Dated like a mofo.
Let’s be very clear about this, Arcania is a euro open world RPG game that released back in 2010. I couldn’t tell you why this is coming to PS4 now in 2015; as a matter of fact, I had no idea it was even being ported to the system. I honestly don’t think anyone did. It just suddenly appeared on the PSN store as if a magical RPG fairy dropped it from the sky. It’s previously been released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. That being said, for those that never played it, is it worth checking out?
The protagonist of Arcania is a farmer, looking for love and doing his daily deeds. He goes off on an adventure, and while away his home town and wife and mother to be turns up dead. Now seeking a quest for revenge and stopping the evil that started all this, players truly begin their adventure. Sounds exciting right? The story here is very, very typical and won’t be what keeps players wanting to progress. Gameplay is key here, but even then it comes with plenty of issues.
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
How long to beat: 25 hours
The very first thing players will notice when starting is that the graphics are very simplistic and dated by today’s standards, and let’s face it, this game wasn’t a looker even back during its original release. Characters can have oddly shaped faces and weird bright eyes, textures can appear flat, and geometry pops in at times. That’s not to say that everything looks bad. The draw distance can still be impressive, the light fog that rolls in at times and the time of day can at moments instill a sense of awe.
Those familiar with open world western role playing games will be extremely familiar with the set up here. Accepting main quests, tackling side quests, looting, leveling up, and exploring is the name of the game. Combat features a lock on system and starts of extremely basic, with players having to time their hits, roll and block, and know when to attack or back away. Combat is a major component to the game, and it’s just very basic. It starts off pretty horrible, but after a few hours, getting new equipment, unlocking spells, and using a bow, things start to feel better. The opening moments can definitely be a slog to get through. It does pick up, but even then, don’t expect there to be a major change in the mechanics.
While it’s an open world, it still feels extremely linear, as each time the hero enter a new area there is a plot point that needs to be solved before moving forward, so in that sense it gives players a false feeling of an open world. Think of it like arena areas on a huge map. Once completing the main quest in the area, then players can tidy up the side stuff or leave them for later. Ultimately to keep moving forward in the story and the map, continuing the main objectives is a must. It’s a bit misleading, but with minor to no loading when entering new areas or building, it’s still impressive.
Voice acting is very average at best, but unsurprisingly Troy Baker voices the main character as he does so much these days. Players who are a fan of his work might enjoy taking this game for a ride just for his performance alone. Otherwise it’s a very B grade style of acting here, but this could work in players favor if they like B movie style games. Music is peaceful and very much in line with the fantasy setting, but nothing stands out or is memorable, which is something that could be said for the entire game.
Arcania the Complete tale isn’t a horrible game, it’s just a completely average experience. It seems almost as if it’s a beginners RPG. It’s not hard to grasp, it’s all rather basic in execution, and even the crafting is very easy to do. After completing the game and getting a somewhat unfinished ending, you can luckily start on the expansion which offers another 6 or 8 hours of gameplay. The entire package has minor animation issues, sometimes the music skips or enemies disappear, but that being said, this is the best console version out there. It runs smoothly for the most part, but framerate dips do occur. When a game looks this dated, players would expected it to run flawlessly, but it doesn’t. I had a fun time playing the game on previous consoles, so my enjoyment is exponentially increased with it looking, sounding, and running better than those versions. Though as it stands, and compared to most RPGS today, you’d only want to take a trip with Arcania if you love your European RPGs and enjoy seeing games of years past.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.