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CELESTIAN TALES: OLD NORTH   Video Link

CELESTIAN TALES, available for the PC on STEAM, is another computerised fantasy games that thinks it is a role-playing game, but for my way of thinking it is far, far from anything like any role-playing game I have ever participated in. For starters you select a character from six to play, you have no input into the character whatsoever. Secondly you have no visible attributes or abilities, no choice of weapons, armour or equipment, your character comes as it comes.

As I say, there are six characters: Aria Geraldine; who is the daughter of a rich nobleman. Lucienne Leroux: A warrior type with the ideals of a Paladin.  Isaac Goldenlake: From a poor family, Isaac hates Nobles and people of power. Ylianne: A half-elf who wants to prove that Elves and Humans can co-habit. She speaks of herself in the third person all the time and it gets very annoying.  Cammile Ryne: From a Mercantile family, good personality and attitude. and finally Reynard de la Foret: The Fox of the Forest, a hunter by trade and skills.

All movement is controlled by the Arrow keys whilst all Actions are controlled by the Z key; the X key being used for "back".

When a "!" appears next to a character you are close to the Z key will enter you into conversation. On many occasions this will just be a few sentences repeated if you press for chat but other times you will open a real can of worms as far as conversation goes. A static picture appears with a text bubble and words appear. They do not clear until you press Z and then your character will answer - you have no control over what you say. This chat continues until all has been said. The conversations are mainly short sharp sentences so you are really just sitting there pushing "Z" regularly. Have you noticed any role-play elements yet ? I haven't!

The game is played through static backgrounds which show paths and passageways the character can take, moving at a rate controlled b y the player and the Arrow keys. A fuzzy smoke-ball on the path means that there is an encounter as soon as you get close enough to it. Once you have made contact the screen switches to a battlefield where your character stands to the right of the screen and the opponents to the left; you do not know how many or what the opposition is when you first encounter the smoke-ball and by the time you discover what you are facing it is too late and there is no going back, the fight will happen.

Combat is played out in turns with everyone in the fight taking their turn. You can select your target by moving an arrow up or down and then fight or fire by pressing the Z key. Then in turn all the opponents have their turn; you can see the number of damage points you are losing per hit and also how healthy you are - if you survive you get your health back ready for the next fight.

If this had been lauded as a fantasy adventure with semi-animé style characters published to introduce new players to the concept of controlling an Elf (apollogies - Half-Elf) or an unusual non-typical human and it had been a free to play game on Social Media, then it would possibly be seen as half-okay, semi-decent, but quickly forgotten and move onto the next. But it isn't a free to play game, you have to purchase it as a download for, at time of writing, a reduced cost of £6.49 down from £8.49. Now while I realise it has taken numerous people a long time and a fair amount of money to produce this game I am left with the question "Why did they bother?". There are far better, more fluent, more enjoyable free games of similar ilk on FaceBook or as Apps for your iMedia or Android Media phones, tablets and pads.

Despite its obvious artistic attraction, the illustrations and characters are acceptably okay but not better than have already been seen a myriad times, there is no fun in sitting and pressing "Z" until the cows come home. This is a failed attempt at a Final Fantasy style game that really shouldn't have seen the light of day, at least not as a game to be bought. I was once told that if you can't say something nice about someone or something then don't say anything at all. Unfortunately when you take on the mantle of a reviewer you have to tell prospective players and purchasers your honest opinions even if these are going to emotionally hurt someone. If this was a free game on FaceBook I would try it and then I wouldn't play it, and I try and play a lot of FaceBook games.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015