CELESTIAN TALES: OLD NORTH
By Lex "Gaz the Dungeonmaster" Ansems on August 18, 2015
There I was, all alone in my dungeon building monsters, killer traps and various other nasty things, when my all seeing orb blinked: I had received a mail from the boss. Hmm, an offer to review a RPG game that she thought would be right up my alley. Well I did have some time left in- between killing heroes, conquering the world and generally being evil, so I decided to just give it a try. Letís play Celestian Tales: Old north.
"The Old North is a world of fantasies and realities. Of swords and sorceries, yet of humans and mortals. It is an epic odyssey of struggles and of joy; of common humans reaching for a better future..."
Okay, there are 6 playable characters, all of them a kind of RPG archetypes: fighter, rogue, healer, debuffer and so on. After picking your character you get a small intro unique to the character youíve chosen. After the intro/tutorial you get a cutscene, and then the real game starts. As for the rest of the story, youíd better play the game yourself in order to find out more.
Now letís talk about the gameplay; it is the simple, basic turn- based RPG style that we are used to from playing old RPG's like Final fantasy or Dragon Quests. Your chosen character is always the leader (or at least in the part that I played) and the rest of the playable characters are the rest of your motley crew. You can switch between three characters in battle, which gives you a range of options and attacks, suited to every challenge. The best feature in this game is the party level system; instead of individual character levels, you level up your entire party. In doing so, at certain levels x members of the party will learn some kind of active or passive skill. And let me assure you, ladies and gentlemen: I LOVE this system. It gives me the opportunity to just play as my favorite characters, without being forced to switch to a character I like less, because it would otherwise become underpowered. The Old North is basically a cookie cutter RPG; it has that old and familiar feeling that everyone who likes these games will know and love.
Moving on to the visual part of the game! Celestian Tales: Old North has a great visual aesthetic; during battle and world interaction, the game makes use of a number of great sprites that are really cute and still detailed, even though they are just sprites. When browsing the menus, youíll come across some really detailed art pictures of each of the characters, which look absolutely awesome. What I also like is that the visuals are incorporated into the menus; it feels like part of the game instead of just a menu. Kudos to the developers for pulling this off.
Now I wouldnít be much of an evil overlord if I didnít have something to nag about. So after racking my brain for quite a while I found two things that really bug me. The first item on this short list is just me being a spoiled brat again. Itís the fact that Celestian Tales: Old North doesnít do anything unique; there are no unique mechanics, special visuals or anything. Itís all really done well but basic, and this made me unable to play this game for longer sessions at a time. I personally think this is a missed opportunity, because I believe that a RPG needs to reel you in and keep you wanting to play on and on. But then again, this might only be true for me, so donít let this stop you from playing it yourselves.
The second item on my list is a technical flaw, concerning the sound, or rather: the sound settings. I turned down the volume on all available sliders because I wanted to listen to a podcast while I was playing, and even thought the music and SFX sliders were down to zero, I still heard sound effects like the environmental sounds (river in the forest), the hum of the savepoint and battle sounds. There is basically no way to mute these sounds, other than changing the setting directly on my desktop. This is a no go for me. But again, if youíre not like me and donít want to hear anything else than the game-sounds, you will not have this problem.
Celestian Tales: Old north is a great game. It doesnít try to reinvent the wheel or make it into a hover-board or something silly like that. Instead, it takes the wheel, gives it a nice sanding and polish, slaps a really cool, old-school paint job on it and sends in on its way. Itís exactly how a simple turn based RPG should be and does its job excellently. Maybe the pet peeve I have over not having something new or special will be fixed later on in the game, so Iíll just have to play on and find out. As far as Iím concerned, Celestian Tales: Old North is a game that is really enjoyable, looks great and is certainly worth a try!