The creators of The Bard's Tale (2004) said that they wanted to create something special and that's exactly what The Bard's Tale is. The game is something of a fractured fairy-tale and focuses more on poking fun at the fantasy/adventure/rpg genre than creating just another entry in the sea of fantasy rpgs. You play as The Bard (voiced by Cary Elwes) who is more interested in women, wine, and coin than adventuring. He uses his magic for his own personal gain. Being pulled into an adventure to save a damsel in distress and stop an evil sorcerer was the last thing on his mind. So of course... that's what happens. And so our story begins... The game serves more as a vessel for crude humor, snarky remarks, and breaking the 4th wall. This may not be for everybody but certain lines are bound to make you chuckle. As for the gameplay, it's not bad at all. The game is solid, simple, and different from most fantasy games. Rather than having convoluted tech trees and a long list of abilities, The Bard's Tale focuses on simple top-down combat and using summons. My main complaint is the repetitiveness of the combat. Some segments felt like they were there to pad the game time and give you more experience but gaining new summons and the occasional weapon upgrade help to keep things a bit more fresh. Overall, I had a lot of fun playing this game and enjoying some sharp wit and silly songs while exploring a unique Scottish fantasy setting.
For those who are fans of the original games, the original Bard's Tale trilogy from the 80s now comes with this game. I haven't played them but I've heard that The Bard's Tale (2004) hardly resembles the original games. With 4 games in 1, this may be enough to hold you until the release of the newly kickstarted The Bard's Tale IV.