Top-down view RPG-lite, more of an action-adventure, I suppose - one of those titles that focuses more on the characters and story rather than loot, combat, or game mechanics in general.
That is not to say it abandons game mechanics completely - just simplifies them compared to more mainstream RPGs (especially "western", as opposed to JRPGs).
However, in the story department - it excels, with witty, humorous writing (it's essentially a parody/spoof of fantasy RPG games) and superb voice acting (at least in English version). Well worth playing just for that! And you'd be surprised how much is based on real world mythology and places.
There are essentially two main characters in the game - the eponymous Bard, whose misadventures you follow and whom you control directly, and The Narrator, who holds the Bard in great contempt, never failing to throw in some sarcastic commentary. There's fourth wall to be broken for sure, and generally the game does instill this idea that it is a tale, sort of reenactment you're witnessing, rather than directly participating in, at least that's how it worked for me - I would place myself, perhaps paradoxically, more next to The Narrator, who's spinning the tale, rather than the Bard, who's living (reliving?) it.
The story mostly revolves around Bard being a
Chosen One, enduring trials and tribulations to save a princess, although his motives are clear: coin and cleavage, and definitely not
saving the world. Which rapidly enters worse and worse state. Which may or may not be related to Bard's questing around. Nothing really to dwell on much, you're here pretty much to enjoy the ride.
I finished it on hard difficulty, but I wouldn't really bother if I were you, it only serves as annoyance really rather than a proper challenge, and everything can be easily cheesed anyway, with you shooting offscreen enemies with bows, minmaxing dexterity and rhythm (as a bard, you can summon variety of allies and rhythm makes them stronger), so playing it easy just lets you enjoy the ride more.
If you're unaware, it's well worth pointing out that none other than Brian Fargo is behind this game, one of industry titans (does Fallout ring a bell? something he was personally responsible for, not mentioning other great titles he was more or less involved with, and most recently, Kickstarter backed great promises of Torment and Wasteland 2). You really should cast away any doubts with regard to writing quality this game has to offer (mind though, again, it's not a "serious" title, and not big one either, giving off somewhat indie, passion project vibe rather than triple-A vibe Interplay could muster and inXile not so much, at least until Kickstarter and ever growing technological advances.. but I digress; look the guy up on Wikipedia if you don't know who he is).Oh, it's bad luck to be you.
A chosen one of many isn't new
When you think you're full of luck
in the bullocks you'll get struck
Oh, it's bad luck to be you.