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mdxi (4658)

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Journal of mdxi (4658)

Wednesday July 06, 2005
10:57 PM

Bard's Tale

[ #25557 ]

The PS2 version, and not the C=64 or Apple ][ version, just for clarity.

Waltzed through it in about 12 hours thanks to turning on the invincibility cheat and the 100X damage cheat (not a typo) and just blasting my way through with the balletics of dual-wield (broadsword in one hand, dirk in the other).

It's an enjoyable game, is quite funny (K laughed out loud quite a bit), and the treble endings are a neat bit, though they're all WAY too short. How can you not like a game with dance-battling zombies and undead livestock? The humor is split between beating-you-in-the-head unsubtlety and never-explained-wry-touches (I didn't see the logic of undead sheep casting sleep spells until near the end of the game). Also, having a semitransparent undead puppy is the best thing ever.

The biggest problem is that despite being a light, Diablo-style, comedy-oriented, action RPG, Bard's Tale suffers badly from FF6 syndrome (AKA FF Plot Death). For the uninitated, this is where a game has a very enjoyable and engrossing storyline until halfway through the game, where Some Bad Event transpires and suddenly it's just one dungeon crawl after another, with tiny bits of plot thrown in to keep you from breaking things. It specifically suffers from FF6 syndrome in that there actually is a WOR type scenario, which closes off lots of things you may have been saving up for or wanting to come back to, with no warning.

There are some unlockable extras, but they're rather poorly implemented (the art galleries, for instance, in addition to not being zoom/pannable, are uncontrollable slideshows).

Final nitpick: it claims to be a naughty, bawdy game, and has the M rating to match, but there's nothing in here you wouldn't see or hear with far more frequency in a PG-13 movie. Since they rated themselves M, they should have gone all out and just streamlined actual cussing and nudity into the game as God of War did (have I mentioned how much fun God of War was?)

It's definitely fun and satisfying as a rental. I don't think I'd want to buy it though.

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