Feb 27, 2013
Aralon: Sword and Shadow, an open-world RPG from Crescent Moon Games, is actually one of those games that makes you dive right in. So I did exactly that.
The gameplay had three levels of difficulty: Casual, Normal and Hard. After picking that, I was presented with the option of picking my character’s race. I could be an elf, a troll or human; each had traits specific to its category. Then, I got to select gender.
After the initial study, I got to pick from one of the five classes, and the :/was able to customize the look of my avatar, and then I was able to give it a name.
The opening cutscenes have the backstory, as well as sets our hero on his quest to save Aralon. It also led directly into a tutorial which helped me understand the basics of gameplay. The action was to down, with a generalized movement button on the left, and a matching virtual interaction button on the right. The latter allowed me to interact with objects. Additionally, I was able to use swipes to look left and right.
The way the tasks were laid out made sense. Interacting with other characters could lead to a task that had XP as a reward. I had to learn how to fight and defend, as well as pick up tips to make potions and such. The tasks were wide-ranging and fairly engaging.
The graphics were rich and detailed. The environment looked authentic, down to the clothing and free ranging chickens. The developers created a fantastic looking three-dimensional fantasy world, with rustic structures and clothes. Again, the attention paid to the little details showed, and even when creative license was expended (like during the swimming scenes), it was mostly done in a tasteful manner. The camera was controlled by rotating with a finger or two, and this was implemented well. The sound of the game was not too distracting.
I thought the menu could have been a bit less compact, and that interactions in the game itself were a bit stilted, but overall, this is a game that almost has to be played to be understood.