It goes without saying that The Legend Of Zelda series is one of most respected and beloved game franchises ever created, as such these games have inspired a mass variety of action-RPG adventure games that try to step up to the plate and imitate the awe-inspiring experience. When it comes to Stories Of Bethem: Full Moon it has glimpses of utter beauty, the rest of the game is very much a try hard clone. That doesn’t make it a bad game, but in comparison to other games in the genre it doesn’t quite live up to the exceptional standards set.
You take control Khoma, a young man residing in Bethem whose father has been cursed by the wicked Blue Witch. Embarking on an adventure that has you cross paths with the Red Witch, the only person able to break the horrific spell. The Red Witch sends you to retrieve the Oneiric Objects of Bethem, each one are treasures that you must endure dangerous dungeons for to obtain. Dull and unimaginative, that is how the story itself is best described, so very cliché and if that wasn’t bad enough you will have to brave the poorly written scripts that accompany the text-based dialogue. Grammatical errors galore and often hard to read, I pray this is down to the fantasy setting and trying to make the speech authentic, even if this was the case the script would be much more enjoyable to listen to rather than read.
Exploration and puzzle-solving are at the heart of the whole experience, there isn’t much to offer in way of structure and guidance, there’s no hand-holding with minor direction, you have to go out on your own and discover the beautiful and cruel world. Trying to figure out exactly what your supposed to be getting on with can get tedious rather quickly, if you find yourself wandering aimlessly from place to place it may be best to search the web for some walkthrough guides and videos, don’t get disheartened if you have to do this either because it’s almost like the game is designed for you to get lost and seek help.
The controls themselves are very simplistic with your typical movement keys and then just four others to worry about, you can keep on top of everything without constantly needing to adjust hand placement. You may notice that there is no melee option, you rely on your magic only which is uncommon when it comes to this genre. I’m not a fan of this, preferring to be an advocate for melee combat and how it ultimately helps with immersion, feeling like your actually doing something. It can often take too many hits with your spells in order to subjugate some common enemies, particularly with your lower level spells, this leads to a lack of defence which can you lead you to an early pixelated grave.
Dungeons are where you will be spending the majority of your time in-game, so you would expect and hope for there to be some depth, with a bit of challenge and not be too much a grind. When it comes to depth, this has it, with the cleverly thought-out puzzles that require a moderately logical mind to overcome not simple by any means but not exactly complex either, it feels rewarding when you figure out how to conquer them. Amongst the puzzles there are a plethora of enemies to keep you busy along the way. At the end of each dungeon you will encounter a boss fight, these can range in difficulty but again with a logical mind, you recognise their attack pattern and rinse and repeat with attacking and dodging.
You get plenty of clean 2D pixel-shaded visuals with Stories of Bethem, you can certainly see what inspired this title in the art style, very much paying homage to The Legend Of Zelda: A Link to the Past. A varied colour palette separates the different areas of Bethem and show a unique style fitting that of either the baron desert lands or the lush green you’ve become accustomed to for forest settings. The fantastic feature of this art style is that in relation to current standards, it still stands out as a great looking game. Similar to the visuals, the soundtrack has been designed with each area getting their own distinct music pieces, for the first few times listening to these pieces you certainly get lost into the fantasy of Bethem, however after journeying through each area time and time again, I cannot overstate how repetitive the music can become.
If you are looking for something to scratch that 2D action-RPG adventure itch, then Stories Of Bethem: Full Moon is a title to consider, it has the content that gives you a lot to get through and keeps your mind sharp whilst you strategize how to defeat your foes or beat the puzzles in your path.
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