Archives for : RPGs

Moonchild Review

Moonchild an RPG by Aldorlea Games is about a queen whose daughter is kidnapped. Saving the princess and the world alongside it is the quest. Moonchild is a shorter RPG in comparison to other Aldorlea RPGs.  I’m going to keep this review short and give my upsides and downsides to this game with my final scoring.

Good Points:

The dungeon design is great. I loved all of the dungeons in this game. They never felt overly complicated or too straight forward it was a great balance in my opinion. I will admit the end does have one heck of a puzzle, but for being the final dungeon it seems truly fitting.


Avg Points:

The combat was pretty typical and average as far as this genre goes, the only exception was the summons. I admit I really liked the summons and they are what really kept the combat from being boring.

The story is very straight forward and easy to follow. This made the game really good for casual playing without worrying about forgetting what you did or needed to do. Although it wasn’t terribly unique or exciting, outside of the main character being the queen vs some knight.

Bad Points:

The dialog was rather bland. The characters often felt flat and it lacked the humor of other RPGs by Aldorlea Games. The only characters dialog I didn’t find just boring was the queens. The downside was I found the queen to have no real regards for her subjects which is shown immediately in the game. She is also fairly obnoxious and makes rash decisions. I would think as a ruler and star character of the game a little bit of wisdom would be shown.

In the end, I felt this could have been better, but it just ended up average. It might sate your retro RPG fill, but Aldorlea Games has put out better choices.

I give this a 2.5 out of 5

Rating: 2.5/5 ★★½☆☆ 

It’s Might and Match 3: Clash of Heroes

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes is as I’m sure you can tell by the title, a match 3 style RPG game. Yep, Ubisoft and  Capybara Games took Might and Magic Heroes and made a Match 3 game. So what do I think of it, a fan of the original Might and Magic games. I’ve never played a Heroes game yet. Shh.. I know this isn’t a depiction of that series.

First off, even without touching the multiplayer this game has some real length to it. Seriously, it took me 35 hours to beat it and I missed something somewhere. So I can say I didn’t feel it had too short of a single player campaign. How was the campaign though? I thought it’s story was obvious, as well as childish. It had a very pg sort of feel. It made for a very easy to follow or ignore story. If you missed a scene, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to figure out what happened. The story also is supposed to take place before Heroes of Might & Magic V.

Gameplay was simple enough. It was turn based, so you didn’t have to race against your opponent. I used a controller for during the game and the controls were simple. I’d say that from as few keys that are needed, I’d find it rather hard to believe the controls could ever be considered complicated. You play by making matches of units of 3 for the most part to make walls or attacking units. They need to match in color, not always type since there are special units that will randomly appear with one of the three colors. You make you’re army depending on the character your playing. So one character may use archer’s and another might use ghosts, vampires and zombies, it just depends on which main character you are currently playing as to determine what units you can choose from.

While all characters have similar units for there matches there are differences that make certain characters more appealing to one person than another. It may not be drastic differences, but it’s obvious certain characters with certain artifacts are designed for different play styles or strategies.

It does a nice job of making the game simple enough to appeal to causal match 3 gamers, but has enough to entertain serious puzzle gamers, and strategy gamers especially if you can get a multiplayer match going. I think someone going into it for the RPG aspects would be disappointed though, as that aspect is a bit more lacking.

So what is the verdict? Is it good is it bad? Honestly, I liked it enough to play it for 35 hours. After that I couldn’t play it any more, although I could see going back for mp matches. Even with the predictable storyline and simple play, I think that is part of what makes it all work. It’s fun and you can just play it without worrying about some huge convoluted plot with overly complex controls. Its good for a long play session or just jump in play a little and save and exit to come back to later. Without having to worry about forgetting what is going on.

So give this game a go, I give it a solid 4 out of 5. Oh and take a look around this game is out for a number of systems so it’s bound to be available to you on the platform you prefer.

Winter Voices and I’m Frozen

I fell in love with Winter Voices created originally by Beyond the Pillar now owned by Inner Seas. It’s an tactical RPG with a focus on non combat. I know you are probably asking what the hell that meant, well hold your horses and I’ll tell you.

First, what I mean by non-combat is that all the battles aren’t about dealing damage to the enemies. Nope they are about getting to a certain point on the battlefield without collapsing, or surviving a certain amount of turns. Some have a vague clue as to what you are meant to do like lose in a battle that is really easy to survive in. This all may sound confusing, but it really does fit the somber story well.

The story is about grief and the many ways it’s dealt with. As you level up you gain new skills that follow along these paths of grief management. All to better help you deal with the haunting nightmares and terrible memories that you had long since cast aside, but with the tragic event that starts off the game have now come flooding back. All of this makes for an interesting story and interesting game-play.

You even gain experience from the conversations you have as well as completing the “battles”. These conversations can be amusing and annoying depending on what you say and the attitude of the person you talk to.

The 2 aspects many people would probably dislike a great deal about this RPG. First, it is an incredibly somber and slow placed story. Second, there is an incredibly large quantity of what many would call psychobabble on the gambit of emotional turmoil. Now this didn’t bother me for the most part, but there was some points where I thought damn just shut it, I get it I’m sad and feel worthless.

Although this didn’t detour me, I was still heavily into it. Then things started getting bad. I am not really sure what chapter I was in because well the game has some bugs. One I found pretty early on. After I finished a chapter, no achievement was given to mark it. So I sort of lost track of where I was in the game. Other bugs caused me to reload battles because of the rare crash. It all came to a end though when crossing the frozen mountains my game froze. When I reloaded my save it froze again at the same point. Over and over I couldn’t get past that point and well I was not about to start from scratch so while I could never get to the last released chapter.

This is all really sad, becuase until this series of freezes drove me mad, I was more than ready to buy the last chapter whenever it would be released. I even had recommended it in the past. Prior to running into these bugs.

Now I’m incredibly conflicted, I have to rate this a 1 out of 5 simply because the bugs render the game unplayable via certain paths. I do know others have gotten past where I got stuck, but even if you never experience these issues the game is so very unique that I could only recommend it to the person who would like a wordy depressing TRPG.

The Book of Legends Review

The Book of Legends is a RPG in the vein of the old 16 bit genre. Created by Aldorlea Games, The Book of Legends brings back that feel of amazing adventures in a doomed world, that old RPGs did so well. With a long playing time and re-playability, this is a game you just need to hear about. I want to apologize if this review comes off as sounding like a fan review, it is hard to help.

Much like other old school RPGs of this genre gameplay is so simple it doesn’t even need to be mentioned in any real detail. Just believe me when I say you will understand the controls. So lets move on to the fun stuff. You have a large myriad of characters that you have the chance to recruit into your party. Although depending on your actions and who is in your party can effect who you can recruit.  So you can’t get to play with everyone in anyone play through, I know that is a little disappointing but there are just so many characters that can join your party that I doubt, it will be too disappointing.

Like many of the best old RPG’s This game is a time taker. Don’t expect to finish this legend quickly, With over 50 hours to complete more if you play as pathetically as I do. You will have plenty of time to get to know the characters and experience a thrilling old school style RPG.

One change from the old RPG and most RPG’s is the characters dialogs. They are amazing, the things they say are funny, yet don’t diminish from the series atmosphere the game has produced. Jordan the first member of your party and in my opinion your main character is a jerk to put it nicely. I would use another term for him, but his comments are great and the response from his party members are a treasure. This is one of the major reasons it is worth playing more than once as well. Different characters means different interactions.

The story continues to put more pressure on the characters to the point that things get bad enough that you will actually split into multiple parties to fight bosses. This allows you to really experience more than just your main powered up line-up. Every character whether it be human or animal becomes an asset and worth leveling up. All characters have special skill sets and specific weapons they can use so with just over 30 characters in all in the game you may have quiet the variety of weapons and armors needed to fully equip all the characters.

The Book of Legends even has multiple endings, a bunch of side quests and secrets.  The artwork on both the characters pictures and the monsters is fantastic. The music works really well with the game and doesn’t get annoying or drive you to mute it. The only thing that was a little saddening was that you can’t get all the characters in one playing, although the fact that choices affect which characters end up on your team makes the game feel more involved.

This game is fantastic and absolutely hysterical dialog between Jordan and Jasmine and once Clea joins the group it only gets better.  This is a don’t freaking miss it, RPG. I thought Laxius Force was the best Aldorlea Games could bring to the table but the Book of Legends really is legendary.

Without a doubt 5 out of 5.

Avernum: Escape from the Pit

Avernum: Escape from the Pit is a remake/rewrite of the old Exile and Avernum Trilogys by Spiderweb Software. Avernum is a RPG with a Tactical RPG fighting system and plays a lot like Avadon: The Black Fortress, a game I reviewed a while back. Although there are a number of similarities to the two games there are a lot of differences as well.

We’ll start with what is Avernum about. In Avernum you play a group of 4 characters that you create at the beginning of the game. For whatever unknown reason they like many before them have been thrown into a portal to Avernum a cavernous world separated from the surface world. Whatever sins or possibly wrong person you POed you are now stuck in an underground world with no way out in sight. Welcome to Avernum a world of the unwanted. People have been being thrown down here for a long time and have established there own system of survival and your characters must set out to find their place in this new world or maybe a way out.

So that is the gist of the story. You’ll talk to different people get quests and information to lead you farther into Avernum and the secrets that have been left behind. Although the story and the way it works differs greatly from Avadon and most RPGs these days. First since you create your team of 4 from different types or you can even select a custom type to create a team exactly the way you want it. You can chose how they look what their names are and what skills and traits they have. The downside to this is that your characters really have no history or importance individually. You won’t hear anything interesting from them or have any story lines that focus on any individual member of your team. It really is all about your team as a whole.

The game offers you the freedom to attack anyone you would like to. So if you want to attempt to go on a spree you can, although this won’t benefit you in anyway that I can tell. Although it is a good way to get killed pretty quickly as the towns guards come to take you out pretty fast. So give it a shot if you’re daring or just follow the quests and explore the surroundings. Like most RPGs, you will have your kill em all quests, as well as your numerous fetch quests. So many fetch quests you may even feel like stabbing the guy who wants you to fetch some very lame set of objects that may take forever to find on the expansive map. Although unlike Avadon in Avernum pretty much everyone is friendly which is a little strange figuring that these are the people kicked out of the surface world for whatever reason. Prison makes strange bedfellows I guess and Avernum is in a way a very large prison, that offers more freedom than the surface world albeit with a higher mortality rate.

As far as gameplay goes, point and click is the key to it. Much like Avadon in this way, I never really used the keyboard for much of anything. You just point and click then your character moves to that location on the map or if in battle they move as close to there as possible. Selecting spells is easy even if you don’t put them on the quick bar at the bottom. It is just a click on the spell type priest or mage and select the spell you want then click the target. If your character is too far away they will move closer to get the shot off. While there are warrior skills you can learn as well that allow you to deal more damage in a single attack they all have a recoup time denoted by fatigue. Overall the games battle mechanics are simple, straight forward and fairly easy to grasp. All battles are played out where the floor is like a grid of squares that you and your enemies maneuver to gain line of sight or get next to them to pummel them with your weapon.

Leveling is easy to grasp as well, yet can be a bit hard to determine the best route to go with your characters. The first part of leveling is picking which attribute to add a point to; strength, dexterity, intelligence, and endurance. These attributes are all pretty straight forward. Next you will get 2 points to add to your skills, whether it is archery, mage skills or lock picking or any of the  other numerous choices. This is the part that choosing your route becomes very important. How much tool use/lockpick skill do you need in the group or are you going to find a book that requires more points in arcane lore than you already have?  I found myself many a times lacking the skill levels necessary to do what I wanted at the time I found something. Requiring me to go get experience to level up and go back to the object I couldn’t open or use at a later time. The last part of leveling is every two levels you get the chance to choose a new trait to add to your character. These traits seem dependent on both your attributes and skills you have chosen. This is what can give your mage that extra oomph from your warrior you decided to turn into a swordmage. Yep, that is also a trait and I’ll say I was happy to see it.

The things I found lacking was that objects on the ground are very often hard to see. This can make some fetch quests a royal pain. You end up taking a few steps only to check the ground again finding nothing or a rock. The music isn’t bad, but it isn’t grand either. It just sort of blends away and is quite forgettable. The last thing is that your characters have no stories, you don’t get to pick one or give them one in game they simply are and they stay together simply because they came through the portal together. There is no interaction with them and I couldn’t help but feel like they as a whole might as well be just one hero. The last thing I wasn’t to fond of was the reputation system it goes up from completing quests and it helps to open up more quests and get people to talk to you who would otherwise be uninterested in your arrival. While it is an interesting mechanic the encourages you to do the quests it also makes you feel a little constrained into doing things like the fetch quests and other things just to build your reputation.

So while Avernum is very open world with a large map to explore and a myriad of quests to take, I miss the deeper intrigue you get from other RPGs. While the game is nice and has a very retro feel to it storytelling wise it just didn’t grip me the same way as other RPGs. It does offer a lot of character build choices and plenty of locations to explore, but I could only give it a 3 out of 5. It is a solid game and has more plus than minus when it comes down to it. If you love RPGs and TRPGs give this game a shot if not you will probably be bored pretty quickly.

Indie RPG Laxius Force Review

Aldorlea GamesLaxius Force is the indie RPG for review today. This PC title is the first in the Laxius Force games of which there are 3. The Laxius Force saga is comprised of 3 free games the Laxius Power trilogy and 4 purchasable games Laxius Force trilogy and 3 Stars of Destiny. Starting off with Laxius Force and having never played the Laxius Power trilogy had me worried I might be a little lost, but that ended up being pretty unfounded.

First of all you need to know for Laxius Force’s story and the back story of the characters is told through characters talking about their past and the events that transpired. A nice aspect is that it is done in a way that you don’t feel lost about stuff or filled with way too much info at any given time. So the game is able to stand on it’s own and act as a great first game to the Laxius universe. Now lets get on to the good and the bad of Laxius Force.

Let’s start with the good. It is a 16bit styled RPG that unlike the other two games by Aldorlea Games that I reviewed, “Sylia” and “Dreamscape“. This game focuses more on the traditional and serious aspects of Fantasy RPGs. Don’t get me wrong there is humor in the game, just not to the degree that the other 2 games had. During battles your characters aren’t visible as the enemy stands in front of you. Battles are turn based, you set your team’s attacks and when you’ve set the last characters attacks they will perform them based on their speed while the enemies attack will occur during same phase, much like most standard RPGs.

Another good thing about this game is the story and the characters in it. Nope you won’t be fighting with a team of pets or farm animals this time. It is hero’s, werewolves, skeleton warriors and the like. With a strong story you begin with one group, but soon switch to the characters you will mostly play as the retired heroes Random and his Elven girlfriend Sarah. They come out of a 7 month retirement after having saved the deport and want to see what has happened since they pretty much went off the grid. They have both gotten rather rusty in the 7 months, so they are back to starting from scratch to work up all their skills. As they talk to people and complete quests they meet people who will join your team. The story seemed to drag me into it and I found the writing for it pretty good to boot.

Now there was only 1 thing I didn’t quite like about the game and that was some of the artwork for the villains during battles. Don’t get me wrong the artwork for the character portraits has a nice look to it. As far as the enemies appearance in battle not all of them look sketchy, just some. Overall though this didn’t ruin the game experience or anything near that level. It’s just not as refined as some of the other games they have made.

In the end I rate this game a 4.5 out of 5. It’s solid story, interesting character conversations, and numerous playable characters make this game well worth playing.

Indie RPG Dreamscape Review

Dreamscape is a lot like Alice in Wonderland, in its own way. You’ve got a snide talking cat, a viking rat who may be as close as you get to the mouse at the Mad Hatters table and you even have a talking flower to boot. With the main character feeling pretty lost and confused about the worlds in which she travels, I couldn’t ignore the similarity. The premise of Aldorlea‘s Dreamscape is that Erin’s boyfriend has disappeared into the land of dreams, but not before he gave her a device to enter others dreams. With this device you must find your boyfriend and return back to the real world, until then on with the fanciful adventure.

Dreamscape plays pretty much like any 16Bit style RPG does. As you play you gather more team members each with there own unique abilities and preferred weapons and equipment. Although this isn’t a merry band of Humans, Elves and Dwarfs off to save the world. Nope it is just Erin and a strange collection of people/beings you meet in the dream worlds. You will jump into the dreams of people you meet and can exit the way you came in or jump into the dream of another person you meet or person within your party. This allows a lot of back and forth into different landscapes, something you will need to do to advance farther in certain realms. You won’t be worrying about random monsters though, they appear on the screen for you to avoid or confront depending on you.

An interesting aspect that adds some difficulty to the game is the lack of a healing item inventory. Within the dreams you will find food of all sorts that will heal your party. Certain characters more than others depending on the food type. The true kicker is once you pick it up it is used immediately and removed from the map. So you need to use them sparingly and make sure it is the right item for the character needing healed most. There is a bit of a safety net as far as healing goes. You can use a fairy that appears near where you start, at a cost. If she heals your party the dreamworlds will react and make the game more difficult. So using her can be more headache than help.

The scenery is great, one minute your in Egypt’s desert then the next minute you could be in London at night while it rains, or a mouse cave full of cheese. All this adds to not only the atmosphere, but the freedom of the game. Between the cute jokes, character banter and ever shifting atmosphere things always feel fresh and interesting. The story may seem to fade out at points, but your still roped in to seeing what the next dreamscape will be like or who/what will be the next character or danger you’ll face.

This RPG may seem a little bit too cute for some, but that doesn’t make it easy. Even if you put it on the easier modes. With tons playtime hours of adventuring it’s also not your quick indie RPG romp. You’ll be setting aside a fair amount of time to uncover the mystery of the dreamscape and what your boyfriend was so afraid of.

I never felt to lost in any particular dungeon, nor did I find it impossibly complex to advance through things. I give this RPG a 4 out of 5 for the interesting story and area layout, not to mention the diverse worlds you enter as well as it’s old school game play, and the hours of playtime you will get out of it.

Runespell: Overture Review

When solitaire just isn’t enough, Runespell: Overture by Mystic Box is now here to fill the void. You know that void between Solitaire, Poker, and RPGs or card dueling games. Runespell is a little of all these and puts it together in a nice little package for the PC.

To be honest Runespell is a lot less RPG than it is a card dueling game with a few sprinkles of RPG elements. Those elements consist of an actual story with quests outside of your main goal. Primarily the game and story is told through the duels between you and other characters and monsters, as you try to find out who you are and what you are meant to do. The story takes place in the dark ages as Christianity and the old religions butted heads, you are taken to a land that is still filled with magic and the old ways primarily Norse.

As you walk along the various paths you find enemies appear on the map, some you have to face others you can choose to. When you enter a battle with an opponent you have your hit points, rage points and your equipped power cards. You will be attempting to make hands of 5 cards like poker. When you have a poker hand depending on how good the hand is you can use it to make an attack worth an amount of damage based on how good the hand was. No wondering how much damage you will do with these attacks. When you attack or are attacked your RP goes up although the same happens to your opponent.

When you have gained enough RP you will be able to use a power card. Power cards have many types of effects, like direct damage of specific elements or defensive shields. There are healing cards and poison type cards as well as cards that increase the amount of moves you can make on your turn. These cards act as spells and assists from allies. Some have infinite uses while others will run out and you will need to purchase more of that card to use it in future battles. You can also sell cards you have obtained from fights to purchase more of cards you need. Before each battle you have the ability to change your equipped cards for the fight.

The means of making a poker hand and when to activate a hands attack are up to you. You can steal cards from the opponents piles as long as they are not already grouped with other cards. The opponent on his turn can and will do the same. When you move a card from a pile on your side the next card is shown, although when you remove a card from the enemy the next card will not show until there turn starts.

While all the battles seem pretty even matched. As you progress and get better cards you will reach new enemies that will match you in difficulty. I found it really hard at times to get ahead and had to go back to get a bunch of cards to sell and buy more useful cards, just to keep the battles from feeling so 50/50. So although I wasn’t grinding for levels like you might in some RPGs I felt acquiring the cards for each new step ended up being pretty much the same.

I think a huge downside to this game is that although it is a card dueling game, there is no multiplayer. An aspect that is pretty much a standard in the dueling games not being in this game seemed odd. It really is more about the story and the solitary gamer.

Honestly, I like this game even though I had a tendency to want to take breaks from it. It felt so much like playing a variation of Solitaire when you are grinding that I would have to step away before coming back to it later.

I give this game a 3 out of 5, mainly because if you’re not into card games you probably won’t be into this. Pick up the demo and give it a try it is a interesting game.

Sylia the RPG Review

Aldorlea Games the makers of the Laxius Force and the Millennium RPG series published Ensorcelled GamesSylia. Sylia is an RPG of the SNES style JRPG with turn based combat. Though it does have a few differences from your standard fare. Sylia left me with a number of mixed feelings.

Sylia starts off with a pretty standard storyline. You have four hero’s; a sword and shield knight, an axe wielding knight a white mage and a black mage. It is there job to stop the alien queen from taking over the planet, and although you start this game feeling like you missed the whole war. Which you have they have not succeeded yet, but the humans are celebrating their heroes before they go off on their last and most dangerous mission, to kill the queen alien. I’ll tell you this much, there hasn’t been a bunch of heroes I wanted to fail more than these cocky and ignorant heroes. Their conversations amongst each other was more painful than Tidas and Yuna’s mock Casablanca whistling scene in Final Fantasy X. Luckily we don’t have to listen to this group for very long.

They fail and they doom the world. With all of the human race stoned a very unlikely and completely unexpected set of heroes rise to save the day. Basically the animals of the world go after the aliens, it’s either that or let the aliens destroy the planet. Now the conversations between your new team are no longer annoying although they are nothing to get hyped about. Sylia has a good number of rpg cliches, but the animals do have some interesting abilities. This can make for some interesting parties, and you really do have a selection. It isn’t hard to get a decent team together.

What is hard is the game. Where the story seems like it could be great for all ages the puzzles will have even the best of RPG players scratching their head. The forum on Ensorcelled’s site may be your only hope of completing some of the side quests. Most Quests are handed to you with only one short line as to what they want. Telling you nothing about where you need to go or even the direction. These incredibly vague quests are definitely for the hardcore RPG fan.

The same can be said with the dungeons. They are all difficult mazes that may have you walking in circles with few rooms that contain something that breaks the pattern of the walls and floors of that dungeon. Don’t get me wrong I liked the added complexity, but there were definitely points  even in the first dungeon with the new team that I got lost. Ended up leaving and re-entering the dungeon a few times before I figured out what I needed to do to get through it.

As far as the music goes, I would say it is average and there is a nice option in game to set your own battle music between a few choices. This makes the music a bit more enjoyable. As far as art, much of the games art work is repetitive patterns. Much like many old SNES and NES games so this only bothered me while searching for definable land marks. The controls for the game are incredibly simple and take no real skill to learn so that is a plus when you are wanting to just jump right in.

Now let me tell you why my feelings are so mixed on this RPG. When I first started, I had to force my way past the prologue and even a little into the story. I had some real difficulty getting into the story, once I did though I really started to get going and the next many, many hours I was having a pretty good time, even when I was looking for the solution to a quest with basically nothing to go on. Then came the wall. I hit it so hard I didn’t know what to do. I looked in the forum and things pointed towards a object I had seen once but didn’t go and click on it left the room and noticed it right before the screen changed to the next room. I immediately had went back, but it was gone. When reading over what I needed in the forum it appeared that this object was the key. So I spent hours going into the room, out of the room and back into the room to get this randomly spawning object to respawn only to find out according to another response in a different forum thread that you only find it once. So because of that I know I missed my chance at it and found out that it wasn’t the thing I needed either.

I seem to be lost once again in the game and I don’t think I can bear any more hours wasted on just trying to find my way out of this dungeon. I felt I spent way too much time with one issue already that I don’t have the patience to do it again any time soon. Do I think this game is good? Yes. Do I think it is hard? Yes. Do I think the non-RPG player would like it? Honestly, I think the game is more directed to the hardcore RPG audience.

I give this a 3 out of 5, There is a lot to like for the skilled RPG player, but a bunch to infuriate most other style gamers. Download the demo first.

Avadon: The Black Fortress Review

Avadon: The Black Fortress is a tactical RPG for the PC created by Spiderweb Software. This TRPG does have an interesting storyline where the questions and your responses may change your view on things. One the things that Avadon boasts is that you can be the loyal hero of Avadon, the indifferent merc or even do something along the lines of bringing Avadon down.

From playing this game, I will go over what I know and how I feel about this RPG. Now I haven’t finished the campaign so I don’t know the end yet, but from what I have played this game grabs a hold of you and pulls you in. Although humorously, about one of the only characters you may like will be your own character, I thought that pretty much everyone was a snake. With all the political intrigue going on around you, you may quickly become suspicious of every single person you talk to, and that even includes the 4 other characters you are teamed up with throughout the game. In one situation a simple statement was made that caused an argument between two of my own teammates (Hands are what they are called). It was quite humorous but I had also thought I would like to stab them both at that moment for being so unprofessional in front of others.

That right there is what leads me to, what is this game really about and how is it played. When you start the game you will pick a character from one of the 4 types, Bladesmaster (Warrior/Paladin), Shadowwalker (Theif/Ninja), Shaman (Druid or Nature Cleric/Summoner), or Sorceress (Mage/Psychic/Thief). The reason I elaborated on the classes is that they are all sort of a blend of some of your typical RPG classes but none are quite the same. What class you pick is entirely up to you, and it’s biggest aspect is that in all missions that is the one class you are guaranteed to have with you. Don’t worry about the other classes they all quickly become available as partners for your missions.

Now the story starts out with a really good plot. 5 countries have formed a pact to stop the warring amongst each other to allow them to face the greater threats from outside. To keep this pact working and to help the countries protect their borders, the black fortress of Avadon was born. Hands, who go out and do missions and do the dirty work. Eyes, who are the people who sneak around for Avadon to find those who are attempting to destroy the pact or just to keep a general eye on the things going on. Finally The Hearts, are the people who take the information given by the eyes, hands and the scores of envoys that come to Avadon and chose what Hand to send out on a mission and how many people they can take. This is where you get your missions and where you decide who will come along with you, but don’t worry if you hate them, on your next mission you can change it up.

While on these missions, you’ll take side quests and do whatever you really want to do. Be nice to the locals, or be cruel. Heck, they probably fear you already. If they don’t you can probably make them if you want to. One of the great things about the games story of politics and backstabbing and loot grabbing is that instead of being lead around by more experienced hands, they are all to busy and although you are the new kid on the block, you have to be better than the 4 screw-ups that no other hand wants to use. So they become your responsibility and you are given missions instead of the screw-ups who have been there longer. It’s up to you to find out why no one else wants them, if you feel inclined to get to know your fellow hands. Through your missions and the people you talk to, you will start to get a better idea of what is going on and what you may have to do in the future.

Now lets get to how is this game played. As you play you will level up, each level you can increase one stat by 1 point: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Endurance. You will also be given 2 points to place on your ability tree. Depending on your class will depend on what abilities you have available to your main character. It takes 2 points to take a new ability that you meet the requirements for. Once you have taken that ability you can place 1 point on it while placing the other point somewhere else if you chose. It’s really up to you. At level 5, 15, and 25 you can take one of 3 specializations that enhance certain abilities that your character possesses. You will also be leveling up all 4 of the other hands, So you might want to make the hand that has the same class as you focus on different abilities. This is called training the hands. One nice feature about this is that although you may favor certain classes for your quests, all of the hands will gain experience even the ones left behind. So whenever you return to Avadon train them, you never know if you might need them in a hurry.

I only say this because the game leaves you feeling like at any point any where some one might try to kill you. Maybe it’s just me, but the game feeds into the paranoia aspect. You venture around like you would in Diablo, but when a fight starts the map is all squares and turn based. This is nice since it gives you the time to think out strategies or just send your characters rushing in to cut down the enemies the old fashioned way.

The game is all point and click, there are keyboard shortcuts although the space bar really was the only one I learned. The space bar is used to end a characters turn. The game also has a little bit of music, but not really that much. I often found myself wandering around a wilderness just to notice how quiet everything was. I actually liked this in a way I didn’t expect to. It gave it that feeling of being alone. You wandered and it was all quiet, but if a wolf was approaching or near you, you might here it howl or growl. So it sort of feels like they decided to pull out the standard RPG music and instead let the setting bring the feeling out. Since you’re never walking a world map but instead are moving within areas, the objects always match the size of your characters.

I have played this game for hours on end and only enjoy it more and more. I give this game a 4 out of 5. I know there are some simplicities to the game, as well as it’s lack of constant music, that may turn away some fans of RPGs and TRPGs, but as far as engrossing you into the story and making you decide what you will do this game does it and never lets you feel safe around anyone. I just love that.