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Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny (Xbox)

Developed by Crafty Studios, Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny was originally released back in 1992, was remastered for release on PC (Steam) in 2013 and has now been released on consoles. You can purchase the game on PC for £10.99, PS4 for £34.99 and Xbox One for £31.99.

Realms of Arkania is an RPG with turn-based combat. There are two difficulties to choose from when you load up a new game, beginner or professional (harder but with greater rewards).

When it was first released, Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny was a 2D game (of course, it was the 90s!) and has received a 3D makeover but honestly, all of the towns you visit look the same. The colours of the buildings and even the layout are almost a copy and paste. The NPCs and Innkeepers have very little variation and although there are ambient sounds to suggest that there is constant chatter going on, if you approach some NPCs who look like they are talking, they are in fact, deathly silent. At first, I quite liked the background music but it seems to be on a constant loop and plays quite loudly so it didn’t take long before it started to irritate me.

I appreciate that many developers hate to spoon-feed their game to players but I found this game severely lacking in any guides. Yes, there is a help section which is loaded with text and frankly, hard to read. I spent far too much of my time wondering what I was supposed to be doing, even a small tutorial would have been appreciated just to help get used to the menus, combat, skills and talents but of course there is nothing and even guides online a few and far between (or dated so long ago that they don’t really apply anymore).

You start in Thorwal and have no quests so you have to wander around buildings trying to figure out what to do whilst being sent away by what felt like absolutely everyone who would speak to me! Eventually I land in a tavern with the idea to drink my troubles away and after buying several rounds and speaking to every stranger who approached our table, finally, I found myself with a quest! Once I believed I was done in Thorwal I realised I had to make my way North and thus began the journey of my slow descent into madness.

EVERYTHING is a load screen and I’m really not joking. In order to travel to other places, you have to enter a load screen where you can watch your party’s journey from one place to another as a little red line which shows your progress. Sometimes you will run into a stranger who wants to give you food or drink, sometimes you’ll find an angry mob trying to kill you (always flee) but most of the time your party will be tired that you will be forced to make camp and sleep. So now your time is alternated between load screens of travelling and sleeping just so you can end up in a place which looks the same as the last.

Ultimately the game is beyond confusing for me and to this day I still don’t know how to adequately equip my party of characters with weapons. Gathering herbs and stock supplies constantly failed because every single character didn’t have the correct tools, no matter how many different combinations I tried and don’t even get me started on the combat. Thankfully there is an auto combat mode although, that has never been successful and therefore, I died. It may be worth mentioning now that even in 2017 after the second remaster there is no autosave. So save often or you’ll lose your progress as I found out the hard way.

In my life whenever I have raged out of games, I have ALWAYS come back and usually it’s a sign of a good game for me because its urging to me to be a better gamer, to improve my weaknesses in order to overcome that game’s challenges for example, be less all “guns blazing” in a shooter for example and try being a little more stealthy and actually use the cover available, or take a break from a platformer and come back with a fresh mindset. This is all different in Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny, though. Never in my life have I not wanted to play a game before because I felt bored. I’m sure this was a great game back in the 90s, and possibly even on Steam back in 2013 but right now, I have absolutely nothing making me want to load up that game ever again, even after trying to look at an old walkthrough to give me an idea of which direction I needed to be going, my interest and energy for the game had already been stamped out by a billion load screens.

Overall, I am a huge lover of RPGs but I really didn’t enjoy my time playing Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny at all. Perhaps this is a game that was best-appreciated twenty-five years ago and shouldn’t have been ported to console. If I had to give it a score it would be 2/10 because it is playable and I like the concept. There are many good games available in this day and age for £30 unfortunately, Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny isn’t one of them. Don’t bother.

Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny has 40 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. For the most part, the achievements are progression based and should be unlockable through natural gameplay. There are 0 point achievements as well which I know will put some people off of playing the game completely which is understandable as I personally think achievements equals Gamerscore and having 0 point achievements defeats the whole purpose. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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