The Bard's Tale Review

Screenshots
The bard gets a little help from his friends.

The gameplay itself is hit and miss. In some ways the game tries to make some of the more mundane activities with RPGs easier. Like when you kill a creature and collect all of the goodies that are strangely inside it, they will automatically be converted to coin for you. This is good and bad. Personally I like it, but I can see where some of the more detailed players would like to handle actions like this personally. While you do have control over the Bard, he is really the only character you can control. This maybe a little different to some RPG gamers who like to handle the actions of all party members. But the Bard doesn't travel alone. He can use his music to summon a few other party members that will take the very basic of commands like “stay”, “come here”, or “attack.” These extra non-playable characters do a fairly good job of taking care of themselves, actually to the point where I sometimes just hung back and let them do all the hard work and I just roamed around making sure to collect all the treasure!

For the most part The Bard's Tale is an enjoyable game. However there are a couple of big problems that drag the overall experience down. First, and certainly most important, is the combat responsiveness. Well, to be more accurate the problem really lies with the unresponsiveness. There is a noticeable delay in pressing the attack button and the attack itself. Battles are in real time, so this delay can create all sorts of havoc. It is just bizarre that the developers would allow the game to have this type of a flaw. Maybe they were too busy writing some of the very funny jokes. The other disappointment is the way you heal yourself. Unlike the more traditional RPGs, you don't have an “inventory” to speak of. This would usually be the place to hold healing potions and such. But in this game you must conjure the spirit of the very princess you're trying to rescue. The problem with this is that there is no simple way to do this in the heat of battle. You have to navigate through a few menus in order to make the call. And of course you can't pause to heal, so you sort of end up running around trying not to get hit while summoning help. Seems to me that a much better solution would have been to allow you to map a button for healing...like maybe that pretty useless “jump” button!!

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 82%.  The Bard's Tale does have some flaws but not enough to take away from the enjoyable “parody” fun that it offers.

 



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