by Chris Priestman
reviewed on PC
Someone Call The Jester
When you are not overlooking your kingdom from the managerial perspective, you will be getting stuck into the quests by guiding the chosen hero Sim through a number of tasks. A big positive for the game is the ability to create every hero to your own liking. This includes how they look and what they will wear, but more importantly how they will act. This is decided by selecting two positive traits and one fatal flaw. Each can be unique in their own little way and it is a nice blend of the usual Sims life management with an RPG-like class system.
When you get in to the nitty-gritty of the game, it seems quite engaging at first with the different parts of your kingdom to explore, and the variety of abilities each hero has. Being a monarch at the start is great fun when you have a servant to bring you food, and a whole bunch of important decisions to make for your kingdom. Throughout the quests you are also presented with a choice of how to handle a situation, which can sway the result of the quest. It does make you think a little which becomes vital to keep you interested.
After you have settled in though, things take a turn for the worse in more ways than one. The only way to play the game is by adhering to the timed demands of the quest, so you are forced to almost rush through quests to get the best result and the most RP in return. It does keep you busy at all times but by trying to attend to the chores that pop up every 24 hours as well as following the main quest line means there is no time to do what you want – an important trait of the series. Fortunately, there is a free mode after you have completed all the quests for that kingdom, but then there is not much to do as you cannot actually design your own buildings, you are given pre-set constructions. So the only thing to do is socialise and furnish the buildings. This is barely a third of what you can normally do in a typical Sims game.
Questing Without The Adventure
Quests become quite boring through repetition very quickly. There is a little variation but they soon end up becoming click, fast-forward, click, fast-forward, click, fast-forward. The worse thing though is that this is not a fantasy world. There are no fantastical creatures or even animals for that matter. Using the previous example of slaying goblins, you don’t actually see any goblins; they are tucked away in a cave that your Sim enters and then exits a few hours later to tell you about it. It’s the same with everything. My knight was tasked with killing a giant whale in the ocean: they went off in a boat, I sat there in fast forward and waited for them to come back to tell the tale. Similarly, my market stall owner went into a forest and turned a frog into a queen by kissing her while I waited with my hand pressed to my cheek.
I realised at one point that the game makes itself very clear from the start that you are The Watcher, because that is what you do; you watch! You cannot get too engaged with one Sim like normal because you are forced to whip them through the quest (lest they are arrested and humiliated in the stocks), and then you will more than likely use a different Sim for the next quest. The only real challenge in the game is when you are trying to guide two Sims to conclude the same quest, and then it just becomes annoying as you switch between the two, usually quite rapidly, and are met with loading problems in between. Of course the whole experience is something that fans of the series have grown used to as the rest of the gameplay makes up for it.
Initially quite fun, overseeing your kingdom can be quite satisfying, medieval setting adds variation to the series.
Lacks depth, feels like half a game, very repetitive, not very engaging.