When it comes to RPGs I prefer turn based to real time combat, and while 3D looks spiffy I’d much rather see nicely rendered 2D images. If it needs to be 3D, then more of an isometric or top down perspective is the way to go. A world with a well developed history is a bonus, and quests and NPC interaction are basically a must. As it turns out, Rimelands: Hammer of Thor has all of this in spades, and what at first glance appeared to be “big whoop, another RPG” is now turning into “hey, this is a pretty nice RPG”.
Rimelands feels a bit like Fallout at first in terms of plot, but instead of some altruistic motive like trying to help people, it seems that you’re basically a treasure seeker. Sure your grandma has some ulterior motives, but since she won’t share the details you just have to trust that all will be revealed in due time – and it will. You’ll learn about events past, present and future through plenty of NPC interaction and books that you find throughout your journeys. That pretty much covers a fleshed out world.
So how about quests and combat? No need to worry in that department. You have your main objective of helping your grandmother, but along the way folks will ask you to do other things as well. And all of these quests will be highlighted with plenty of combat. Fighting is interesting because while most RPGs use some sort of dice mechanic behind the scenes to control the outcome, in Rimelands you actually get to see the dice. Each combatant throws a certain number of dice depending on stats, and a simple calculation of skulls minus shields determines whether an attack was a success or failure. What’s cool is that once per round you can use a mana point to re-roll any non-favorable dice.
Also, while not as complex as many RPGs, there is character customization in the form of three ‘specialties” – barbarian, assassin and shaman. In general this helps build melee, ranged and magical skills respectively. The beauty of the system is that every time you go up a level you can pick a new path to follow, so you can either have a very specialized character or a more well rounded one depending on your preferences. The other really neat feature is the ability to build your own weapons with blueprints that you find. You get materials from deconstructing other items you find on your journeys (at a price, of course), but once you’ve got the materials you can build the equipment on your own.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, the save system is rather annoying. I’m not sure what triggers a save, though I suspect it’s any time a new area is loaded, but I’d much prefer the good old fashion “click a button to save” method. Also, while not detrimental to the overall gaming experience, the fact that you see the “loading….” screen as much as you do gets a bit frustrating. I guess that’s the trade off for some slick visuals, though.
Speaking of which, the presentation of the world of Rimelands is top notch. It’s rendered in 3D but uses a Diablo like perspective that works really well for this type of game. The characters look good, though admittedly it’s kind of weird playing an RPG that’s not full of ogres and dragons and stuff. I do wish there was a bit more variety in the locations, however. Every vault so far basically looks the same, and while it looks good, I want to see something else.
The audio isn’t quite as spectacular. The sound effects serve their purpose, but the screams of the characters could actually get kind of annoying if they were played with more frequency. The music is decent enough but very subtle, really taking to heart the concept of “background”. The audio’s certainly not intrusive, but it doesn’t wow me either.
I have several RPGs sitting on my device waiting for me to play them, and others that I’ve purchased and subsequently removed from my device for lack of time or interest, but Rimelands is the first one in a while that I’ve really gotten into. I won’t say it’s full of revolutionary new features; rather it takes the best of old school from both computers and pen and paper and combines those attributes into a captivating game. This is what a certain mega popular Square-Enix release should have been.
|Title:||Rimelands: Hammer of Thor||Developer:||Crescent Moon Games|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0||Min OS Req:||3.1.3|