This was a beautifuly rendered tactical turn based RNG RPG with an engaging story and for the most part, stellar gameplay. The backdrop was visually stunning, and this was easily the games strongest feature. It really did a great job of not only creating a game setting, but also adding an air of mystery and intrigue and foreboding to the game.
The combat itself was fairly simplistic as far as hex based battle systems go. The RNG aspect can create some frustrating moments, but can also conversely make you so stoked that you took a low percentage chance and succeeded.
The RPG upgrading system likewise was fairly simple.
As far as the writing goes, the story itself well complemented the artisitc design of the game, or vice versa, lol, and the characters were pretty interesting in my opinion, overall. They werent fully fleshed out, but I didnt feel they needed to be, and for what the game was presenting, I thought the whole thing worked quite well.
So, based on all that, with the excellent story writing, the cool characters, the amazing set piece, and the decent combat, this game should really be one of the best. However, it had some very real issues that knock it down some.
For one, as good as the writing was, realistically, none of your choices leading up to the finale really mattered, EXCEPT who you leveled up. Speaking of which, party members only level up through use, which I feel, based on the type of game it is, is something of a failure. I feel party members should level together in games like this, or at least, the unused ones should get some sort of experience. Otherwise, you end up woefully umprepared later when you are FORCED to use certain characters, arguably the ones that held the least appeal through the rest of the sotry as far as using them in battle went.
So, like I say, your choices didnt really matter. You have to fight starvation and loss through battle based on your actions, which for the bulk of your group (the common soldiers, scouts, and peasants), basically affected the amount of survivors left when you get to the final city WHERE they all die anyway, lol. However, your party decisions defintiely matter, and because you are forced to use certain characters later in the game, and one specifically for the final battle sequence (the daughter), you would be encouraged to use them EXCEPT, the game really doesnt hint at that. They are mostly the characters you will find least useful overall, and that coupled with a distinct lack of anything suggesting they might be important later, virtually guarantees that most players will face the same complications later in the game.
So, this matters because the final battle is two stages and relies solely on the daughters archery skills to win. However, there was no real reason to level her up through the game, and I know that most players enter that final battle with an underleveled primary use character, which generally spells defeat.
Now, it is my understanding that the developers listened to these same complaints from a large percentage of the people who played this just after release and made some adjustments, but I havent played it since those patches were released, so I cant speak to whether they really helped out with these issues or not. My understanding was the patch release focused on the final battle, so that aspect might be better now.
Anyway, I think overall, I want to give this game an 8 out of 10, but all the issues with it make me drop my rating down to about a 6.5 out of 10.
I do intend to revisit this game and see how the patches impacted things, so I will revise this review if necessary after I do so. Regardless, it is a game worth experiencing, so I do in fact recommend it.