Games Gazette Logo

   Narborion Saga on Steam

The NARBORION SAGA is an online adventure game in the style of role-playing meeting a game book. Think of it as a Fighting Fantasy (c) type of adventure where you create a character, read, make a decision, read some more, have a fight, read and repeat until you reach the finale.

I have played NARBORION on my HUDL2 Android tablet and more recently on the PC, and in both cases the game plays the same and also the graphics look the same. I mention this because it is quite often I find that Android versions are cut-down editions of that which you will find on the PC or one of the major consoles.

The NARBORION SAGA is for players who like to take their gaming slow. There is regularly a lot of text to read and consume before you get into the action and that text tells the regular story of a young Squire (you) sent on a Quest by the beautiful Princess which of course has "unexpected" twists and turns and although you can play it thoughtfully (ie slowly) it is also time sensitive.

NARBORION SAGA is a FTP (Free to Play) game but if you really want to play it to its full extent it will cost you a fair amount of real cash. This is because when your character dies, and the battles are set up for this to happen on a regular basis, you have to begin again from the beginning. Of course there are possibilities to buy Save Points and for this you need to spend Gold. As Gold is extremely hard to get in game, at least in any useful quantity, plus it is required for all your character's purchases (armour, weapons, equipment, healing etc) you have to buy it with real cash if you want to compete with the game on its highest level. Once you have enough Gold you can get all you need to complete the game in style.

  

Combat occurs when you encounter an enemy or enemies whilst moving your character on the map. The map takes up the majority of the screen and your character is moved by pointing the cursor where you want to go and letting your Hero move there on its own accord. Sometimes this journey will be interrupted and then you may get the opportunity to Fight, Run or do something else. If there is more than one enemy encountered when you are still a rookie Hero (ie you haven't a good deal of armour or a quality weapon) you are best to try to run as the A.I. is so brilliant that every enemy will move strategically into position so that they can all reach and attack you. Your Hero may have more Hit Points and even hit harder than the enemies can but you only have one strike each turn and so do your enemies. If you die you go back to the beginning unless you have bought Save Points with Gold (another reason to spend real money). I am not a fan of the combat in this game, in fact it's quite poor, not just because it isn't exciting but also because it's so frustrating. Battles take place in an arena that is overlaid with movement squares between your Hero and whomsoever the enemies may be. They are depicted on the map as Stand-Up card counters but look to be uninspiring 2D rather than 3D. When it's your turn for action clicking on the base of your Hero gives you a choice of direction arrows and by clicking on one of these your Hero will move one space in the chosen direction. If you are adjacent to an enemy you can attack them by selecting the weapon icon but you only get the one strike. Then the enemies move in and surround you and they each get a hit at you.

Combat is resolved by the rolling of two six-sided dice per character involved with. I assumed that the highest dice roll would be the winning one and indeed when it came to hitting or being hit that seemed to be the case. However there were times when one of the enemy that I was fighting ran away, my having killed one of the two, rather than continue the fight. Each round the dice were rolled and in most cases I won the roll, yet the enemy moved away and my Hero couldn't do any actions at all, not move, not surrender, not fight, nothing! This also occurred when my Hero backed into a corner of the arena; I was given no options for actions and could not perform any actions at all. I am hoping that this was just a bug in the game and not something the designers had introduced to prevent Hero's from running away, although when combat first occurs that is one of the options made available to you.

Story wise Narborion is good, like reading excerpts from a fantasy novel but game wise it's not particularly good. It is interesting but not exciting or challenging enough to make it stand out amongst the many FTP adventure games available on the PC. It isn't quite retro but it is outdated. The adventure game has, in general, moved on but Narborion is a relic of a few years back.

  

It is obvious that a lot of work lies behind the production of NARBORION SAGA but for me personally much of this work has been directed in the wrong places. 

  

  

    

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015