The Bard's Tale is a great casual RPG that takes you back to gaming as it was nearly ten years ago. So be prepared for a top down third person view most of the time. What makes it most enjoyable are the bawdy humor in the dialog and the lyrics to the songs.
Our hero in the game, The Bard, is not really a hero; but a scounderal given to snarky comments and possessed of an ability to get himself into trouble. His comments are not limited to dialog with NPC's. He is equally capable of taking issue with the narrator and both seem to have a mutual hate relationship which adds to the fun. You'll also encounter Scottish, English and French accents with a healthy dose of Scottish words for things, which is fitting for story based on legends from the Orkney Islands of Scotland.
The Bard needs to recruit a team to help rescue a damsel in distress and true to his character, he's not willing to help without a reward, which the damsel offers. That offer ought to make you chuckle. Along the way you'll summon many creatures and finally figure out which ones are most useful to you. After that you'll have an opportunity to really wreak mayhem and get yourself into some interesting situations. The game is full of cliche's on purpose and they spice it up instead of detract from game-play. And of course there are always complications along the way to add dimension to the game.
The screen resolution choices are based on what was available at release time. Don't fuss over them too much. Pick the largest resolution with the same ratio as your screen and it ought to look fine anyway. Works fine on a 1900x1200 monitor.
It can be played with a controller, but you may find the onscreen prompts to be confusing and awkward. If you do use a controller, you can find a useful list of controls at http://www.gamefly.com/Rent-The-Bard%27s-Tale/109860/GameplayControls/
- seriously though, the game is best player with a mouse and keyboard. It just works better for a game this old.
The original game was released in 1985 and twenty years later this version was released with much improved graphical content and music. If you want the full retro experience, the menu system will let you load up the original game and have a go at it.
If you want to get a feel for the music and dialog in the 2005 version of the game, I would recommend these YouTube videos:
* The Tale of the Nuckelavee
* The Bard's Tale Silkbeard and the Viking Song
* Here's to the Bard
* The Chosen One #4
(There are several variations of this song and all of them have an Oompa Loopa feel to them right down to ending with a Diddly-Do.)
I just replayed a bit of the game on my Win gaming rig, but it will play equally well on a computer with low graphics capabilities. Worked just fine on a stripped down Mac Mini when I played it a few months back. (Disclaimer - used non-Steam version on my Mac.)