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Deserves a try from every one of you.

Note: Scores are based on how well I thought the game fared in achieving its objectives in each of the given areas


Review of Tale of Exile Act I


Introduction

Tale of Exile Act I is the first and only Act of an unfinished game. The game was originally developed in Polish and was later translated into English. The game boasts, among other features, a custom menu system, an equipment-upgrading system and a tactical turn-based battle system (wait... and Chocobo rides!). The game is divided into three episodes. On to the meat of the review:


Plot:

A major part of the game involves you playing the role of a mercenary, a ruthless and hardened yet noble and honorable one. The mercenary is sent to track down two criminals involved in a murder. One of them, an older man confesses to the murder and forces the mercenary to kill him. His final wish is that the mercenary must testify as a witness in the case so that the other accused, a boy, may be pardoned from a death sentence. A major portion of the game is concerned with this plot, except the short Episode II in which you take the role of a prince in a coming-of-age ceremony. The course of the game may change slightly on account of choices which the player may have to make as he progresses through the game.

An average storyline with a couple of twists.
7/10


Gameplay:

This is where the game truly excels! Taking the shortest route, the game can be completed in 30 minutes. However, there are a number of sidequests which the player can undertake. Of course, completing these sidequests will involve considerable investment of time in grinding. Their are a vast number of choices that can be made during dialogue sequences, which determine how NPC's react to what you say.
The game also has a forges where weapons can be upgraded, a master who can upgrade your abilities and teach new techniques, and a reputation system (which does not have much use in Act I). The game uses custom menu and shop systems. Advertisements can be posted which land you missions and a day-night system exists along with day/night-based events. A card game is also there in which your chances of winning big are quite slim. Considering so many features, the game does crash at regular intervals, and these are quite annoying. Maybe its just my antique PC though.

Immersive gameplay with an array of custom features.
9/10


Battle system:

The game makes use of a tactical turn-based battle system. Every turn you have a number of action points (AP) which enable you to carry out the various battle-based actions. Once you run out of AP, you have to end your turn and then the enemy does likewise. This is my favorite type of battle system and I was disappointed to see that it had a lot of glitches. In a particular area there are enemies that neither attack nor can be attacked, however they can be seen in battle and give spoils. There are also times when enemies either can't move or move in the wrong direction. Sometimes the pointer is invisible and it gets harder to make decisions since you cannot see your destination. The enemies are such that griding is necessary in order to fight enemies in the next area, who are considerably tougher. But like I mentioned before, battles are completely optional except for... um...one? Escaping is very easy and neither probability-based nor level-based.

Rare and enjoyable battle system with glitches of minor and average importance.
6/10


Characterization/Dialogue

Characterization is scanty because you play as only two characters. In both cases, the character's nature is your choice. The mercenary can be ruthless or considerate, dishonest or noble. The prince can be strong-willed or hesitant. Other major NPCs are fleshed out well and can be distinguished from one another.
Ah. Dialogue. Sometimes dialogue is extremely well-written (especially emotional ones), and at other times it is highly plain and moderate. And yet there are times when dialogues are plain Polish. So keep a translator program ready when you are playing this game. There also pictures (like in the shop system) which have font in Polish. In such cases knowing their meanings is important and it gets quite tedious alt+tabbing back and forth.

Good characterization and well-scripted dialogue with some inconsistent portions.
7/10


Graphics/Mapping and Music:

Why put the two together, you may ask? That is because I have encountered most of graphics and music in this game for the first time. Maps are well-built with few inconsistencies. However, there are a lot of passability errors and some maps with parts without boundaries. There was also a ship which appeared when I stood on a tile and when I went around a post, the ship would also move in circles. This was one major but harmless glitch.
Music was well-chosen and gave me feelings loosely related with loneliness, which is what a mercenary's life is about. The title track bugged me because it played every time I restarted the game, and sometimes it also played during battles.


Well-mapped and music aptly chosen with some inconsistencies in mapping.
7/10



In short, Tale of Exile Act I is an otherwise slightly-above-average game with the advantage of excellent gameplay. It is a pity that developement of the game has been halted, since there is a lot of potential in this game. And in case you may be wondering, there is no cliffhanger at the end of Act I.

Total Game Score: 3.5/5

This game deserves at least one try, and if you are patient and don't mind the glitches in the CBS (some of which you can take advantage of), you will not stop playing until you have exhausted all that ToE Act I has to offer.



Posts

Pages: 1
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
This is an even-handed review but I do feel that your analysis of the story, characters, and dialogue is lacking somewhat in depth. I only played this game for a short time, yet there are some observations I had that I'm surprised you didn't mention here.

(This might be the first instance of anyone criticizing a review for its actual merits as opposed to the score/evaluation it assigned. If I had anything to say about your actual scoring, it would be that your standards for graphics are REALLY high. This game is BEAUTIFUL.)

Also I have NO IDEA where you are getting the 'can be completed in 30 minutes' from. I played this game for one hour without encountering a single battle, and I wasn't exactly fucking around. The INTRO was about 20 minutes. And by the way, all the above times are before it began lagging on me, which is actually what forced me to quit.

Like I said though, a very fair and balanced review for a game sorely needing one. I don't want to discourage that.
Well, thanks anyway.

This game is BEAUTIFUL.

It definitely is. However, as I did mention, there were a large number of passability errors that I found. I should have given graphics an 8, now that I think about it. I really loved the game, it is one of the best RM* games I have played. I didn't really want that to come in the way of my review. I guess I overdid it though.

The INTRO was about 20 minutes.

OK. My mistake. I completely overlooked the intro because I replayed the game a lot and would skip it on every replay. Oh well.

Like I said though, a very fair and balanced review for a game sorely needing one. I don't want to discourage that.


Gee, thanks. I was expecting harsher criticism. If you have any, just say it. It will definitely help me in making future reviews (if I ever do). I'll probably have to take notes next time every time I find something worth mentioning, that might go a long way in improving quality and depth.
Seangrei
I'm not in a fantasy world, I just want to make games.
288
I loved the game :D i wish i could the CBS system like you do; that was amazing
author=Seangrei
I loved the game :D i wish i could the CBS system like you do; that was amazing


Um... you missed a word there. I have no idea what you meant to say.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
To me, passability is more of a gameplay issue than a graphics one.

*shrug*

I think the majority agrees with you, though. I see it lumped in with graphics a lot. Minor pet peeve of mine, actually, but w/e.

And I'm not holding anything back, I have nothing to add that I didn't already say. : )
Personally, I don't find passability errors retarding my gaming experience, unless they cause some horrible glitches or take me to places I shouldn't be in. However, they do slightly reduce the overall appeal of the map.

I see it lumped in with graphics a lot.


To be honest, now I'm confused. w/e ^_^

And I'm not holding anything back, I have nothing to add that I didn't already say. : )


I'm glad. :D
Pages: 1