Role-playing games, known as “RPGs” for short, allow gamers to consume the role of characters in fictional settings, with the player’s choices affecting the way the narrative pans out.
It doesn’t come as a big shock to learn that there are very few RPGs available on the Xbox Live Arcade, presumably because the amount of content in your typical role-playing game is massively above the accepted size for a downloadable title. Nevertheless, Spiders (the developer behind Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper) stepped up to the challenge by developing Faery: Legends of Avalon.
After man started to have its doubts about the existence of fairies, the fairy kingdom was dismissed as childish and the fairies became age old memories. In Faery: Legends of Avalon, players are placed in the role of an elf or a fairy, as they begin their adventure to understand why the world is dying and to save the kingdom from disappearing.
A nice feature about the game, evident pretty much from the start, is the character creation, which contains great detail for a downloadable title. This sees players being able to customise pretty much everything about their character, including hair, facial features and their body.
The narrative is told through the use of cutscenes and in-game interaction with the game’s characters which, despite telling the story to a good standard, it requires a lot of reading, mainly down to the lack of a narrator. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though it does mean that the less patient gamers will miss out on key story details as they skip through the mountains of dialogue.
Nonetheless, there is still a great amount of enjoyment to be had from Faery: Legends of Avalon’s gameplay. Flying around the worlds completing the various missions that the game’s unique characters have to offer will keep players entertained throughout the 10-15 hours the game takes to complete.
Each mission consist of obtaining certain items and helping the world’s inhabitants. However, they can feel quite repetitive, especially when players find themselves asking the in-game characters for hints on where to go. A redeeming factor concerning the game’s mission is that a number of them contain multiple routes (normally a good and bad path). This is just a slight indication to the amount of depth the game goes into, which is exceptionally surprising considering it’s an Xbox Live Arcade title.
The game also has ysour typical RPG combat system, in which the two sides take it in turns to attack their opponents, including crabs, goblins and hornets, each of which becomes progressively stronger as players level up and dive further into the adventure. Battles allow players to cast attacking and defending spells and consume potions on their turn, requiring a little bit of thought, rather than a simply attacking mentality. Regardless of the fact it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, it’s certainly very well implemented.
Needless to say, there are a few faults with the game. A little niggle with the gameplay is that players are unable to walk and are constantly flying. With the flying system not being as accurate as one would have hoped, it does come with a slight learning curve, as players often find themselves taking a few attempts at getting to their intended destination.
Additionally, the game’s environments are also quite limited in size, taking under a minute to fly from one side of the main world to the other. While this is understandable for a downloadable title such as Faery: Legends of Avalon, a wider scale landscape wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Graphically, the game doesn’t go into immense detail, though there is enough to suffice the needs of the player, being of a similar level to the graphics evident on the Playstation 2. While improved detail may have made for a better overall product, it’s not essentially a big deal.
The game’s audio is more of an annoyance than a pleasure. With its repetitive, looping soundtrack it soon becomes the main reason to reach for the remote to turn the volume down. As previously mentioned, the lack of a narrator is disappointing, though the game’s sound effects are to a good extent.
Overall, Faery: Legends of Avalon is a great attempt at bringing the RPG genre to the Xbox Live Arcade. Very few downloadable titles contain as much depth as this and, at 1200 Microsoft Points; this is certainly a game to purchase if you enjoyed the trial.