Our Rating: 7/10
Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King is an action RPG of the souls-like genre. Created by Redlock Studio, the game was released on February 17, 2021, for PC. A version for Playstation 4 and Xbox One is also planned, but still undated.
The inspiration for Dark Souls is evident. In the art of the game, in its combat, and its mechanics. However, Shattered also brings innovations when it merges the action and platform RPG genres. Above all, in this mixture of genres, exploration takes on a fundamental role in the work. It is impossible to progress without walking around the map and paying attention to each point.
The world that once existed is gone. The king disappeared and other beings took his throne. Therefore, it is your duty, as a Wanderer, to find out how to solve this problem. Next to you, there is a creature on your shoulder.
Y’aak is a small skeleton that talks to the protagonist in a mysterious way. Filling the player with questions and intrigue towards the little one. It works as a guide, explaining historical events and situating the player. In addition, the main character is mute. Something that seems to be common in the world. Even without being able to answer their questions, the NPCs deliver a lot of information from the world to the Walker.
From spreading the worlds, fragments that connect and deliver an answer, along with the exploration proposal, the game delivers a good idea. The player just needs to be patient that the story will unfold, even if it seems confusing.
In the first few scenes, you will see how everything is divided into small floating islands. To move between zones you will use portals, drinking more in the style of Demon’s Souls. Thanks to this system, the player can quickly grasp the identity of this world. A world that is broken and incomplete, and in which we walk on the remains of what once was.
Exploration in Shattered is extremely fun and tempting. In each corner of the scene, there is a reward. Be it an item in the game or a nice view. Even if the maps are full of monsters, it is worth risking to come and go to complete the exploration. It happens naturally. The design of the maps serves to activate the player’s curiosity through forks, alleys, or holes. However, attention and calm are your best friends right now. Additionally, there are monsters and traps hidden in many of the map’s curves.
The items found on exploration are all useful. Items to recover health, improve your weapons, earn Aeons, among others. Therefore, Shattered expects the player to invest time in the exploration so that he can proceed without much difficulty. In addition to tangible and visual rewards, there are also narrative rewards. Occasionally, you will come across something, or someone, that adds to the history of the world. In other words, the work rewards you at all times for exploring, emphasizing its focus on delivering a different experience from other soulslike.
If exploration is the differential and attractiveness of the game, combat is not the best part of this game. The structure is the standard of the genre: weak strike, strong strike, magic, block, and dodge. However, execution is not consistent. Sometimes when parrying the enemy’s blow, an enemy ignores and starts a sequence of attacks against you. At other times, the parry happens and you can attack without difficulty.
In addition, the artificial intelligence of enemies varies between standing still looking at you, or seeing from a distance and running towards you. It seems that the game limits the space of action of the monsters, causing this type of problem.
Equipment and the Hoverboard
Equipment follows the same format with weapons and spells that give gameplay options to the player. For all types of equipment, there is an item that corresponds to its refinement. Be the catalyst, the weapon, or the magic. The catalyst works like the potion, with definite charges when resting, just like Estus Flask in Dark Souls.
It is possible to drop items to sell from monsters and use Aeons to buy other more useful items. Seeing how Shattered’s enhancement system worked, as much as magic or weapon, I encouraged to continue the game.
For exploration, you have your hoverboard. This takes you from one point to another. Specifically on the largest map in the game that houses temples and other points of interest. It is a way for the exploration in this map not to be tiring. However, controlling this item is not very pleasant, it deserves polishing. In general, the equipment brings a nice diversity in the style of play. It also fits better on specific occasions of the work.
The GOOD, the BAD, and the OVERALL GAMING EXPERIENCE
Bugs are always a part of any game. As an example, some enemies jump and go to a place very far from the destination, getting stuck where they left off shots from enemies that don’t come out despite the animation happening, or even the possibility of fitting a sneaky blow right after another.
From a light attack and a heavy one. To a button to perform parries. A jar with a certain amount of uses before reaching a checkpoint (which makes enemies reappear obviously). The use of magic to fight from a distance and a small shield, and finally a button to dodge with a somersault. Everything is taken from Dark Souls. This does not mean that it is bad. The combat of Dark Souls is not exactly deficient. It allows to give the just and necessary tools to the player, just as Shattered – Tale of the Forgotten King does. Although its level design makes up for it, it would be better if they innovate a bit more in this section.
Game Aesthetics and Sound
In terms of art, Shattered stands out. With a dark footprint and a pastel color palette, the game features several very beautiful scenes with a very simple graphic. It shows that it is possible to bring beauty without cutting edge graphics.
The hand-made arts of the items and characters are also wonderful. Not only does it create the theme, but also adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game. It makes exploration something much more enjoyable to do. Encouraging the player to always want to see more of the scenes of the work and also discover what more the creators were able to do.
If the graphic part adds a lot to the work, the sound aspect does the opposite. The music resembles a lot of Lo-Fi-style music, often used for study and activities that need focus. The problem is that this track combined with the art of the game, at different times will make you feel sleepy when playing. The compositions alone are not bad, but when put in the game, they hinder the experience.
When you go face the first boss, usually games of this genre have epic and memorable compositions, but this is not the case. The melody used and abused effects, creating a very strange and even uncomfortable sound to hear. Also, the game’s feat sounds are buggy. Once you leave combat, the sound will continue playing and you have to restart the game to solve it.
The game does not appear to be 100% finished. From several crashes that always happened in the middle of a fight, to seeing under the ground when you tilt the camera down and the continued inconsistency of the fight makes the gaming experience a little frustrating.
Despite the game’s sound and its lack of polish, it is good. It brings new ideas to the souls-like style merging with the 2D e3D platform genre and with a focus on exploration to put the pieces together and unravel the whole story. Even with all these problems reported, it was not a bad experience to play the work. Just a thought that it would be better to enjoy it fully polished.
For practical purposes, Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King is still a very solid souls-like. Although it does not break any mold, it more than lives up to its claims. Its art style and decent enough gameplay are a worthwhile treat and fans of the genre. Newcomers will surely appreciate the implementations and variety.