Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled Review
Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Studio Archcraft 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Graffiti Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jun. 12, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

For the most part, battles are uneventful and time consuming, and it doesn’t help that they make up the bulk of the experience. To the game’s credit, everything – from the combat, to the exploration – is quite competent. There’s nothing broken about Black Sigil, and though the story can feel a bit trite at times, it moves in a sensible fashion that’s admirable. The main issue we have with the game is simply that we’ve done it all before… years and years ago.

Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot

As with any other RPG, you’ll level up your characters, acquire new weapons and armor, and learn new spells. New personalities will take their cue to enter the stage, and if you can muster the wherewithal to trudge through the game’s plodding pace, you’ll often be rewarded with interesting story developments. Black Sigil doesn’t really tread any new ground in that respect either, though, and there probably isn’t anything compelling enough about its prose to keep players rapt ‘til the end.

As a game that got its start as a GBA title, Black Sigil looks reminiscent of SNES games of the distant past. You’ll occasionally catch glimpses of 3D textures while roaming the overworld, but the rest of the game is set in a 2D world with sprites that look conspicuously out of place as they animate on DS. That said, folks who had no problem with the recent rebirth of Chrono Trigger should equally appreciate the visuals of Black Sigil. There’s plenty of environmental variety, and the 2D artwork during cutscenes is really quite beautiful.

Like almost every other element of this game, Black Sigil’s music and sound effects are something of a relic from the past. Themes aren’t quite as crusty as the games of the 16-bit era, but they definitely are generic in the extreme. Sound effects are often fitting, though battles come off as underwhelming due in large part to a general lack of “umph” when attacking and casting spells.

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For all the time Black Sigil spent in development, it’s disappointing to see such a ho-hum experience unveiled. Make no mistake – it’s not broken. The combat works, for the most part, and there’s a story worth experiencing, if you don’t mind unearthing it out from under a seemingly endless stream of random battles. However, the game just feels so out of date and out of touch with, not only the trends of today’s RPGs, but also the general entertainment values we’ve become accustomed to seeing on DS. With so much variety to choose from now on the system, Black Sigil’s yesteryear approach is a hard sell.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.5
Graphics
The look of Black Sigil seems decidedly out of place on DS, but considering what the developers were going for, it’s a fairly polished product. Character stills and cutscene artwork have a great look to them.
3.5
Control
The controls are simple and mostly straightforward, though a couple of the button-mapping choices are questionable. Touch screen controls work fine in battle, but they are not recommended for exploration.
3.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Better than SNES, though not really up to par for DS. Ultimately, there’s an overall lack of energy when it comes to the game’s music and sound effects.
3.1

Play Value
There’s a lot of game here, constructed in a way that may prove interesting to a select few. The pacing, however, is slow and mired further by endless random encounters.

3.4
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Vivid environments create a realistic yet imaginative landscape.
  • 40-50+ hours of gameplay with tons of side quests.
  • Dark secrets and powerful plot twists create an original and intriguing storyline.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled screenshot - click to enlarge

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