by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
Fighting on horseback
When you fight, the character is only able to strike at enemies directly in front of himself, so there's no way to perform a strafing run past your enemies, while slicing and dicing them with your blades. Also, you need about 20 to 30 arrows to bring down an enemy with 1000+ health points (depending on your skill and the type of weapon, of course), so the fighting becomes monotonous running away, shooting a couple of arrows and running away again. Curiously, if you get too much distance between yourself and your enemy, they all lose interest in you and start casually walking back to where you found them. The same happens if you happen to step into a building in the middle of a fight. It appears that the concept of a doorway is foreign to the AI and the NPC enemies are unable to follow you inside.
You can also fight from horseback, and I must say that this is better achieved than in many other games I've seen. You actually have to time your strikes in order to hit your enemy as you ride past them and controlling the horse seems pretty realistically cumbersome in restricted environs. Also, you will do a lot more damage with your weapons when you hit your enemy at full gallop, so it may actually be worth it to run past most of your enemies in one area until you can find a horse and then come back to kill all those bandits who shot arrows at you.
The high points of the fighting are definitely the horseback stuff and the stamina. For once, your hero cannot run along swinging his weapon(s) forever tirelessly, but has to actually pay attention to his stamina. And the horseback riding and fighting – although not excellent – are still an improvement to what you can normally expect from RPGs.
When you kill your enemies, you not only get to loot their bodies for coins and items (only rarely you get to loot the armour or weapons that they had when they fought against you), but you also get some experience. Advancing levels takes some thousands of points of experience, but you only get about 45 exp. points when you kill a soldier and much less for less worthy enemies. Perhaps some bigger monsters that I have yet to see will offer more experience, but as it is, you will be getting the bulk of your experience from finished missions. So, you will not want to miss any of them, however dull or unimportant they may seem to the character that you are supposed to be role-playing.
This is a difficult one. If I had not played some excellent RPGs in the past, Hard to be a God would definitely be an entertaining game. But now, having been spoiled by many games, gamers have learned to expect more from new RPGs and there Hard to be a God simply doesn't deliver. My first feeling about the game was that I had been transported back in time to the 90's but with better visuals and I must say that this feeling still remains. Modern RPG players expect MORE free-roaming, non-linear and open-ended game design from their games than Hard to be a God can provide.
As it is, the game is based on a book that sounds like it might be worth a read, but the game itself is merely a nice little action adventure with RPG qualities that would probably have struck gold if it had been made a decade or so earlier. Now, it is just a mediocre game with some good qualities and many disappointments.
No Pros and Cons at this time