There was a time when all computer RPGís were like Diablo, hack and slash battle-fests that concentrated on levelling up your character, killing bigger and harder foes and progressing through the story until you meet the final boss (doom Ed.) and take them down.
Blizzardís hack fest had strength, a pretty solid story that was brought to life with (for the time) some excellent CGI.Sacred
and its various expansions did a good job in continuing this tradition, whilst Baldurís Gate
and Planescape: Torment
arguably two of the finest character driven RPGís to date, went in another direction entirely.
It is now the turn of Silverfall to attempt to take up the reigns, to oust games like Neverwinter Nights 2
and itís up against stiff competition. In an industry rife with clones and various fantasy genres all rattling the sabre for your attention, is this game worthy of anything but a quick play.
At the outset Silverfall reminded me a little of Dungeon Siege
and that is not a bad thing, since Iím quite fond of the game. You begin the fairly generic story with a decently robust tutorial; it shows you the basics of the game and allows you to cut loose with some powers as the Archmage of the doomed City of Silverfall, against an attack by vicious creatures.
You can customise and create your own character however, choosing from elves, goblins, humans and trolls Ė each with sliders to change their appearance and skin. As you play the game in the starting area, the Swamp, youíll take on quests and sub-quests following either the path of nature or technology.
Itís here that Silverfall diverts into something other than the run of the mill fantasy, the struggle between these two opposing forces is something that actually comes through in the world itself and eventually your city. It will change as you do, as you begin to follow nature or technology, your weapon choices and various elements of the city are going to alter.
You have various skills and powers that are divided up between nature and technology, as you follow the path new skills and powers become available. Itís nothing we havenít seen before but itís implemented as part of the story rather than just a gameplay mechanic and that is something pretty good.
The GUI is fairly simple to get to grips with; it doesnít get in the way of the game and all the important abilities are available via the icons or number keys.
It plays a lot like an MMO with the (mobs) groups of monsters re-spawning in an area, levelling up and grinding with various loot drops. When you die you leave a tombstone that you have to collect to get your equipment back, this reminds me of Dungeon Siege 2
and when you take out your Death Insurance (or is that life? ed) then you can re-spawn with all your goodies intact.