Eschalon: Book I

RPG 2006 Windows Basilisk Games Top down Strategic scope Third Person Turn based Role playing Indie Fantasy

Pale imitation of the classics

This is the first in a pair of games, the other being Eschalon: Book II, that aims to follow in the footsteps of classic RPGs like the Ultima and Wizardry series. However, its' far from being of the same standards as these genre defining legends, and unless you're a die hard fan of fantasy adventuring, you should probably look elsewhere. The story kicks off with that much maligned plot device of the main character waking up with memory loss and not knowing what's going on. You have a note in your pocket instructing you where to go and you soon find out that you're in a land torn apart by war, with a race of dwarf-like creatures taking on the aboveground realms. The game itself is a turn-based hack and slash adventure, with all the usual NPCs, weird monsters and side quests to engage in and all the other stuff which turns up in similar games. However, unlike its inspirations, this one is pretty tedious stuff, even for genre fans. The storyline is the usual cliched nonsense and which contains no surprises whatsoever, making for a less than compelling experience. Worse still, the gameworld is woefully small, with a handful of towns to visit, a tiny amount of sidequests and equally small amounts of NPCs, most of whom are merely salespeople. Combat too is pretty uninteresting, and lacks the depth of the best of the genre, with a poorly balanced system that means that walking away from your enemy is often a valid strategy. Visually, the game scores a little better as it does in the customization department, but this isn't enough to save it from being an overall mess.

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