Veteran PC gamers may remember skirting the streets of Skara Brae years ago, and the Bard's Tale IV takes us back again to those times of guilds, monsters, and adventurers. This title is completely a love letter to the RPGs of yesteryear, and a decent choice for those trying to find more modern titles faithful to that style. However, plus a thirst for battle, you have to have a hearty appetite for exploration and mind-numbing puzzles to understand this journey.

Combat shines in The Bard's Tale IV, with position-based encounters that present new opportunities and combos. Your team has a swimming of opportunity points to make use of each turn, with free spellcasting on the top when you have the money. Considering your positioning and ability use each turn is great, giving battles high stakes as you interrupt enemy Spellcasters or move out of the way of massive ax blows. Fights allow plenty of freedom when it comes to difficulty; you are able to take on fights far above your level and the victories and the rewards are satisfying. Between grid positioning, channeling, and various approaches to take advantage of each resource, combat is a pleasure and handled with finesse.

The systems behind combat are less compelling. Each character can only just bring a number of abilities into battle, and selecting your layout is not interesting because your options are limited if you will want successful crew scr888. Though you can technically try out group composition, you'll need to make certain you've a healthier mix of interrupts, damage, and resource generation. There isn't the flexibility to take more more compared to necessities, just like a classic fighter/caster mix with a hefty frontline and magical barrage backline.

This streamlining feels needlessly restrictive, and it trickles on to character development. Skill trees are tiered, which means that your character needs to put many skill points into lesser skills to unlock higher tiers, which keeps them from becoming too powerful too early. While this constraint may protect players from irreparably screwing up characters, it feels a lot more like linear progression than meaningful choice.

Your party makes its way through Skara Brae and to beautiful worlds beyond. Loot is everywhere and an enjoyable crafting system enables you to create everything required to keep going, from grappling hooks to steak. Your signature tool, however, is just a choice of bardic songs used to uncover secrets and shortcuts. The list promises hammers to knock down walls, fanfare to illuminate hidden treasures, and melodic vocals revealing enemies. That sounds interesting, in practice, you are able to just sing every song when you're faced by having an impasse to see what works, rendering all of the different tunes worthless.

You absolutely need a high tolerance for puzzles to savor The Bard's Tale IV, which throws a ridiculous quantity of brain-twisters at the gamer, ranging from easy-to-solve dwarven gear doors to esoteric runic combinations. Some mandatory puzzles stymie progression and feel incredibly overbearing, especially in areas that present puzzle after puzzle after puzzle. I yearned for only a minor goblin to massacre after rooms of blocks, spikes, runes, and traps. These sections are frustrating and take a lot of the vitality out from the excellent combat system by replacing it with tedious fiddling. Purists may love solving riddles spewed forth from disembodied wall-mouths, but the frequency in a few areas is merely befuddling and detracting. Even although game comes with a guide featuring all major solutions, looking up answers doesn't make the puzzle gauntlet satisfying or fun.

Author's Bio: 

The Bard's Tale IV pays dutiful homage to its roots and offers an accessible way to have the joy of the old-school RPG, however the enjoyable complexity has been sacrificed. Long puzzle mazes detract from the inspired combat system, and occasional crashes following a big battle could be discouraging. Nevertheless, if you're trying to find that vintage style with some enchanting new-age accoutrements, the endearing melodies of the Bard's Tale IV won't lead you astray.