succeeding. You have a focus move that gives you more of a chance to hit with your next attack, or alternatively a better chance of dodging your grotesque opponent's next swipe.

That didn't really answer my question, did it?

Well, no. If you're looking for an action game then you're going to be disappointed with Legacy of Dorn. There's more to the scraps than you usually find in gamebooks, but the pleasure here comes from the story, from the decisions you take, and from the lore.

You're saying I need to be a fan of 40K to get along with this one, aren't you?

Not exactly a fan. But if you've ever had any interest in Space Marines, Eldar, Orks, or the diabolical forces of Chaos you're definitely going to get more out of this than someone coming in cold.

One to avoid if you've never rolled a d6 in anger then?

Not at all. The story here is still strong, and 40K's trademark grim, gritty interpretation of a distant future all but lost to mysticism and madness is one that's always going to resonate. But it's unlikely to charm you into the ways of the gamebook.

Anything else I should know?

Well this is the first book in a trilogy, and it sets everything up nicely. Plus it's great to see Tin Man experimenting with the form that's given them such success up to this point. There's a dirty, rusty aesthetic to everything that sets off the faux-Latin laden prose perfectly.

Are you going to recommend this one then?

I am. It's not the most original gamebook out there, but there's a gore-sodden wallop to Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion that makes it difficult to dislike. And if you know your Storm Bolter from your Lightning Claws you're going to absolutely love it.

Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion - Book 'em then blast 'em

Another solid turn from Tin Man, Legacy of Dorn uses its licence well, and shakes things up enough to make it feel fresh
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.