By Philip Dunkley
Right, here was a game I was looking forward to. I have never played the PC version of this as I stopped playing PC games a while ago(Watch this space, I might be starting again). Now when I first started this game up, I actually got into it quite quickly, as I really do enjoy the RPG genre, and I know that Oblivion set the standard for RPG’s for the masses, and comparing anything next to it is almost impossible(Please Bethesda, don’t mess up Fallout 3). I enjoyed it for a while, and then things went south very quickly, especially after starting it up yesterday to carry on reviewing it.
I going to start with the basics of how the game fits together, and then give a realistic picture later on. Firstly, this game is linear, really linear. No free roaming (Well if you call walking from one point to next in a Zig-Zag pattern free roaming, then apologies), and the missions are chapter based. It’s basically the same formula as a lot of other fantasy based media. You are Sareth, an apprentice to Phenrig, a magician. You need to take a crystal, that you recover, to another magician, and things go bad from there onwards. You have a female spirit that enters your body, and talks to you most of the game, and acts as a guide in many places. You have certain classes in the game, which provide you certain skills on different combat situations, like ranged, melee and sorcery. But the levelling system is automatic, and will auto upgrade you as you go along in your merry quests, and this takes away most of any RPG elements.
The melee combat is actually quite fun, but gets repetitive as the game progresses, as the enemies are very limited. Another feature that sucks is that when you choose your class, you are limited to that type of combat, and all other items that you collect become Collectors items, and are irrelevant throughout the game(Except that you will get achievement points for collecting them all).
The graphics are based on Valves Source Engine, and as good as Half Life 2 looked back in the day, this looks dated now. Sure the Lighting is not bad, and the textures are average, but the port seems to have been rushed, with no new update in visuals to be seen. They’re not bad, but not great either.
Overall, the game is not a masterpiece, but will appeal to the RPG addict who needs his/her daily fix of RPG’ing to get through life.
But here is where the ranting comes in. This game is as buggy as a cockroach infested hillbilly trailer. I don’t want to count the times I had to load a save game to go back and try again as things did not appear when they were supposed to, or in a boss battle where the main boss gets caught on some random bit of the environment, and then renders itself unhittable or immortal. This is irritating to say the least. Who tested this game, and remind me not to hire them when I build my gaming empire!! I can understand a few bugs, but really, it gets to points where it is unplayable, and really frustrated me.
But there is another problem. The games framerate drops so badly when there are more than two or three enemies on the screen, that it literally jumps from frame to frame. Come on, if the 360 can handle graphics like Call of Duty 4, a three year old engine should be no problem for the console at all, and this just come down to bad coding. This also only seems to get worse as the machine heats up, and I get scared that my console is going to fry.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the title though, and I tend to look at the positive side of life and try to find sunshine amongst the shadows (I really am a literary genius!!).Â Sections of the game are fun, like kicking an enemy into a large wall of spikes, or knocking down a structure to drop a load of barrels onto the enemies head. And the story is not that shallow that I lost interest totally.
It’s just that I really think they could have done so much more with this game, and really it boils down to bad coding and porting. It could have been a good game, but it turns out average, with more bugs and issues than any game should have. If you like RPG’s and seriously need a fix, give it a try.
It has entertainment written all over it, but it seems in a non permanent marker.
Graphics – 60%
Playability – 40% (Due to bugs)
Originality – 50%
Tilt Factor – 50%
Overall – 50% (Very Average)
Last Updated: March 4, 2008