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Platform: PC, PS2, XB
Genre: RPG / Action
Publisher: inXile / Vivendi
Developer: inXile
ETA: 2005

 

Related Links:

Review: Champions of Norrath (PS2)

Review: Baldur's Gate - Dark Alliance (XB)

Review: Baldur's Gate - Dark Alliance 2 (PS2)

 

 

 

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The Bard's Tale

 

Most gamers these days are probably too young to remember the Bardís Tale and to know who Brian Fargo is. Even I didnít know who he was or what this game is or what the original was all about. Needless to say, a cross platform RPG is a bold proposition for a game that seems to have little familiarity with most gamers. However, one look at the premise and the proposed dialogue choice (Snarky versus Nice) and Iím sure most RPG fans would agree that this genre definitely needs a dose of originality such as the one the Bardís Tale will no doubt bring.

 

bard's tale preview          bard's tale preview

 

The proposed gameplay also promises to have some action built into it where a combat party can be summoned to do your bidding. Equally impressive are some of the screenshots as the game is driven by the Everquest: Champions of Norrath engine.

 

Having Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) on board to be the voice of the protagonist, Iím sure that most gamers will be able to understand the style of game that this is likely to be. Looking at the official word below only reinforces this.

 

The Bard's Tale is an action/role-playing game in which the player takes on the role of the Bard Ė a sardonic and opportunistic musician and adventurer, driven by carnal rather than 

noble pursuits. The Bard is not interested in saving the world, his humble motivations are strictly "coin and cleavage."

 

A truly non-linear game, the player chooses the Bard's responses towards other characters he encounters with either 'snarky' or 'nice' dialogue. Each choice changes the course of events in the game. The action takes place in medieval times in a land based on the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland Ė the inspiration for many of the classic fantasy stories.

 

Features:

The modern interpretation of the 

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original Bard's Tale, the grandfather of all role-playing games, by the original producer - Brian Fargo.  

 

A new generation third-person, action/role-playing game featuring wicked humor and clever personality.  

 

Forget the quest to save the world, our hero is interested in just two things...coin and cleavage.

 

A deep role-playing experience with non-linear game play resulting in many different outcomes and true replay value.

 

Using the Snarky/Nice conversation system lets the players choose the tone of the Bard's interactions. Make your choice and live with the consequences.

 

Develop your combat party by summoning a group of eccentrics and misfits to do your bidding.

 

Brilliant graphics and bustling environments, alive with interactive townsfolk, original music (with singing), birds, animals, rustling trees, waving grass and trickling water, that immerse the player deep into the Bard's world.

 

Based on the storied land of the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland - the inspiration for the classic fantasy worlds.

 

Driven by the next generation of Snowblind's Everquest: Champions of Norrath Engine.  

bard's tale preview          bard's tale preview

 

What grabbed my attention was the careful intent to stray from the standard RPG trappings of both character style and storyline. The publishers have made it very clear that the Bard does not have intentions beyond his own gratification. Hopefully the snarky UK humour will not be lost on the mass gaming market but then again, this project looks more and more to be about the fans of the original, and a detailed vision of the developers. At the same time, the game is sure to entice newcomers ready for something refreshing and gripping while being truly different. With the level of proposed originality and one of the producers who put RPGís on the map, the Bardís Tale should give RPG gamers a good kick in the pants when it arrives next year.

 

- Mark Leung

(August 22, 2004)