Silverfall PC Review
I sat down to play Silverfall with a head full of fond memories of Diablo, Dungeon Siege and various other hack-and-slash RPGs. Despite being quite a generic game, Silverfall has some interesting new ideas. The world of Silverfall uses both magic and science which makes for varied environments, characters, and opinions.
The first thing I was eager to find out about was the much talked about cell shading. Actually cell shading isn’t used, but the developers have added a thick black line around some graphics and this effect has a large impact. This really makes the characters stand out and gives a very stylish look to the game.
In the world of Silverfall there are 4 playable races: Human, Elf, Troll and Goblin. But don’t think that this means there are different alliances or starting points. Every adventure starts like this: an undead army launches an all-out war on Silverfall and everything that isn’t undead unites to defeat it. There isn’t a great deal of character customisation, but your character will become more distinct as you equip new items. Once you’ve settled on a race and a face you are thrown into a fairly decent tutorial mode, where you get to play as a high level archmage who will be relevant to the plot later. This tutorial mode is good for allowing you to get comfortable using the hotkeys and spell casting, but I find most people want to get on with levelling their own character.
The CGI in this game is great. Lighting and shadows are well done and the environments you travel through are original and well designed. The characters look great and some of the spell-casting is beautiful. All in all there is a huge amount of attention to detail.
My personal favourite aspect of this game is the “Nature v Technology” system. You’ll probably be familiar with the Dark Side/Light Side scale in Knights of the Old Republic, which measures the good and evil in your actions, well, the nature/technology scale in Silverfall works in the same way. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to act – but different actions have different consequences, bringing rewards or disadvantages.
I found using technology to be the most fun way to play the game because it was the most unusual. Nature mostly grants you generic magic bows and armour, but with technology you get to play with chainsaws, sniper rifles, pistols and even tiny little walking robots. I was surprised to find out that the nature / technology system doesn’t stop with skills and equipment, it also dictates the way the environment shapes around you. For example, if you complete quests to install generators then towns will be lit with electricity.
The music in this game is nothing to get excited about, it’s neither good nor bad, however the music does seem to change along with the nature and technology theme. The environment can determine whether the music is tranquil or clunky, which helps the atmosphere of the gameplay.
Unsurprisingly, the voice acting is patchy, it varies from very good to abysmal.
The levelling system in this game is nothing new at all. There are 3 sections: Combat, Magic and Other. Inside each of these sections is a subsection.
The Combat section contains Mêlée, Shoot and Technique. Mêlée lets you train in the skill of the hand-to-hand weapon style of your choice. It also lets you train in offensive and defensive forms. Shoot follows the same system, with it’s own range of ballistic and archery weapons. And Technique offers a random selection of weaponry and skills enhancement.
The Magic section contains Element, Light and Shadow. Element lets you train in the elements of fire, ice and lightning. Light contains good magic such as healing spells, and Shadow contains the dark magic such as curses and necromancy.
The Other section contains Race, Nature and Technology. In the Race subsection are the attributes of your chosen race, and the Nature and Technology pages are full of skills you can level up as long as you are in the right place on the Nature/Technology scale. These skills are unique to this game; there is a Nature skill called “Rust” which means you do increased damage to mechanical enemies. There’s also a Cyber Punk style “Implants” skill for boosting certain stats.
The combat system feels very familiar; it uses a combination of hand to hand, projectiles and spells. The level of animation and character detail is good and the battle animations are stylish. The AI is the typical mob-orientated AI that most RPG’s use, and the game has a proper physics system so when an attacker is hit by a powerful spell his corpse will be launched through the air in a satisfying manner.
You are allowed a maximum of 2 companions to join you throughout your adventure, and you can swap them out for new ones. Each of the companions has a life story and you will find out more about them as you progress, making them feel real. They aren’t controllable, but you can get them to change their style through talking to them – just like real life! – or Fallout. They will level up along side you and you are given the responsibility of equipping them. This seems to work fine, but watch out because items you may want to hold onto (to equip later) seem to get jumbled up with the hundreds of items you pick up to sell and can easily be sold by mistake. The companions will have their own views on nature and technology, however after grouping with you for a while they will start to align with you and you become a team.
When you are killed in the game you have to run back to your tombstone to regain your items. This can be extremely aggravating when you drop a tombstone in a difficult area. However once you start making some money you can take out “life insurance” from a comedy goblin hustler in order to skip the tombstone process.
The game has very few bugs. There are occasional clipping errors, and the hotkey system isn’t perfect, but this game is a well-rounded, fun RPG and will keep you entertained until the next big RPG comes along.
Cool looks and a fun arsenal.