Games from independent developers are always a lottery. Behind a stylized picture and loud promises can be hidden as a complete disappointment and a real masterpiece. 6 Eyes Studio remembered the magnificent Final Fantasy Tactics and tried to create a spiritual heir.
The story of Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark tells of the demonic forces that tormented people and the powerful immortals who defeated evil. In order to keep order, the heroes organized the Order of Performers, but centuries later serious internal problems began for this structure.
After a short exposition, we are introduced to a team of key characters: captain of the Aversievers Kairi, her brother Reiner, and rookie Anadin. During the patrol, they arrest the local aristocrat and go with the criminal to the capital for trial. At first glance, a simple story quickly develops into an epic adventure with intrigues, gray cardinals, and unexpected twists. The narration goes through text dialogs and small scenes on the engine. The plot is famously twisted and captures to the very end. It’s interesting to follow the heroes, and the finale is unlikely to leave anyone indifferent.
As I wrote above, the game was clearly inspired by the iconic Final Fantasy Tactics. Here is the same turn-based combat system with many classes and professions. In addition to the plot characters, in our ranks, there may also be simple mercenaries from the guild. When hiring a new fighter, you can customize not only his profession but also the appearance of a dozen different parameters.
Artists tried to draw a large number of costumes, accessories, and avatars. If desired, you can make a character resembling a beloved hero from other works. For example, my squad has Green Arrow, 2B from Nier: Automata and Dante from Devil May Cry.
Initially, only a few basic professions are available to each character, however, pumping skills, the hero raises the level and opens up access to new fighting styles. So, to gain access to the “templar” class, you need to develop the skills of the “knight”, but before that, you need to raise several levels for the “mercenary”.
Among the profession, there are also unusual options, access to which can be obtained using a special subject. At a certain point in the story, the main characters will find the unique abilities that are available only to them.
In addition, an insect-like fighter named Bzaro with absolutely unique classes that open up as various monsters are destroyed can fall into your team. The developers tried to work out this aspect to the maximum. When changing the class, characters can change their clothes, but this comrade changes himself: he may have tusks, extra feathers or a thicker coat.
The game motivates to come up with various combinations of professions to solve certain problems. In addition to basic skills, each character can use the techniques of other classes as secondary opportunities. An additional set of techniques and passive skills from already pumped branches is set in a special menu. This allows you to experiment.
Graphics and Features
As a knight, a warrior can use a powerful sniper attack, and as a shooter, he will be able to use defensive skills. This flexibility of pumping drags on for many hours, and another successful experiment causes a storm of positive emotions.
The Fell Seal is a classic isometric camera. Locations are made up of cubes, and the landscape changes in height. At the same time, the camera cannot be rotated, and the characters move only along those squares that are visible to the player. All actions have their radius not only horizontally, but also vertically. With a certain leveling, the hero will be able to do more damage, being higher than his opponents.
The strength of the attack also depends on the location of the enemy in relation to your warrior. To hit from the flanks or from the rear is much more effective than acting in the forehead.
The missions themselves involve the destruction of all enemies in the location, but there are other tasks. Sometimes it’s enough to defeat the commander, hold out a certain number of moves or bring your team from one edge of the map to the other.
Of course, there are bosses with their own unique situations. For example, in a battle with giant snakes, they first indicate the direction of attack, and then they beat. Therefore, the player needs to remove his fighters from under the impending blow. At the same time, there may be other enemies in the arena, which adds the thrill.
Despite the step-by-step, the dynamics in such fights are felt much stronger than in ordinary battles – the player must change strategy on the go and constantly adapt to new conditions. This makes such skirmishes more interesting, and victory is really significant.
In a battle, already completed moves cannot be saved or canceled, so each action should be deliberate. Due to the diverse landscape and variability of the combat professions, each duel is felt fresh. Even after several tens of hours, it’s unlikely to find any universal tactics.
In addition, this is facilitated by the injury system, which forces the main staff to rotate constantly. Of course, the character who fell in battle can still fight in the next battle, but his characteristics are deteriorating. For treatment, rest is necessary, which means missing one fight. If you use the damaged hero repeatedly, then the next injury will aggravate the situation, the penalty to the characteristics will increase and you will have to miss two fights for treatment.
If you raise a character with the help of “Ashes of the Phoenix” (another reference!) Or with a special spell, then after the battle he will go to the infirmary anyway. Characters in battles can use other items. The number of useful items in the inventory is limited, but at the end of the match, stocks are automatically replenished. You can’t specifically accumulate more potions before a difficult match, but you can not worry about their timely replenishment.
The number of items used can be increased in the item creation menu. There you can also get a new type of elixirs and equipment – the loot collected from enemies and at locations will help.
In general, Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is well balanced and the main part of the game the complexity increases adequately, but closer to the final, the opponents become too strong, so you should postpone the passage of the main missions and go on patrol in the immediate vicinity. Or simply reduce the difficulty at any time outside the battle.
The global map allows you to move along pre-designated routes and almost never stumble on random battles. For convenience, the developers give a description of the area with an indication of the estimated level of enemies and chests. Here you can meet the merchant Somer, having helped out, your team will receive valuable prizes.
To gain access to some boxes, certain skills and equipment are needed. For example, toadskin boots will help you jump onto a high ledge, and to pass lava, you need a fireproof suit.
From time to time, a special event icon appears on the map and you can start an additional plot scene.
Graphically, the game cannot boast of something outstanding, but, despite the sketchy square appearance, the locations look good – thanks to the stylization of the picture, the effects of depth and animation of flora and fauna.
In turn, the characters and some decor elements are made in pixel art style. Avatars, for the most part, are static, and movements clearly lack smoothness and intermediate frames. Sharp turns and walking in several frames can spoil the experience.
It is also worth noting that the game was released in Russian. This is very convenient since there are a lot of dialogs in the project.