A Tough Talisman to Sell
As AAA games come out left and right, there are times when a simple board game with friends can bring just as much enjoyment as any multi-million dollar project. Talisman: Digital Edition
brings to the plate the concept of sitting down with three friends and experiencing the thrill of telling a character’s story through each roll of the die. Though Talisman
does bring a lot to the plate in terms of accessibility and content, frustrating mechanics and game-breaking bugs riddle what could be an above-average title.Talisman
pits a chosen character against three players, human or A.I., in a quest to retrieve the Crown of Command. To do so, one must obtain the coveted Talisman to cross the Valley of Fire. Getting to the Valley of Fire is no simple feat, as one has to train their characters to withstand the demons, monsters, spirits, and other characters out to end their journey. Each character comes with five stats: Strength, Craft, Lives, Fate, and Gold. Strength determines how much damage you can do against strength monsters. Craft shows how much damage you can deal to craft-based monsters, as well as your stat to how many magic spells you can hold. Lives are your total life counter, when you hit zero, you drop all your items and go back to base stats. Fate is your re-roll counter, use a Fate counter to re-roll for a better number. Gold allows you to buy certain items from vendors, as well as bargain with certain monsters.
The goal in Talisman
is to beef up a character, retrieve a Talisman through either completing a quest or through prayer, and reaching the Crown of Command. Doing so is no easy or short task, with most games taking easily over an hour to complete, depending on dice rolls and which cards appear. Though the allotted time spent on one game may put off players, getting three friends in the mix most certainly makes the time much more enjoyable. The accomplishment of getting a character to ludicrous levels and auto-killing dragons makes the long journey well worth it, especially when a character can auto-kill a friend’s character; the fear one can put onto people is wicked fun.
But where Talisman
shines with its cooperative play, there are many design decisions that can frequently darken the experience, mainly how luck-based Talisman
proves to be. Almost every move one does in Talisman is based off the luck of the die: movement, combat, everything on the path to victory relies on something completely out of control. Items and objects can help the strain of progressing through the map, but there are spots on the board where one unfortunate roll can wipe away almost an hour’s worth of progress. It’s almost as if Talisman
does not want the player to win, opting more to continue progressing characters to no discernable end, something a game should never do.
The most disappointing factor in Talisman
is its abundance of game-breaking bugs and issues that plague aspects of the game. Through the 11 hours I played, at least once every two games would freeze or lock into a game-breaking screen. Whether it was being stuck in an item screen, the “roll dice” button refusing to work, or being stuck perpetually casting a spell, it’s a hard pill to swallow letting a game go one to two hours only to have to exit the game with no accomplishment or satisfaction for the time spent. Talisman
also has one unbelievably laughable issue with its Warlock Quests; Warlock Quests are specific quests, like visiting an NPC on the board, or acquiring armor, that fulfilling the quest will grant you a Talisman and get you on the path to victory. If a player happens to acquire a Talisman and not finish their Warlock Quest, the path to get to the final section of the board will be blocked off until the quest is complete, regardless of if the character already has the prize at hand. What’s even more baffling is there’s no way to remove a Warlock Quest unless the character dies completely, this is almost game breaking when a Warlock Quest like “Slay a Dragon” is in possession, leaving one to hope that they can find one to two specific cards in a 100+ card deck amongst three other players. Situations like this become more common than they should be, and it’s a really sad ordeal to see a game come to an abrupt end after one can get so enveloped into their game.Talisman
has every right to be a popular, fun, and engaging game to experience with friends and players online. Each character plays a different role and each game plays out different than the last. It’s just a shame to see such a bright experience be crippled by frequent crashes, freezes, bugs, and some laughable design choices that do nothing but encumber the experience. As much as I want to recommend Talisman
, I just can’t in the state it’s in and with the decisions it’s made.