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If you like exploring large, lovingly crafted open worlds, try Casia!

  • null
  • 10/31/2016 03:03 AM
  • 1709 views
I really admire authors that manage to create an open world well - and Casia adds another game to my list.

This game is well built. There is a lot of content (I played for 21 hours and think I saw almost all of it), much of it hidden and optional, and several branches the greater story and sub-stories can follow. It is really hard to design this kind of story, much less code it carefully enough to avoid walking-dead situations and inconsistencies.

I expect a free indie game to make some mistakes in continuity and scripting, especially one as ambitious as this. Amazingly, I only encountered 1 minor bug that prevented me from completing a side-quest, a few "cosmetic" map passability issues, and some typos. Given the massive amount of text, quests, and maps in the game these are almost not worth mentioning.

On the other hand, I saw numerous signs of careful design. Once, I docked my ship in a city, and got banished. I thought, "Good thing I kept a backup save, I won't be able to get back to my ship and the game is broken". Nope, the ship was at the nearby dock - well done! There were several moments like this. Even though I kept a big save rotation (and I recommend players generally do this), I didn't have to fall back even once.

More importantly, the world really does a great job of responding to and remembering your actions. There is a whole cabal (something like 20?) of major villains working together (and separately) to mess up the world with their own special diabolical plots, and a whole band of recruitable characters that have issues with the different villains. You can meet up with, run away from, and defeat the villains in different times and places, and with different team members. The characters all play their roles well. Opponents remembered my past decisions and cursed me, while my teammates got appropriately furious or terrified when facing the people who'd messed up their lives.

There are other nice touches, too. When an opponent fled from me in a ship and I went looking for them, I saw their ship docked at a nearby island! When another one was hiding out in a little cabin near a town, the surroundings got densely populated with snakes (her calling card). The team reminded the cabal's ringleader about an optional battle I won against him and made an excuse about it. I beat up one of the lower ranking bosses, and later he showed up with his superior and 3 other members and gloated about how they would destroy us - when we won, the superior seemed gobsmacked and the underling said "See, it told you it wasn't my fault!".

Significant choices and branches abound, and yet the world's internal logic held firm.

Hints from characters and events in the game feel natural rather than overt, and I didn't spend time feeling lost even though the game is very non-linear. The story rewards careful exploring and curiosity - there are plenty of hidden goodies.

The plot can really surprise in fun ways. People lie, villages get destroyed, you can get kidnapped multiple ways - ever passage holds another interesting discovery.

The battles are serviceable, and can be tense at times. You have a fair range of tactics to choose from since you get to choose 5 teammates to fight alongside the protagonist out of a roster of 19 or so. Near the end, the battles become kind of insane, but still possible.

For example: my hardest hitting character (with stacked enchantments) could do about 20-30K per hit against the last boss, who had a whopping 999,999 hp and had a multi-target attack that could 1-shot all but one character... Luckily, there are ailments that can inflict about 10% of the opponents' max hp in damage per round and skills that can stun-lock enemies, and I had favored characters with those, as well as plenty of buffing items and a fast healer, so the battle only took one try and not more than about 10 minutes - but a tense 10 minutes with two near losses!

Mostly, though, the battles were easy - although I never felt the need to grind.

In a word, the game is EPIC! I was shocked how few people had taken the time to review this overlooked gem, so if you like this kind of game give it a try.

Posts

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Aww you beat me to the 2nd review for this game! I'm fine with that though, I was busy with school so I'll get to my own review for this game that I loved playing as well!
Thank you for the kind words and such a thorough review, I really appreciate it! I'm glad that you didn't encounter too many errors or bugs, since in past versions those tended to be more frequently reported, so at least it seems like I finally managed to fix most of them in the update. I'm really happy to hear that you enjoyed the game and gave it such a glowing review, it makes all the work worthwhile. :)
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