18 September, 2016

The Storm Guard: Darkness is Coming Review

The Storm Guard: Darkness is Coming is an interesting mixture of many ideas brought together in a single game, yet combining many good ideas is not always a good idea itself.

I find myself conflicted, since I want to like this game, but I am considering to refund it while I still can. Nobody will see the screenshots and go in expecting good graphics, but I will say that the graphics and animations are actually quite decent. Though the screenshots featured put them in a good light, in game you will find that most models are less pleasing to look at close. That said, they aren't why I was considering refunding.

The reason for that is that for everything this game does, there are other games who do it better. Nothing here is very bad bad, but nothing is exemplary or exceptionally good either. During most of my time playing this, I thought back to other games who did as this does but arguably better. Sure, none of those games combine all the features offered in The Storm Guard, but they focus on making those few that they do offer great.
There is a village and narrator, Darkest Dungeon style. But less interesting to listen to, and the village appears less complex and with some interface quirks that are not very intuitive.
The combat itself is interesting, but ultimately it just doesn't offer that much depth past 'Put the guy with a shield up front'. Maybe this will change further into the game, maybe not. I can't say I'll make it that far when it takes more than an hour to gain a single level on a hero, and with them potentially dying I would certainly hate to have to re-train them.
Another thing you will quickly notice seems to be directly from Darkest Dungeon as well is the dungeon map system, except it simplifies it even further. Move from encounter tile to encounter tile, eat food along the way. Dungeons are simply encounters connected together through minimal narration- Like a DnD game ran by a newbie DM, rather than actual dungeons and a world full of story it feels like a string of random encounters, followed by a semi-random boss fight that often may as well be a regular random encounter.

As a whole, and in individual parts, it just doesn't have the complexity to justify the overal average-ness of the game. It's certainly not bad, but I feel very much like there just isn't anything for me to do aside from positioning. Deciding what hero goes onto a mission didn't feel very important, and then there is no inventory for me to bother with either, nor complex armour or weapon management. The interface is slightly clumsy, that's not really an issue- You can learn the quirks. But one of the big things in a tactical combat game is that you need to see, at a glance, what's going on. You can't do that as there does not appear to be much of any indication that for example your hero's movement points are reduced until you get to his turn and find that he can't move as far. All the combats appear very similar, with no significant changes outside of scenery. Outside of combat the repetitiveness doesn't fare much better. All missions appear to be of the 'move to tile and kill stuff' variety, even if their description and reason for killing these things are different.

In conclusion, I had expected a somewhat quirky turn based tactical combat game, one with interesting maps and a lot of interesting combat scenarios. In the end, I didn't get any of that. While I can see the potential, The Storm Guard is most alike a string of fights generated by a random encounter generator, with some narration about why this is happening and sometimes a choice which encounter you want to fight.
Perhaps if it goes on a sale it's worth it, but there is no way I can recommend this for 20 euro.
I think I just convinced myself to refund it.

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