|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Monte Cristo Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
When I first previewed this title a little over a month ago, I compared it to Diablo. Well, the comparison still stands, but Silverfall is not so much a clone of Diablo, rather it is an offspring with a few better traits. Silverfall is definitely an action RPG in the truest sense, but the real art behind the game is the amount of player control there is in the game. However, with so many RPGs on the market right now, most of us are still enthralled with World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade or Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles Expansion Pack; what makes this one stand out in the minds of RPG fans?
The story is well thought out from the opening sequence right until the end. The beginning of the game starts with an invasion of Silverfall, which acts as a tutorial as you fight off the powerful enemies with an equally, if not more, powerful mage. Since this is basically your tutorial, you might want to experiment with the different types of magic to get a very early feel into what to expect later on. This time, the survivors from Silverfall are left to take refuge in a swamp while the evil one persists and roams the streets. It is in the swamp you get to control your character for the first time. You are a young apprentice to the mage who stayed behind to save Silverfall, and you are now required to aid fellow refugees. Your tasks will include killing zombies and recovering convoys caught up in the destructive invasion. Eventually, you will travel into the world of Silverfall to discover the whereabouts of the Archmage who was responsible for the carnage at Silverfall. Your master has also gone missing. After several hours, the game picks up quite dramatically, offering an enjoyably fresh experience until the end.
The appeal of Silverfall is the customization ability for the character you control. Much like other RPGs, you can design your character the way that you want. You can also decide what your allegiance will be, either a Nature based or Technology based character. This feature was one that I hoping would separate Silverfall from the norm. Unfortunately, this falls a little short. Choosing one side over the other was supposed to negate the ability to take on quests that revolved around the other side's story. The ability to take on Nature themed quests when your character is Technology based almost ruins the desire to replay the game from the other side. Then again, without playing through a second time, you will not see the cosmetic differences that Silverfall takes on depending on your allegiance. Additionally, with nearly 121 skills, a flexible skill tree system instead of the traditional class system, and the various items sold in shops depending on your allegiance, you will definitely want to play through a second time just to see the differences.
The gameplay fits into the hack-n-slash subgenre of RPGs quite nicely. Unfortunately, you will quickly become accustomed to relying on just hacking and slashing. This repetitive combat makes you depend on your magic skills less and less throughout the game. This can be a good thing though, especially if you are just playing the game to get through it. Regrettably, Silverfall descends into another flaw of the genre: the idiotic "when you die you drop everything you were carrying" crippling feature that has plagued the genre since its inception. The game does, however, allow you to run a mission for a camp NPC that will open up the ability to insure your items and have them returned to you if you die. Fortunately, that mission is available very early on in the game. Another flaw during combat is that, unlike most games where you can hold the left mouse button down to continuously attack, Silverfall constantly requires you to click the left mouse button, hold it for a brief amount of time for continuous attack, and then it drops the registry that you are still holding it. This, by all means, shouldn't be a problem, but when you are battling a horde of enemies at once, it becomes a nuisance.
There is also a nice little online multiplayer action available. With up to 8 player functionality, offering some trademark features like joining up to complete quest battle specific enemies and player vs. player combat. Unfortunately, the online play is totally reliant on the capabilities of the host computer, since there are no dedicated servers. Although enjoyable, the lack of a good server makes the online play almost avoidable completely. If you are a player that relies on companions to fulfill your many quests, fear not. Where the game lacks in online play, it recovers with the party feature in the game. Instead of controlling every little action of your party, which is A.I. controlled, you are given options that will determine how they will react during combat. You can also recruit new allies to join your quest. Another highlight to the party feature is that you can build a relationship with your party that can eventually splinter off into party specific quests.