A Farewell to Dragons Review
|Developer:||Arise, KranX Productions|
|Publisher:||Excalibur, 1C Company|
|Release Date:||February 26th, 2010 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Andy Hemphill (Bandit)|
If you're looking for a fun RPG with plenty to see and do this might be worth a go, but for depth or a decent plot: look elsewhere. While Dragons might be a wholesale copy of better RPGs, and tick every RPG cliché in existence, it just can't stand up on its own as a classic title.
A Farewell to Dragons is based on a book by Russian authors Sergey Lukyanenko and Nikolay Perumov, and plays like a cross between every party-based RPG you've ever played. There's an aspect of Baldurs Gate here, a bit of Arcanum there - yes, this game takes parts from all the best, and combines them into a product which, while clichéd and uninspiring, offers a good 30-40 hours of gameplay, if you can be bothered to stick with it.
Set in a steampunk/sci-fi world, the player takes the role of a doctor. Not an emo-warrior, not a crazed magician, just a doctor. Accidentally dragged into a mysterious world, the player has to fight his way through legions of enemy troops, massive machines, flying beasties and all sorts of other foes to find and destroy an ancient evil before it demolishes the land of 'Midworld', while unravelling the mystery of how he got there in the first place. If this all sounds familiar, that's because it is.
The game is pretty much a rip off of every point n' click RPG which has come before it. You have to assemble your team of witty outcasts and move from place to place, looting, killing and pillaging as you go.
While there is an aspect of morality it's pretty underplayed, with most of your decisions having little or no effect on the outcome of your journey. There is the occasional decision which can come back to haunt/help you - leave the bandit alive and he might come to your rescue later, for example - but for the most part it's just killing your way one location after another.
There is a decent amount of character customisation on offer, and your lowly doctor can learn any number of new skills through a pretty dense tech tree-style advancement system. There is also a massive range of weapons and armour knocking around, from stealthy obsidian suits to steam-powered armour and rocket launchers - looters will love it.
The environments on offer are also pretty diverse. While early missions are all Dungeon Quest-alike, the game later graduates to flying cities, airships, massive waterfalls and huge open environments to explore.
Luckily, the game's graphics are good enough to keep up with the developer's imagination, though the isometric perspective doesn't do the game any justice, and the camera does act up now and then, often getting stuck behind walls and trees.
There is a little texture drop-in, but it's negligible, but the distance-nullifying fog is pretty annoying, especially when you're trying to get from A to B in a hurry - don't expect Crysis.
But, while the graphics are decent, the AI is abysmal. Your teammates often get trapped and have to randomly appear nearby to rejoin the party. They're not the best allies in combat either, often choosing exactly the wrong attack at the wrong time, and have a nasty habit of wasting your hard-earned potions.
The score is thankfully reasonable, though lacking the epic nature of big-budget game companies. Voice action is also fair to middling, with only a few of the NPC sounding flat, and most of the party characters having enough banter to remain interesting, if not all that funny. Most of the game is played through text however, and this suffers from some serious translation errors.
While not as bad as Hired Guns, the English is pretty abysmal, especially when you're trying to make the right choices in a conversation and you have to spend ages trying to figure out what to say.
While it is funny at times, it shouldn't be funny at all, and one again calls into question why a developer will design and produce a game and not bother to hire a decent translator for release into the western market.
If you're looking for a fun RPG with plenty to see and do this might be worth a go, but for depth or a decent plot, look elsewhere. While Dragons might be a wholesale copy of a number of very good RPGs, and tick every RPG cliché in existence, it just can't stand up on its own as a classic title.
- Nice setting
- Good variety of weapons/armour/spells
Not so good stuff
- Poor English translation
- Poor AI
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