Black Sigil is a game that was published by Graffiti Entertainment and developed by Studio Archcraft, a Canadian developer who spent many years on an original 16-bit-style RPG. The game is based similar in the style of many loved Super Nintendo role playing games; mainly based on a similar battle style to Chrono Trigger, and the depth of character development in Final Fantasy VI.
Black Sigil Blade of the Exiled is considered a fast-paced, active tactical combat system gives the player more control while retaining a classic RPG feel. While it may be a new 16-bit game, it is still plagued with many of the problems the previous game of it’s genre had, but was it intentional?
The story begin in a place called Bel Lenora, a large snow-coated continent where everyone has control over the power of magic. Magic is a part of the every day lives of the citizens and is considered very important. However, you play as a young swordsman, Kairu, who has no magic of his own. It is because of this that he is considered a stranger in his own home. There are legends that have been passed down in the land of Bel Lenora, about people such as Kairu. These magicless beings are considered cursed, and when they appear destruction will soon follow.
You would think if you had no magic powers you would try to stay in hiding not to be seen or known. However, because Kairu’s father is a famous general who fought in the war makes Kairu well known by the people in the realm, and makes his life harder. Kairu tries despirately to be what his father wants him to be, a strong magic swordsman so that he can protect the land. It is because of this that Kairu tries very hard to gain magical powers, going on quests, and putting his life in danger in an attempt to gain powers; yet itÂ always ended in failure. However, It does not take long before Kairu begins to realize just how true the people believe in the legends of Bel Lenora. As he is soon exiled from the land until he can find the magic within himself.
Overall, Black Sigil’s story is definitely entertaining once the conflict ball starts to roll. Similiar to Chrono Trigger, the game eventually puts you on a quest of epic global proportions to save the world that he and his fellow friends reside in. As well as how diverse each characters personality is, and the interactivity with each town and area.
The game also allows you to switch which character is on screen, so depending on who you are you can interact with them as that characters and you might get unique dialogue or items. Playing as Kairu’s sister Aurora sometimes nets you free items from male NPC’s, while other times it gets you into trouble due to her firey personality. However, while the story of the game is definitely satisfying and enjoyable; there are some parts of the game that are definitely difficult and put a hamper on the progression of the game.
One of the games real flaws is the encounter rate, as it is through the roof. While you can run away from battles by holding the ‘B button’, it doesn’t justify the fact that every three to seven steps will net you a random encounter. This wouldn’t really matter if the game gave you some help along the way with restore points or save points in dungeons, but it doesn’t, as Save points and restore points are rare in this game. The real problem about this is that if you aren’t prepared for a dungeon and stocked with healing items you will be overrun by enemies, and eventually get a game over having you to repeat the whole process of going into that dungeon.
The second flaw is the battle system is the battle zone itself. While it works somewhat well, the fact that you have to worry about terrain blocking your path from an enemy is something you shouldn’t have to worry about in any RPG unless it was a “Tactics game” with a grid. What adds insult to injury is when one character is attacking an enemy in a tight corridor, you can’t move through that character and are stuck behind them. This makes it unable for you to attack and have to idle by recieving damage unless you have projectile magic. Yet the real problem is that most enemies in the game can attack your character with projectiles.
This causes you to seriously plan out how you are going to attack the enemies on screen. This also causes some random battles to last longer than two minutes, when a random battle should be at least thirty seconds long.
While the battle system does has its flaws, the game does have some memorable music, and pretty well done art. The characters and map feel somewhat similar to that of Chrono Trigger, and the battle system is a tad similar to Chrono Trigger’s double tech system. What I am trying to say is that, while the game stands on it’s own as a cool game, it seems to have drawn alot from Chrono Trigger in terms of mechanics.
Overall, Black Sigil The Sword of the Exile does seem like a game that was made to pay homage to old school SNES era RPGs, and it does have some flaws. If you consider those flaws to be a good challenge then this game is for you, as it is honestly enjoyable. I would say you do have to have patience, cause if you get knocked down during the middle of a dungeon you might have to spend an hour to get back to where you were.
The game is not perfect, but it really did grow on me. So if you have some patience and don’t mind running away from a battle or two I suggest giving this game a shot.
”¢ Well developed characters
”¢ Well done original music
”¢ Humorous dialogue that references RPG staples
”¢ A long adventure with multiple characters
”¢ Random encounters frequent (Run away by holding B)
”¢ Characters regularly get stuck behind objects or characters in battle
”¢ Battles are too drawn out and unfair
”¢ Not enough save points or restore points
”¢ Game has rare freezes (save before entering a town)
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