Review by Mirror_Aura
This is a very underwhelming game.
Fate: Traitor Soul is an RPG created by WildTangent that follows the tale of an adventurer who must traverse through several dungeons. It is an expansion to Fate, and Fate: Undiscovered Realms.
There is very little story involved, so you can get right into the game -- that is, the tedious dungeon crawling and slow leveling process.
I must first say, the graphics in this game are fine. Nothing particularly amazing, but they do not seem to harm the eyes, nor do they look bad. In dungeons, you'll typically see the same textures for walls and floors repeated in the level, however the texture sets for dungeon levels are randomized, providing some difference... There is also the occasional chair, table, and other random object thrown about the dungeon, although I can't quite understand why such things are there.
The audio suits the situations well enough. Your typical RPG sounds of slashing, opening boxes, and everything else you'd expect to hear.
The music is unmemorable, never seeming to stand out. It is neither upbeat nor atmospheric, but rather lighthearted, making it very difficult to "get into the mood" of this game and enjoy the dungeon crawling experience.
The voices can get irritating, although the usual trouble comes from the monster voices -- They are unfitting and rather annoying, and some small monsters have very strong growls. The voices do not add positively to this game, and not every textbox is voiced over by the narrator -- whose voice is neither spectacular nor bad.
If you have played any other "Western RPG" such as Diablo you will know what to expect : Left Click to move, or attack an enemy, or interact with the townspeople, etc. Right Click to cast your "active spell".
You have 6 hotkeys for Potions, the 1-6 digit keys. I'm not quite sure why they couldn't have included all 10, but it does not detract too much due to a Healing Charm item you can obtain that makes the lack of spaces not much of a loss.
I do however regret that this game plays like any other RPG in this genre, with left click moving... I would have found it more enjoyable to move and attack with the keyboard, similar to console Action-RPG games. There is no option for that specific play style, even though it would probably help make battles more interesting.
As I've said above, if you have played games such as Diablo you will know what to expect. This game makes no attempt to be different or stray from the norm, it embraces the genre defining ideals of past Western RPGs and makes me wonder if I am playing a parody or a serious commercial product.
When you start a new file, you will choose between four races; Human, Orc, Shadow Elf, Cogger. The human race excels at magic, while the Orc and Cogger seem to be more physical-based, and the Shadow Elf seems to be focused on Bows.
As you start a New Game file you will notice that there are 4 portals to choose from. Only three will take you somewhere, and only two of them should be your first choice. The two portals -- Druantia and Typhon -- take you to those Towns, which can take you to their respective dungeons. It is a bit underwhelming that there are such a small number of areas, and I was very much expecting more (as in other games such as Gauntlet Legends, which had 6 sets of "portals", although they were really just levels).
Upon entering the dungeon of your choice, you will realize quickly how slow it is to level up, and how often you must travel back to town. As a new player to the game, you will likely want to try out different character possibilities -- this is difficult when the leveling process starts off slow and doesn't fluctuate much throughout the course of the game. The player will also move quite slowly in the dungeons at first, which tends to make things more boring, as there is a lack of enemies in the early dungeon levels.
The character building aspect of this game seems underdeveloped in many ways. The three additional races -- the aforementioned Orc, Shadow Elf, and Cogger -- seem tacked on in a sense, as they do not gain special abilities, but rather start off with different stats. The only things your character can really do is use physical attacks, use bows, or use magic. For physical attacking there is dual-wielding skill, but there is nothing specific to it, just an increase in attack power. Bow users cannot look forward to any Bow-specific skills, such as say a three-way-shot or anything similar, as there are none.
Magic users are the luckiest, with there being three "sets" of Magic. You have your offensive magic, your defensive magic, and your charm magic. Offensive is the typical spells such as Fire Ball, defensive has things such as "Spectral Armor", and Charm has Town Portal, Summons, etc... However, it is rather one-sided, as Charm's summons are very overpowered in comparison to the other sets of spells. Further detracting from this is the low number of spells. Considering that this is an expansion to a game that came out over a year ago, which was an expansion to a game that came out several years before, I would expect there to be dozens of spells. There aren't.
Your character has a Pet with him/her at all times, who can attack enemies, carry items, and equip a few small items (rings, for example). However, this system does not add too much to the game, and ends making me regret further that this game has no multiplayer system -- nor an option for an AI-Controlled human partner. Perhaps if the Pet could cast spells or had unique abilities, it would be more interesting, but the Pet is simply a "tank", with high amounts of life and strength.
The enemies you face in dungeons are very repetitive. You will tend to see the same enemies in a floor repeated over and over... And then the same ones on the next floor! Even at very high floor levels, you will still see the same monsters, but stronger. This makes the game quite repetitive, as there is no need to come up with any new strategies as you proceed through the dungeon.
There is no multiplayer in this game at all, a fact which definitely decreases the playability of this game. You can not transfer items between the characters you create, you can not co-operatively play through the dungeons, nor can you even battle other players. The game is entirely singleplayer. That would be fine, if not for the fact that part of the reason Diablo revolutionized this genre was because of Battle.net... 13 years ago. In the year 2009, this is quite unacceptable, almost making it unbearable to increase your strength as there is no one to show your newfound powers to, and no immense story to progress through -- which I shall detail next.
There is very little Story to speak of, even though this is an RPG. I am fine with this, as it allows me to sooner actually start playing the game, however it is odd how there is simply none anywhere in the game.
Even in games with seemingly no storyline, you may find some character who sheds light on why things are the way they are, why the bad guys are where they are, etc... That is not the case here. You will find no such character to explain the origins of the fiends you face, and you will find no hidden tome of backstory knowledge.
I cannot really say that this game even has a "plot twist". The story of the game remains dull throughout, offering nothing to the people playing the game. For those of you looking for an interesting story-based RPG, this is simply not it.
The characters add little to this game, due to the previously mentioned irritating voice-overs and the fact that they really have nothing story-related to say. You will likely see them often, due to the usefulness of the shops and healing NPCs.
The atmosphere is hard to describe. The lighthearted music and graphics make it seem cheerful and fun, but the purple fog seen in the dungeons contrasts this highly, as do some of the enemy designs. You will not be scared playing this game, nor will you be particularly upbeat from the style contained within.
For those of you who beat the final boss, you can choose an item to give to your "descendants" -- as in, you can pick an item that your next new character can use. It's an interesting system, and the item is actually powered up somewhat, but there is generally no reason to play through the game twice. A second run through the game will reveal no new monsters, no new areas, and no new items. The items you buy from shops are simply determined by your level, the monsters are determined by dungeon level, and the areas you run through during the course of the game are the only ones you'll see next time.
I have to wonder why they bothered putting the "Town Of Grove" portal in the game if they were just going to tell people to play the non-expansion version of Fate to go in it; It would have been helpful to increase replayability to have a new (technically old) dungeon to go through, but that is simply not the case here.
By the time you reach the end of the game, you will have probably already realized that there are very few character styles worth using. Because of the limitations of the character design system, and how unbalanced it is in general, there is no real reason to play the game again just to see what a different character plays like.
It is unfortunate that I must suggest that people do not buy this game. However, given the obvious lack of effort and features in this game, it is a given.
You may like this game -- you may even love it. But I did not, and I do hope that you make an informed choice regarding the purchase of this title. Perhaps look into other choices of Western RPGs, Action-RPGs, etc... If you prefer story-based games, you should look elsewhere as well.
There may be things you enjoy in this game, such as the graphics, music, or simplicity... But there will not be anything keeping you playing the game.
Rating: 2.0 - Poor
Product Release: Fate: The Traitor Soul (US, 10/13/09)
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