Developer: Telltale Games
Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Way back in 1990 a little television program by the name of Law & Order hit the airwaves and forever changed the way that people viewed crime procedurals.  The days of the hotshot detective solving a case singlehandedly and saving the day were long gone.  For the first time both the investigative and prosecuting sides of every case were being explored.  It was a big step that helped define a twenty season run on primetime television, as well as three successful spinoffs.  So when it was announced that Telltale Games were bringing the franchise to iOS, the only logical response was, “It’s about damn time!”

Law & Order: Legacies is very much a love letter to fans of the series, quickly establishing a connection to both current and former generations of viewers.  Detective Rey Curtis, the character played by Benjamin Bratt in the middle to late nineties, is paired up with current SVU regular Olivia Benson.  While this may seem like a match made in heaven, this combo is marred by non-star sound-alikes that don’t seem to be completely on top of their game.

The actual game itself plays out primarily through dialog trees, where the player is tasked with entrapping witnesses into making mistakes in their testimony.  Paying close attention to what is being said is the key to sniffing out the potential clues hidden away in each interaction.  This also applies to the courtroom portion of each episode as well, so be aware that there will be carryover.

Fans of the show will be able to see the series’ trademark method of storytelling, which Telltale nailed perfectly.  The problem is that this doesn’t offer much wiggle room for mission variety, which in many cases leaves things feeling repetitive and dry.  As a faithful re-creation of the television program this is an unquestionable success, but that doesn’t always translate into a fulfilling gameplay experience.

On many fronts Law & Order: Legacies is an outstanding re-creation of the crime procedural in interactive form.  However, lackluster voice acting and minimal variety in game mechanics prevent this from being something that will appeal beyond the franchise’s fan base.

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