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InXile / Vivendi






T (Teen)



October 2004



- Humorous adventure
- Easily grasped role-playing elements
- Great audio design
- Controls make sense



- May be too “pedestrian” for the hardcore crowd



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

Review: Dungeons & Dragons - Heroes (XB)

Review: Fallout 3 (360)



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The Bard's Tale

Score: 8.0 / 10


bard's tale review          bard's tale review


For me, The Bard’s Tale arrives at the best possible moment. The stress of trying to review umpteen games during the busy 4th Quarter has transformed into A-1 cynicism. Being able to laugh is a welcomed change particularly after the so-called humor of Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. The Bard’s Tale takes shots at everything but fans of role-playing games will get more of the jokes.

The Bard’s Tale begins with the titular Bard on a quest for ill-gotten booty and the chance to romance a few comely lassies. Does he really need a deeper quest?

As far as role-playing games go, Bard’s Tale is average (with most elements stripped down) as most of the familiar conventions apply (earning XP and leveling




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up, accepting missions, seeking out the better equipment, etc.) and even the ¾ overhead perspective is familiar but the execution is very funny. The interplay between the Bard and the Narrator is miles more sophisticated and funny that the aforementioned Magna Cum Laude – not only does the delivery work the jokes are actually amusing.

There is more to the


game than its humor though. The Bard is part summoner – wielding his instrument to call all manner of being to his aid. From a lowly rat to a raging elemental, as the Bard travels the land he learns more and more tunes to summon more powerful allies (whom he has basic control over with the D-pad). Performing any of these tunes (equipping weapons or performing a spell) is done through an overlay menu system, which feels wrong at first but quickly becomes very comfortable. Just for an example, pressing the right trigger brings up the summoning overlay. You’re still in control of the Bard but layered on top are button choices (A,B,X,Y) to summon specific creatures. The triggers, white, and black buttons bring up menus that are navigated the same way. The only time I found myself pausing the game was to check the logbook. Kudos to the designers for keeping it streamlined.


bard's tale review          bard's tale review

Tallarico Studios did a great job with the audio. The ambient sound alone is worthy of an award, because with the correct setup you almost feel like you’re there. Wolves howling, birds twittering… the mix is just right.

The Bard’s Tale has its rough edges but I probably spent more time than was necessary playing it because I was enjoying it! Hardcore RPG players might be turned off by Bard’s uncomplicated and streamlined approach, but the rest of us will enjoy the laughs.

- Omni
(December 18, 2004)


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