Realms of Arkania: Star Trail seemed like a fun idea in theory. To recreate an old and beloved role-playing game and enhance it with gameplay and graphics that would match todays standards. Sadly though, Crafty Studios seem to have failed this task, or are at least heading down the wrong route with this game. It should be said that this game is in early access, so some things may be excused, to an extent.
The first thing that comes to mind when you first start the game is the music. It’s fantastic. I listened to it for several hours while I played and never got bored. This is one of the points the game developers actually got right. Music never becomes obsolete and can be listened to whenever. Gameplay does not share that immortality however, and that’s the main flaw of the game.
When you first hit New Game, you can choose to play on two difficulties. I’m not sure what the difference between the two are, as I played them both but noticed no difference. When the game loaded I had no idea what to do. There were no tutorial to speak of, so I had no idea of what to do. I just sat there looking at some woman in a chapel for a good fifteen minutes before I knew how to get out of there.
Now I don’t have a bad computer. True is not top of the line, but it’s good enough that it should be able to handle a game like this, but the frame rates in the city once I came out of the chapel was atrocious. Once again, the game is in early access and may not have been optimized properly yet. Once in the city you get introduced to the story, which is not very clear. I think you have to bring something valuable thing to someone in another city, but the storyline is not even beatable, one again thanks to early access.
I have to say, once you get introduced to the story and are free to roam around the city, the graphics are really quite good. It’s definitely not top of the line, but it’s certainly not bad. The only complaint I might have had about the graphics is the boring green and brown color scheme. It’s rather boring to look at, but once again, not bad-looking.
Once you explored the city and try to leave, you are greeted with a map and different destination to which you can move, and thus beginning the most boring and mind-numbingly repetitive gameplay I’ve ever played. You click where on the map you want your party to move and they follow a given path. The thing is, it takes forever to get to the point where you want to go and the party needs to rest every thirty seconds. So you let the party rest, gather resources, and then it’s off to the road again.
Now, there are supposed to be battles along the way, but with over eighteen hours played, I encountered ONE battle! ONE! So let’s talk about that one. The battle system is very much like XCOM if I could compare it to anything. You take control of one of you party member at a time and you can either move or attack on an isometric grid. The A.I seemed smart enough, but then again I haven’t had enough experience to speak about how well the battles work or how smart the A.I is.
Once you’ve finished battling, it’s off to the road again. Move for thirty seconds, rest, gather resources, move, rest, gather resources and so it goes. At least until you reach your destination, where you choose a new destination. Then it’s just the same routine again. Move, rest, gather resources, repeat. At last you get to a city, the second playable city in the game.
In the cities you are supposed to be able to buy and sell stuff, but as there are no tutorials I had no idea of how to do it, so I ended up being thrown out of every shop I tried to buy or sell things in. Other than that it’s not much you can do in the city as I am aware of. You can rest at an in, drink and eat. Other than that it’s just to get out on the road and move to another city, which is not even playable yet.
I guess I should mention the controls as I found them a bit weird. In the city it’s just like a first person game. You move with WASD and look around with the mouse. You can’t jump, which is a bit boring, but anyway. On the map I think you’re supposed to choose a new destination by clicking on where you want to go, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I don’t know why. You can always bring up the action wheel by right clicking anywhere on the screen. From here you can cast spells and gather resources and what not.
Right now, this game is certainly not very good. It’s badly optimized, it has a non beatable story and limited locations. Even so, in the future when the story is beatable and all locations available, I could not see it as being a fun game as the gameplay is repetitive and boring. Thanks to its awesome music and good graphics however, there is potential.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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