episodes, each lasting roughly an hour and a half, Law & Order:
Legacies features familiar characters from the long-running Law &
Order television series. As in the original series, the stories unfold
in New York City and are sometimes inspired by notorious, real life
crimes. About half of each episode dwells on the investigation, and the
remainder focuses on the prosecutors as they bring the case to trial. (For
the GameBoomers' review of the first three episodes,
The stories in this first person perspective,
point-and-click game are intriguingly written. The circumstances have been
tweaked so that many of the best-loved police detectives from the series
manage to work together on some of the cases. One of the present-day
detectives is Olivia Benson from Law & Order, Special Victims' Unit;
the other is Rey Curtis from the original Law & Order franchise.
Benson is called in initially because of a crime of sexual violence --
later crimes continue this theme and also involve violence against
teenagers and children. Not surprisingly, these cases include criminals
with "unusual" appetites and habits, as well as tales of relatives who
range from negligent to fiendish on the nurturing scale.
Legacies is definitely not a game that should
be played by children.
The Legacy of Lennie
I watched many of the early Law & Order
episodes when they were first broadcast (the original series ran from 1990
to 2010), and the in-game portrayals of the personalities comport with the
characters I remember. Detective Lennie Briscoe (who died during the
television series) has the best one-liners by far in the game, suiting his
down-to-earth sarcasm. Legacies' voiceovers are professional.
However, none of the original actors voice their parts in the game, and
the voice imitations aren't always exact. District Attorney Jack McCoy
(played by Sam Waterston in the television series), for instance, is very
hard to imitate.
The bulk of the gameplay contains dialog of some sort
-- talking to witnesses and suspects, discussing the case with colleagues,
and examining and cross-examining witnesses in court (you can click
through the dialogs). Characters are usually viewed from the waist up or
in close-ups and, as the dialog progresses, they are seen from two
The characters, their faces, and the environments
show shadows and contours as blocks of color. The visuals aren't
cartoonish, but the effect isn't naturalistic either, more
"impressionistic." Character movement is sometimes stiff and rubbery, and
the pixels at the edges of objects occasionally "dance" while the camera
moves. The graphics are workmanlike -- you can identify the characters and
a couple of the New York City locations -- but they don't sizzle with
depth and detail. You never "walk through" any of the game's environments.
In fact, the only environmental interaction takes place at certain crime
scenes, where you control the camera as you pan around looking for clues.
The episodic time frames in Legacies are
confusing. In the initial, present-day episode, an unsolved Lennie Briscoe
case predating his death (the Preppy Jogger case) is briefly touched on.
In the next episode, Lennie shows up -- we've gone back in time, and the
entire episode appears to be a flashback. The flashback has very little to
do with the Jogger case, however. By the seventh episode, several leaps
back and forth in time have facilitated the gathering of subtle clues that
might give Benson and Curtis a shot at finally understanding and solving
Lennie's Jogger case.
It's a good idea -- having this story arc span
several years and episodes. But it's confusing because the Preppie Jogger
events are woven in haphazardly, and the surviving victim in the Jogger
case is a dead ringer for a completely unrelated character from an earlier
How Shall I Object? Let Me Count the Ways
Legacies presents three major challenges --
searching crime scenes, remembering what was said during dialogs, and
realizing what type of objection to raise in court. Thankfully, none are
Of these challenges, searching is the most "gamelike,"
and though the crime scenes aren't exactly Hidden Object screens, they are
reasonably similar. You use the mouse to draw a circle around objects you
think are important. Occasionally, a correct choice registers only after
discovering the correct angle, so that the object isn't too far away (or
too close).The objects are sometimes identified by shape and name, and
other times are camouflaged within or behind other objects. (Okay, with
the many innovations in the Hidden Object genre, maybe these aren't so
very different from casual Hidden Object screens after all.)
The bulk of gameplay is comprised of multiple choice
menus. To find the right answer you must remember details from previous
conversations or draw inferences from these details. Transcripts are
available if you can't remember, say, whether a witness lived in SoHo or
Chelsea. But constantly recalling detailed conversations -- or reading
back through as many as 14 transcripts per episode -- isn't my idea of
Occasionally the multiple choice answers exhibit some
humor, brightening up the process. But before long these quizzes seem just
like school work. If you aren't careful with your answers, you might be
thrown back to the beginning of the interview or cross examination, etc.,
to try again and to improve your score (revealed at the end of each
Some conversation topics are red herrings. It wasn't
clear whether these add or reduce the final score. I suspect they do
neither and are mere throwaways.
Raising objections during the trial sequences was my
favorite challenge, because it involved analysis rather than simple
recall. Decisions also must be made during the trial, such as what to
offer in plea bargaining sessions. (This is the only detective/crime
related game I've played where it's more engaging to be a lawyer than a
Law & Order: Legacies uses autosave only
within each episode. After you have completed an episode, you can return
to replay from the episode's beginning.
If it's good for the iPad -- is it Good for the
This game released for iOS before the PC, and it
plays as if it was developed primarily with the iPad in mind. Before
attempting all seven episodes on the PC, I played part of the first
episode on my iPad, and found the visuals to be more pleasing on the
smaller screen. Compared to many other iPad offerings, Legacies is
lengthy and complex. Compared to other PC adventure mystery games,
however, it is simplified, repetitive, and a trifle clunky.
Quick List for Law & Order: Legacies
Law & Order episodes featuring the police and attorneys who are among
the most prominent in the series' twenty year history. First person
perspective, point-and-click interface. Stylized graphics, good voiceovers
(though none of the original actors voices his/her character's part).
Dialogs can be clicked through.
Challenges include searching crime scenes, remembering details from
dialogs, and figuring out whether and how to raise objections in court.
Gameplay lacks variety and ingenuity. The game wanders close to "casual
game" territory, except for the intricacy of the stories.
puzzles, no sliding tile challenges, no color or sound based challenges.
No mazes. Autosave only.
include sexual violence and violence against children. No glitches. No
problems with installation. About ten hours of gameplay.
own an iPad, I recommend playing this game on the iPad rather than on the
PC, as the graphics look sharper on the small screen.
fans of the Law & Order television series who know something of its
history. Gamers looking specifically for an iPad crime series adventure
will also enjoy it.
Final Grade: B-
What I played it on:
Dell Studio XPS 8000
Windows 7 Home Premium
Intel Core i5-750 processor
6GB DDR3 SDRAM
1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220
Law & Order: Legacies can be purchased via
download at the
Telltale Games website.
GameBoomers Review Guidelines