Storm of Spears PC Review
RPGMaker games are a dime a dozen on Steam. The game building platform has given aspiring game makers the ability to create their own Final-Fantasy style RPG with original stories, custom maps, and creative characters. But as countless guitar lessons have taught me, just because I have the tools to create art doesn’t make me Jimi Hendrix. RPGMaker games often feel the same way to me, there’s a few good ones, swimming in a sea of mediocrity. This is why I approached Storm of Spears with a bit of apprehension, when it comes to RPGMaker games, I hope for the best but expect the worst. I was happy to discover that, like a chocolate bar in a field of dog turds, Storm of Spears is surprisingly enjoyable and an exceptionally well made game.
Because the resources made available to developers are inherently limited by what’s included in RPGMaker, the games built on the platform all tend to have the same basic feel and look. A top down perspective for travel and a turn based battle system are the standard for RPGMaker games, so it often makes the enjoyment factor of the game heavily reliant on the creator’s ability to craft a compelling story, which Storm of Spears has in spades. Without giving away the game’s clever twist, the basic story follows a female warrior named Sura, leader of the infamous mercenary group “The Nightswords.” The game opens with Sura and her band of fighters travelling the world of Gallagher in secret due to the rule of an oppressive queen who is currently trying to crush a rebellion. Sura, who at first wants nothing to do with the crown or the rebels, is eventually drawn into the fight against the queen after her brother is killed by the queen’s soldiers. With her brother dead, and nothing left to live for, Sura vows to avenge her brother’s death and see the Evil Queen’s kingdom brought to ruin.
I found the story of Storm of Spears, a refreshing twist on what has become a standard story format of join the rebels, defeat the empire. Storm of Spears twists this common trope through Sura’s character motivation. Throughout the game, Sura is very open about not caring about the rebellion, except as a way to exact her vengeance on her brother’s killers. It was refreshing to have a main character that isn’t simply a paragon of virtue whose every line and action screams “I am a good guy, doing good things!” Keeping her motivations personal and arguably selfish, makes her a much more realistic and fully mapped out character. But Sura isn’t the only complex character in the game, each member of her party has their own tragic backstory, giving them their own reasons for wanting to join the rebellion, this even extends to many of the game’s villains who feel that their evil deeds serve the greater good. The complexity of the character’s personal stories combined with the game’s clever and unexpected twist make Storm of Spears’ story better plotted and paced than many AAA titles.
The gameplay in Storm of Spears will be familiar to any fan of old school RPG’s. The turn based combat system is well designed, with each character having their own custom abilities that are varied enough to make everyone useful in the game’s battle sections. The combat is also well balanced, never frustratingly difficult, but also not so easy that any encounter can be taken lightly. Storm of Spears also boasts a meaty amount of content, with over 13 hours of gameplay between the main quest and side missions. I found the side missions to be especially engaging, many give deeper insight into the land of Gallagher, making it feel like a fully realized world with its own history that existed long before the start of the game. Even though these side missions exist independently of the main quest, they effectively tie into the game’s main narrative, giving deeper meaning to the story.
I found little to complain about in Storm of Spears, but if I had to choose something to criticize, I would say that some of the game’s missions were unclear on exactly where I was supposed to go. This, combined with the maze-like quality of some of the game’s areas meant that I spent a lot of time backtracking through certain areas with no idea where to go. However, I was never stuck in these areas for long enough to make me want to abandon the game, so this criticism is by no means a game-breaker.
Storm of Spears is an epic, well written adventure that any fan of classic RPG’s would enjoy. The intriguing story will hook you into the world of the game while the well-balanced combat and expansive game map will keep you playing until the end. Despite the quests being sometimes difficult to navigate, Storm of Swords is a game that has something for everybody. Did I mention that you ride around on a dragon? Yeah, you get to do that too.