As you may have guessed if you read my 7 Retro Gaming Kickstarter Projects post, I’ve been really excited for Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. From the very first time I saw the animated GIFs of gameplay on the Kickstarter page, I was hooked. You see, I’m a huge tactical RPG fan; my favourite Final Fantasy game is actually Final Fantasy Tactics for the PSX. I’ve played through Disgaea, Fire Emblem, Super Robots Wars and more. So, quite obviously, Fell Seal seemed as though it would be right up my street.
Well, I’ve now had the chance to play through the demo of the game and see how it actually plays and whether my hype remains.
A Thing of Beauty
One of the biggest selling points that Fell Seal: Artiber’s Mark has is definitely the graphics. With a definite retro gaming feel, through the focus on pixel art, it manages to capture the feeling of nostalgia that so many of us are longing for. However, it does so in a highly polished way, with some of the most gorgeous pixel-based graphics I have seen in a long time. Each of the character models looks outstanding, and the actual levels you get to play in the demo left my jaw on the floor.
Even the basic spells that you have access to in the demo look amazing. The animation is simple, but flows brilliantly without any hiccups or glitches. It also doesn’t detract from everything else, blending in nicely.
The world map is loving crafted, looking like a hand drawn piece of art rather than a simple graphic that you move across. Every single aspect of Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark seems to scream both attention to detail and a true adoration for the craft of video game design and creation. The second you start the game, its clear to see that the developers, 6 Eyes Studio, are fans of gaming first and foremost, and they are putting their heart and soul into making Fell Seal something truly amazing.
Seeing as though Fell Seal is an RPG, the most important part of an RPG is the story. It has to catch you by the hair and drag you into the world, and make you fall in love with the plot and want to know more, constantly. On top of this, the genre is now rather saturated (with both good and bad games) so an RPG has to hook you as quickly as possible.
With Fell Seal, my mind was full ingrained in the storyline after the first fight! With the game opening on a murder scene, with a spoiled nobleman and an intriguing seed of doubt in the world’s justice system, your interest is piqued immediately. And even though the demo is short (covering just two battles a few story scenes), enough happened in that short space of time to completely whet my appetite for a good plot! In fact, when I saw the notice saying that the demo had finsihed, I may have moaned for a bit, simply because I wanted to know what happened next!
The fact that a demo made me react like that says more than any amount of words could. The story looks set to be up there with the best of them, at least from the little bit I got to play.
A Bright Future
Now, as mentioned before, I have only played the demo (which you can download from Gamejolt for Windows, Mac and Linux) and it is only two battles and a few story scenes long. However, that short amount of time playing the game has completely reconfirmed how much I want Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark to release in full! I cannot wait to get my hands on the final, finished version of the game. It manages to pull of the tactical battle system flawlessly, whilst remaining unique and stylish enough that it feels like a loving homage to the genre, rather than a game trying to copy others.
The whole style of Fell Seal is awe-inspiring as well. From the minute details on the fire in a barrel to the designs of the outfits your characters can wear and how they look (which you have some control over as well), everything is crafted with care.
This is one game that I am truly “hyped” for, and if you’re a fan of tactical RPGs, you should be too!
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- 23rd November 2017