The Mage's Tale
Become the wizard you always wished you'd be as you cast spells to rescue your mentor by crawling through dungeons and solving clever puzzles. Battle a host of enemies with strategy and personally crafted spells. With a 9 hour game length, fun spell creation/game play and awesome puzzles, The Mage's Tale will be one you won't want to miss.
Genre: First Person Spell Casting Game
Controllers: Move Controllers
Game Length: 9+ Hours
PlayPSVR Score: 7.5
Ever since Skyrim's magic combat component we have been searching for a similar styled game with plot, intense battles and overall great game play. We have officially found it in The Mage's tale. I was skeptical at first but there are so many attributes of this game that I really really enjoy that make it a wonderful game and a fun one to put the 8-9 hours of time into.
My favorite part of the game is the freedom to create new spells at any given moment. As you fight through the dungeons you will receive different spell casting characteristics such as spells that seek out enemies, farther range, different colors, cursing enemies, longer lasting effects, etc. You have four base spells (fireball, lightning, ice javelin and wind) that you can all adapt to your fighting style. This is just crazy fun and motivates the player to search every nook and cranny of the level to find hidden areas and items.
Speaking of that, the puzzles are my second favorite part of the game. So many clever ideas and puzzles are crammed into this game and honestly, I'm not even finished yet. Many rooms are totally hidden from you and utilize very clever puzzles to make them appear. For instance, some rooms make you use previously seen objects 6 rooms before this one or you have to use a couple items in succession at the right time to set off a chain reaction that opens a passageway. I was very impressed that I didn't see any two puzzles very similar. Overall, these are some of the more fun and clever puzzles I have seen in PSVR.
The plot is pretty basic, you are an apprentice wizard who just saw his mentor get captured by a bad guy and it's your job to defeat the odds and save him. Pretty standard stuff and honestly, I kind of wish they would have put in more effort on the plot since they obviously put in a ton of time on the spell crafting and puzzle components of the game. The game attempts to be humorous and although I did not find it funny whatsoever, my PlayPSVR colleague found it very comical. So depending on your taste you may have a funny experience coming your way too.
Combat consists of fighting a line of successive enemies with your spells in rather predictable circumstances. They throw 2 enemies at you and once you defeat one by throwing your spells at them, 2 more spawn. This goes on for a little while depending on how far you are in the game. For the most part you will see the same enemies or ones very similar. Although I love the spells, the combat for me is lacking. It is just so predictable when you are going to get swarmed by enemies and although it's fun for the first 20 enemies the battles get old pretty quickly and are simply too repetitive. The combat and plot are the weakest points of the game but I have seen worse.
The game uses the move controllers, which for the most part actually work pretty well. I have never had an issue with throwing things for other games, but for The Mage's Tale, when I try to throw my ice javelin upward the tracking craps out and I can't throw it. I don't really understand that and even after adjusting my camera it is still somewhat of an issue. Maybe it's my setup, I won't dock them for that, but just assume you will have your typical move controller debacles.
The graphics honestly are pretty poor. The first thing I noticed was the graphics were horrible. It is odd because when you are up close to something the graphics are good. Not great, but definitely good. If you are any considerable distance away they get exponentially worse. Like Invisible Hours bad. I am playing on the Pro and I know that there is no Pro patch yet (there will be one in the future) but prepare for some rough graphics to start out.
My final key piece of this review is the fact that The Mage's Tale is a full fledged game. Not a 2 hour fun little experience, but a 9 hour plot filled puzzle solving game. That is a refreshing change to most of the current games that have come out recently. This means that you will get your money's worth and you will have to make time for this game, but it is worth it. The replay value could be decently high if you are a completionist and want all the spells, trinkets and other goodies they hide in the levels.
All in all, I would say as of February 13th The Mage's Tale is firmly in my favorite game of the year so far category. The spell creation mechanic, puzzles, combat, ingenuity and fun game play make The Mage's Tale a priority for anyone who hasn't taken the dive yet. Check out The Mage's Tale the first chance you get and embrace your inner Wizard.