I’ve played Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, and the classic D&D Gold Box games. I even own them all now due to the awesome website GOG.com. Recently, the Kickstarted throwback to the old CRPGs that I grew up with was reduced 50 percent. I’d been waiting for a while since I heard good things about the game. I lot of review sites I trust gave it glowing reviews. Therefore, I bought it.
Verdict: if you’re a fan of any of the games I listed above, get it. Now.
It’s depth is surprising. Even overwhelming at first when you get bombarded with tutorials about random shit that might make your eyes glaze over if you’re a more casual gamer. However, once you adjust, it’s an extraordinary game on many levels. The world is rich and dark and you can tell the designers spent a load of time making sure everything felt alive. The character designs are familiar but also bring something new to the table. Having a big dude with pointy teeth carrying a rifle in my party is my favorite edition so far. The characters that join your party have distinct personalities reminiscent of Baldur’s Gate or Dragon Age. Your actions determine their feelings toward you and apparently (I’m still at the beginning) effect the outcome of how your story progresses. That’s just an overview though. I’ll highlight some of the elements that hooked me.
Character creation is a huge thing for many RPG fans. The level of customization and all that jazz are what many people look forward to. I decided to design a character based of Splatter Elf lead character Katzia of Clovenhoof. I went with a Drifter Pale Elf. I’m not sure what that means completely, but it seems my Drifter personality adds to dialogue options. I couldn’t quite decide on a good starter class, so I decided on Ranger. I’ve always enjoyed characters with bows (my Skyrim character was insane with a bow), so it’s been fun to see her develop as I level up. I picked the Easy difficulty for my first play-through and I think that was a good choice. Sometimes I get my ass kicked. No party wipes yet,but I can see it happening down the line. I’m interested to try to create other characters and try multiple options.
Gameplay is like riding a bicycle for anyone that grew up with the aforementioned games. I love the Slow Down option that allows you to make your choices without pausing and still keep things moving along. Characters have awesome abilities, specifically magic users. I expect I’ll play a magic user on my second go around. Chanters are an intriguing class as well, although I’m not entirely clear how their abilities work. You get to fight weird little lizards, the typical spiders (and not so typical) and other monsters that will keep you on your toes. Haven’t had this happen yet, but I’ve read that once a character reaches zero health, they’re dead. Like permanently dead. I both love and hate that. It reminds of other favorites like Fire Emblem and Ogre Tactics. It’s also cool how you can hire (and create) lackeys later on. Of course they don’t have as much depth as the NPCs that can join you, but I think that’s a great addition to the game for people that enjoy balancing a party out to their specifications.
I also have a bear companion. A bear that kills everything. Epic.
3. The Story
So far I’m intrigued by the story, albeit its a familiar “you’ve been chosen” kind of deal. It doesn’t feel as contrived though because the game has a specific feel to it that just feels fresh. There is a lot of dialogue, though. A lot. If you’re not a fan of reading, then you can always skip it and check journal entries, but I personally enjoy it. It’s well voice-acted and just adds a certain level of personality to the game. If it’s (SPOILERS) talking to a dead dwarf woman or farmer-turned-warrior, then it feels alive. Two thumbs up on this up until this point.
My final thoughts? A must buy for RPG fans or people that just love good storytelling and gameplay. I’m still early yet, but I’m sure I’ll update with other posts about the game as I go along. Until then, enjoy these pictures of Katzia’s computer form. (She’s such a badass…)