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The Bard's Tale

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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The Bard's Tale PS2

The Bard's Tale, Rated: Teen

The Bottom Line

Dungeons, summoned creatures, non-linear game play, sharp graphics... no it's not another Baldur's Gate, but rather a blast from the far, far past: The Bard's Tale. Age has treated the bard very kindly. Not only does his game look great, it plays great, and is an action packed, solid role playing game. The bizarre thing is, that thanks to extremely clever writing, the game is laugh out loud funny as well. The Bard's Tale is a contender for this year's must-have RPG.
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Pros

  • The Bard's Tale has stunning visuals and spell effects
  • Solid action RPG
  • A videogame that is actually funny? Can it be true?

Cons

  • Camera angle a bit awkward at times

Description

  • Graphics: 4.5 The Bard, his summoned companions, and the towns he visits all look fabulous
  • Sound: 4 The world is full of music, but you may tire of hearing the Bard play the same songs
  • Concept: 5 It features all that is good about action RPGs and adds a fun, humorous story
  • Control: 3.5 It's easy enough to control the Bard and cast spells, but blocking was awkward
  • Difficulty: 4 It all depends, you can choose your difficulty, but don't wimp out
  • Replay: 3 It has as much replay as any RPG, but usually one pass is enough for me with RPGs
  • Rated: Teen The violence isn't bloody, but there is a bit of sexual, and sometimes twisted humor

Guide Review - The Bard's Tale

For those of you either too young, or too hip at the time, to remember playing games on the Apple II let's walk down memory lane. Sure there was the Oregon Trial, and who could forget Karateka? But the crown jewel of Apple II gaming was The Bard's Tale. It was a role playing game that actually featured first person 3D graphics, sort of. The game allowed you to create a party and vanquish thousands of evil enemies in your quest to, ummm, rescue someone or something... hey it's been a while. The point is, it was an amazing RPG, and oddly enough, it's back.

The new Bard's Tale is truly 3D, and while you have camera control, you are essentially stuck in some variation of an overhead view. Like many quality role playing games, The Bard's Tale has managed to blend action with questing, character leveling, and non-linear story telling. It would be fair to say it is on par with Champions of Norrath, or Baldur's Gate.

What truly sets our spry Bard apart is that his game is funny. There have been many attempts to bring humor to games, but this one actually succeeds by poking fun at itself and role playing games in general. Now the humor doesn't keep this from being a solid RPG, in fact it helps. I nearly fell out of my chair, when after dispatching a wolf a red cape and a picnic basket popped out of it.

Given the chance, The Bard's tale will win you over with its charm, and gameplay. I only hope that InXile keeps the Bard's Tale alive, as a sequel would be a thing of beauty.

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