Before I get down to the nitty-gritty, let’s just get it out into the open: I love RPG games as much as I love books. For a long time I was enthralled with the Final Fantasy games, but they lost me after the brilliant FFXII.
FFXIV was a huge failure in my opinion. If I can’t make headway beyond the first 4 hours of play, the game isn’t worth the investment of my time.
And for me, investment of time is a huge factor. I don’t watch television, but when I want entertainment I read or listen to audio books. For relaxation, I play old-school PC RPG games, because they don’t require as much of an investment of time to complete, and are immersive and fun.
Amaranth/Aveyond Kingdom and John Wizard are my 2 favorite game makers, and they frequently collaborate with each other. Their games are reminiscent of the old Square Soft games, for the Super Nintendo with strong stories and fun sidequests. They are as much fun as The Legend of Zelda or any early Final Fantasy game ever was.
Aveyond Kingdom’s Aveyond 4, Shadow of the Mist is in many ways, a more polished production than their earlier work. The graphics and backgrounds are the best they have produced by far. The storyline is both deep and hilarious, and the characters are, for the most part, engaging.
But first, the Blurb:
Boyle Wolfbane wanted to rule the world. He failed. Miserably. Forced into retirement early, Boyle now spends his days arguing with haunted trees and scaring off the occasional knight. At least he still has Fang, his loyal storm wolf. Things could be worse. He could have been born a hero.
This game incorporates the traditional elements of puzzle-solving, action, and adventure into a neat and enjoyable package. There are the usual elements of high fantasy, with the characters ruthlessly poking fun at themselves. The enemies are creative and fun to fight.
Because they are failed villains, Boyle and Ingrid are unhappily in love, and that storyline adds ongoing humorous elements. Myst and Robin are naive and make good foils for Boyle and Ingrid. Hi’beru and Rowen arrive later in the game, and Phye arrives so late I did wonder why he was included at all. As a Draghar, Phye does have some power, but I think like a writer, so in my opinion, all the characters should be in place at the midpoint. Because he arrives so close to the end, we don’t get to know him as well as I would have liked.
I purchased the game the day it was released. I have played the game through to the end four times. The first time through, I had Ingrid join Lorelei’s coven and married her off to Boyle. With that scenario the game played smoothly with no glitches. I was in love with the game!
The second time through I had Ingrid join Jinx’s coven, but when I tried to complete the task of selling the craft in Robin’s store, the game froze and I had to take drastic measures to close the game down. No matter what I did, in this scenario the game froze at that point every time.
So I went to their website and, following the suggestions in their forums, I reinstalled the game. I never got past that point on that particular attempt.
So I started a new game, and that time I had her join the transformations coven. This went well for the most part, but with one major flaw. Ingrid gained the ability to transform into a dragon, but the skill didn’t appear in her menu. When I went out to the forums to see how to solve that, the answer was that it would be resolved in the next build. I was disappointed, as I did want to have the ability to play her as a dragon.
The environments that the games is set in are lush and beautiful, dark and moody. The music is amazing and really contributes to the enjoyment of the game.
Overall, I can only give this game 4 stars at this time. Aveyond Kingdom clearly felt pressured by the fans to get the game out there. They didn’t do as thorough a testing period as they should have. I understand feeling rushed to publish, but that is never a wise thing.
If having to reinstall the game at various points bothers you as it does me, my recommendation is to wait until they come out with build B, and then buy it. The game is fun, hilarious, and when it works properly, it’s a great way to spend 25 or so hours.