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  • Enker
  • 10/11/2007 06:56 AM
Because every good game has a wealth of things to be doing when not following the major story, Shadow's Reach presents a wealth of distractions that can keep the typical player occupied for any length of time. Ranging from long ongoing side-stories to single-play games, there is already a huge list of things to see and do around the world. Below I have outlined a few of those currently installed into the game.

Card games are a staple of RPG mini-games and Shadows Reach has gone for the classic rendition of 21s. Everybody is familure with the basic concept of getting as close to the number 21 without going over it in order to beat their opponent, and with the added bonus of winning in-game money and taking part in a national tournament, you'll be keeping your eyes peeled for likely challangers.

Fishing is a great passtime, simply buy yourself a rod and head out into the wide blue yonder. Wherever you see a likely fishing point, you can whip out your rod and try your luck at catching one of fifty different water-dwellers. Ranging from catches that can be used as items, to dangerous foes who will cause you serious grief.

Once you've reached a certain point in the game you can get yourself a Hunter's License and join the biggest quest in the game. Spread out across the overworld map are literally hundreds of 'Marks' that when found will throw you into a series of boss-level battles to test your party to its limit. Defeating them will not only give you cash and experience, but provide rare items and raise your 'Hunter Level' to unlock even tougher foes.

Errol is an incredably vain Bard, and when he encounters a Clown he's bound to put his entertainment skills to the test by challinging them to a contest. Ranging from juggling to balloon animal making, it's a test of speed and skill that will unlock special items that only Errol can use.

The arena is located in the very first town you visit and initially serves simply as a tutorial on combat. But come back later any you'll be able to take part in a one on one competition, as well as battling the toughest monsters from each new area you unlock with your full party. Later in the game new modes are added, including a boss-bash that sees you taking all of the bosses from the game on one after another with only one character, and a special tournament to win one of the two most valuble items in the game (the other is a prize for winning the cards tournament - and together they unlock an amazing set of new moves).

Getting two lovers together may seem like a trial at first, but it kicks into action a series of events that runs throughout the whole game. Get them together, attend their wedding, find them a home, and help raise their children. Every action you take with these two young lovers will directly influence the way their lives turn out.

Even Eep, Errol's kitten companion, gets his own mini adventure in this game, as finding the reclusive travelling Black Mage will encourage him to test Eep's skills through a series of pac-man like levels that must be beaten in order to unlock elemental weapons for the main party. Once a level is cleared the mage will vanish to another location and must be found again before the next level can be played. Hours of classic arcade fun packed into one tiny mini-game!

Why waste time buying items when you can grow your own? Shadow's Reach has a whole farm that can be brought and and used to grow seeds that you find scattered throughout the land. Plant the crops, wait and see them grow, then harvest the fruit for a whole wealth of items.

The above doesn't even begin to cover the full depth of optional play, not when there are secret dungeons, puzzles, quizes and even a music hall where you can hear the full original opening song sung by the composer herself. All this and much more yet to be added to the full game.