Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, at first, hit me as a Final Fantasy Tactics game, along with other games of its Ilk. 6 Eyes Studio is definitely influenced by these games. The question is, does Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark stands on its own hard-hitting feet or is it another copy cat?
Centuries ago, a brutal beast of destruction, the Maw, ripped the world asunder. It was in this time of need that seven Heroes rose and stemmed the destruction. In defeating the monster, these Heroes became the first Immortals. To prevent this destruction from ever happening again, the Immortals formed the Immortal Council that would enforce peace over the world.
The Immortals are powerful, but they are only Seven. So they rely upon their mortal agents, the Arbiters, to guard the land and its people against dangers. Arbiters range over the land, rooting out bandits, dangerous monsters, and crooked officials; their word is law.
Over the years, the Arbitors have become corrupted by power and wealth. One Arbiter uncovers the deepening corruption within her own order, and it falls to her to halt the spread of a threat as great as the brutal beast of yore.
The story starts with a group of Arbitors witnessing a murder of an unarmed man by a noble. This sets the band of Arbitors on a mission to follow the new ‘marked’. In the world of Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, the ‘Marked’ are the ones who the Immortals have chosen to join the Council once a member leave. They are above reproach and can do what they like.
The story is a high fantasy showcase of what can be done if writers spend some time and effort into the game that is being made. Pacing of Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is perfect and would not be out of place next to Lord of the Rings (with some padding).
When starting the game, the first thing I took notice of was how beautiful it is. The hand-drawn isometric backgrounds are some of the best artworks I have seen. With the finely balanced colour palettes to the in-depth look of the characters on-screen, all of it outstanding. Not only does it look amazing, but the areas that battles take part in feel alive, birds will be flying by and lizards running up and down walls. The amount of effort put into making this game come alive is just amazing.
On to the gameplay, Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark plays like any other turn-based tactical RPG, one character at a time, can move and or attack each round. Depending on the class picked, the distance that class can move, as well as attack, will be dependant on the weapon class or the skill used to how far it can attack. This carries on until the condition of win is met, or one party is wiped out. This is not a bad thing, in fact, this works well for accessibility and allowing new to feel right at home as well as seasoned Vets of the genre.
The maps themselves have been crafted to test one’s tactical ability, with plenty of space, verticality, ladders, portals and trap doors that will send in reinforcements, not once in any of the battles did I feel bored or feel this is too easy.
After ten minutes, the player will be introduced to the guild shop. Here new classes can be purchased and customised cosmetically. Along with getting a new job class, it is also possible to buy higher level job classes. Need a decent healer for a battle, grind away, get some coin and boom, you’ve got yourself a level 10 healer.
Eventually, levelling up jobs over twenty classes can be unlocked and purchased, as well as the primary job class, which is a subclass that can be equipped making hybrid characters. I made myself a Fellblade-Duelist (one of many I made) allowing for the best of both worlds; poisoned blades and expert swords play a bit of a glass cannon but were a beast in a fight. This takes some time as you need to level up one job then move it to a sub job slot; keeping all the abilities then level up a new job, but so worth it. The amount of customisation is fantastic with this simple but effective mechanic.
When starting, it is possible to change some of the settings of the game to customise a playthrough, each being around the 35-hour mark. Want to play hardcore? Then put on permadeath and any character lost in battle is gone. This allows for the gameplay to suit almost all players and all ability levels. Of course, I recommend the standard setting for the first playthrough.
Overall simplicity and ease of use win the day for Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, not to mention the fantastically written story that has been crafted. The in-depth job system with its over 20 classes and 200 abilities that can produce hybrid characters work perfectly.
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is one of the titles that does not get the right amount of attention it needs. Does it rate up there with Final Fantasy Tactics – YES!
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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