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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Role-Playing Game

 

Publisher

Total Gaming

 

Developer

Cypron Studios

 

ESRB

N/A

 

Released

July 2006

 

 

- Old school RPG charm and Eastern European flavor
- Low system requirements
- Strong musical score

 

 

- Combat, movement and NPC interaction become tedious over time
- Interfaces are clumsy
- Game world pales in comparison to recent (*cough* Oblivon *cough*) RPGs

 

 

Review: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (360)

Review: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (PC)

Review: X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (PC)

 

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Gods: Lands of Infinity

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

I promised myself, in writing this review of Cypron Studios new 3D RPG “Gods: Lands of Infinity,” that I would try to do so without mentioning Elder Scrolls IV:  Oblivion.  (Oh damn.  I just did.)  Okay, yes, it’s unfair to compare a release by a small, independent Slovakian developer with a major North American title in an established series.  However, it’s hard not to make the comparison and to keenly feel the differences.  While appealing and distinctive in some ways, Gods most often feels like a less substantial, less deep and less fun version of Bethesda ’s blockbuster.

 

gods lands of infinity          gods lands of infinity

 

One positive about the game’s relative simplicity -- Cypron’s RPG will play on many of those older, humbler systems that Oblivion won’t.  Also, G:LOI, with its simpler, more straightforward and slightly less bloody gameplay, might appeal to younger and to non-traditional players.  And the game world does have an old-school-RPG charm that some nostalgic veteran gamers might enjoy.

 

Lands of Infinity begins with a lengthy cinematic chronicling the history (think Tolkien via Bratislava) leading up to the game’s starting point where the player takes control of the lovely and talented Vivien, the game’s heroine, as she searches for powerful relics to reclaim her divine identity.  Some RPG fans will

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certainly miss the lack of character creation and customization options (sorry Oblivion fans – no adjusting the width of your character’s eye orbits.)  But to be fair, Viv is a tough and appealing little waif, and some specialization is possible as she progresses in levels and abilities, gaining alchemical and some magic powers late in the game.  As 

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well, a variety of NPC allies exist for the player to add to the party and try out new weapons, specializations and skills.

 

If you’ve never been to an Eastern European Medieval Faire, you might feel as if you have after spending even a short time in G:LOI’s 3D world.  While the Slavic flavor is enjoyable, the various villages and NPC’s, particularly the females NPC’s, are pretty homogeneous, and it becomes hard to remember if it was behind this or that hut where Petra or Larissa or Riga or whoever-she-was asked you to find that anti-libido potion to fix her philandering husband.  And the world isn’t as immersive as it initially promises.  Some NPC’s wander realistically, but most stay put, apparently having the same conversations or brooding over the same thoughts for weeks on end.  The random creatures appear very . . . randomly.  The waypoint travel system that links local maps to the world map, though efficient, quickly feels limiting.   

 

As with many recent games, Lands of Infinity camouflages its rather linear storyline by mixing in various side quests in with the main story quests, all of them accumulating in an easily-accessed central queue.  Completed quests and NPC interactions sometimes make other destinations appear on the large, webbed, world map.  It’s an efficient system, though rarely surprising.  Some handy innovations appear, like local maps that show the latest prices when you mouse over traders, but the interfaces are all quite basic and even a little cumbersome, particularly the inventory screen which requires a lot of annoying fiddling just to complete simple actions.

 

gods lands of infinity          gods lands of infinity

 

One real disappointment is the game’s “meelee” [sic] combat system.  While it does require some strategy, as the player manages action points while deciding the party’s attacks, defenses, and escapes, it gets old very fast.  Foes line up in orderly groups and attack one at a time, and the entire process quickly becomes workmanlike.  It doesn’t help that the combat animations are unvaried.  The magic animations are better, eye-catching and innovative.  But here more than anywhere else in the game the 3D seems particularly wasted, since there is really no opportunity to maneuver for position or adjust range or angle of attack.

 

Interestingly, in addition to the killing of beasties and baddies, the game focuses very much on trade and commerce.  While some players may find this an exciting challenge and a nice departure from hack & slash, others might find all the comparison shopping -- keeping track of sausage prices in one town and honey prices in the next -- a little tedious.  And it isn’t as much an alternative as a necessity.  In the early parts of the game, where combat reaps few rewards and money’s tight, it’s hard to keep oneself stocked in weaponry, armor and healing potions without intelligently working trade routes and markets.

 

The game graphics are pretty, though seldom mind-blowing.  Faces are nicely rendered even if bodies are a little blocky.  There is some fairly attractive, if repetitive, scenery to watch as you slog through the world.  And you will be doing a lot of slogging -- the game requires a fair amount of “click then wait” foot travel from waypoint to site to waypoint.  This, coupled with the fact that poor Viv finds hills, forests, fences and even shrubbery impassable, adds a little to the tedium.

 

The voice acting, while bland, isn’t terrible and definitely no worse than much of the non-Patrick Stewart acting in Oblivion.  Now and then a few giggleworthy lines betray the translated nature of the text, (ie. “I am a man, lord of procreation,”) but there is a reasonable variety in voices and even some attempts at intentional comic relief.  The music, by Pavel Krychtalek  , is superior, evocative and a little haunting, reminding me of a slightly Slavic version of the theme from Morrowind. 

 

In all, Gods: Lands of Infinity won’t set yours or any other world on fire, but it is a fun diversion and maybe an enjoyable change of pace, and I do look forward to Cypron’s future releases.

 

- John Tait

(August 9, 2006)

 

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