Review by billyboy032185

Reviewed: 04/30/09

This game shines in bringing the Old to a whole New crowd

This is my first attempt at a review for Gamefaqs, so I decided after seeing another review for Dark Spire, that I should write for this rather than wait until I finished the other game I was planning on reviewing. I really didn't play too many FP role playing games, but I have truthfully played my share when the developers and publishers were pumping these out like they were nothing. Some I loved, some I never got too far into, but they were still fun never the less. So, without much more blathering on, the review...

Story: Four (or less) hand picked adventurers venture into the dreaded tower, in hopes of defeating the Bad Guy. Really nothing new or inspiring, but the basics here, just don't buy this game for an engrossing story. I would gladly recommend this game for every other portion, but certainly not for the story. Perhaps older gamers will feel as I do, and not be bothered by the lack of deep, spoon fed story, but I cannot say for sure, so this is the lowest aspect of my review. 7/10

Graphics: Very unique in the approach for this game, and I was refreshingly pleased with them. The main gameplay has you defaulted to the more 'current' art style, with another option in the game to play in the old wire-frame dungeons. The characters are certainly pleasing to the eye, and there are plenty of models, unfortunately none of them move, but I could have cared less if they were great, what pleased me was seeing the way they seemed to approach the resurrection of this genre. Atlas truly has my vote for the best games that have come around the pike lately. 8/10

Sound: A very fitting soundtrack, and despite anything anyone says, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the music in the game, since it puts you right where you're supposed to be - right in the middle of the game/story. I put the CD in my car after purchasing it, and I must say, it was only when playing the game that the music enthralled me. 9/10

Gameplay: Ah, the meat and potatoes of the game. Where a game can shine or become as dull as anything else out there. This game displays terrific playability, and I know that certain gamers will despise the type of game that this is, but I believe this is what this game really shines with. Older games had more of this type of gameplay, which in my opinion underscores true imagination, which is what video games are all about. Take an ounce of story, a wheelbarrow full of imagination, and you can have any old adventure you can dream of.

In the days of dice and paper games, you had no actual graphics to rely on to show you what your characters looked like, you had a generic picture of what someone could look like if they were the same class/ race/ gender as your character. As much as I like Fable and The Elder Scrolls for the diversity in giving you a character that is specific to you, those types of character creators are just tedious to me. I would much prefer a roll of the random dice, and a character that I named, built and nurtured from early adventure-dom.

The attribute generator is very fair, and a bit easy on the player, as the player is given the choice of re-rolling the dice to get attributes that they want more than the ones they rolled. Four beginning classes and four beginning races, with specifics for each race and class, make for a very diverse beginning of a game. There are four more classes (perhaps more) hidden away until you unlock the requirements for them, which adds a nice depth to the game. The ability to have a Warrior Paladin alongside a Thief Mage is very thrilling to a gamer like me, who grew up on D&D, Gurps, Fafsa and more.

The levels are very difficult at the beginning, growing a bit more gentle as things go on. I have died many times from trapped treasure chests (you need a thief to handle these properly, BTW) and the main function in this game is keeping me Saving at each and every door, in anticipation of the death that could wait for me. I am somewhere on the second floor, and have barely scratched the 3 hour mark. 9/10

Replay value: I would think this game has immense replay value for those who enjoy it. If the older gamers (such as myself) remember games like this, aside from the length of some of them, the challenge was in putting many different combinations of characters in the group. Despite the possible brevity of the story line, the ability to return to the game and do it all over again without as much attention to story of details is wonderful. For the type of game that this is, the replay is immense and would thrill anyone who enjoys this kind of game. 9/10

Overall: Would I buy this game or rent/borrow it? Well, I bought this game, knowing full well what it was about. As for you, if you like or love old school games of the First Person genre that fall into the D&D/Ultima genre, buy buy buy! On the other hand, if you grew up in the current state of video games, then please try try try this game, and with an open mind! You might just find a game that can give you a new outlook on games, but you might just get frustrated with the high difficulty and lack of obscenely high end graphics and spoon fed story - thanks SquareEnix...8/10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: The Dark Spire (US, 04/14/09)

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