by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
Boring dialogue and slow story (cntd.)
When you enter into dialogue with the NPCs, you will just be reading a lot of text and the only interaction you will have is to click on the only response possibility that the game offers you now and then. The game mostly chooses your moods for you and you end up replying angrily even if you didn't see anything to get angry about in the other person's previous line. Even worse are the situations in which you just know that the game is against you: the taverns where the tavern-keeper asks you if you would like to get some beer or food (to heal yourself), but the only response you can give is "No, I don't need anything".
All in all, the story moves ahead very slowly. You will not see a glimpse of the promised Earthling technology for the first tens of hours playing. When the story finally moves forward, it does so through endless badly written dialogues. Still, the material seems to be solid: the human influence on foreign cultures, the spirits and gods of the world in question etc. all hint to a well developed fantasy world. But, truly, I think I'll rather go and read the book instead of trying to wade my way all through this game.
Clothes make the man
One feature in the game that sets it apart from other games in the genre is the clothing that the character can wear. You can, for example, choose to wear thieves' clothes, soldiers' clothes, Dons' clothes etc. And when you choose a particular attire, it will affect the way NPCs react towards you. Naturally, if you are wearing thieves' clothes, other thieves will say something like "Oh, you look like us, so you must be trustworthy" and be friendly with you. But if you are wearing something else, they will simply attack you.
However, in order to be treated like a thief, you need to have at least 4 to 5 pieces of clothing seeped in thievishness and the same goes for fighters', monks' and Dons' outfits. This means that you would have to carry around an entire wardrobe and find suitable phone booths, uh, back alleys, to change whenever you wish to change your persona. Too much trouble for too little gain in most situations and it doesn't seem to affect the big plot one way or the other. On the other hand, this can be an extremely nifty trick if you have a lot of soldiers to take out – simply make them chase you (in a thief's outfit) and lead them into a camp full of bandits and watch them fight it out. You can then kill whoever remains in order to get all the loot you can.
Levelling and action
How about the hack'n'slash then? Well, you do get your usual compliment of sharp weapons to use and some cool moves to use when you gather more experience with one type of weapon. And as the weapon skills are simply divided into four categories: light, medium, heavy and ranged, the skills are pretty easy to accumulate if you concentrate on only one main type of weapon.
Every level you get 1 experience point to put into your melee weapon skills (light, medium and heavy) and 2 points to put in your other skills (ranged weapons, health, diplomacy, stamina and medicine). Why one of the weapon skills is in the different category from the rest, we will probably never learn. All the other skills are self-explanatory, except for the stamina and medicine. The first of these determines how long you can keep on fighting until you run out of breath and the second affects the efficiency of any healing herbs and potions that you quaff.
No Pros and Cons at this time