The developer and publisher XAREA has released quite a welcome addition to the VR library with a great entry into the RPG genre. We can speak volumes about how this is not Skyrim VR and what it does better or worse than Skyrim VR, but this is not what this review is about. The Broken Seal is built from the ground up and it holds true to the old 90's - early 00's 3D modeled RPGs of yesteryear.
The game is not super flashy and does not come with a lot of what makes Skyrim VR amazing, but it does create the sense that you are a person in a fantasy world. I felt that if Everquest 1 and Skyrim VR had a baby, this would be it. The game has a quest based system that takes place in the starting campsite, but it lacks a lot of "how do you do this" and "what makes you do that", so expect a bit of fuddling around a bit in the beginning.
The beginning campsite has numerous quests and NPCs who each do something very special for you. Each NPC has their unique quest, but they also have other purposes. There is the Magic Item Identifier, The Merchant, The Chieftess, The Enemy Bauble Guy, and a treasure chest that is utilized as a large storage facility. Speak to everyone here before you head out as you will want all their quests active before you leave.
There is also a Home Portal that will take you back and forth between Field Waypoints and Town Portal Scrolls. This is important as your inventory will fill up quick once you really start laying the smack down and get good at spell casting.
As you kill enemies, not only do you gain XP but you have a chain for loot. Like any RPG what is loot without Rare loot? You will find Common items, they have a green glow to them, and Rare items with Blue or Purple lighting that are not identified. Get those rares identified in town when you can as they can really help you with their bonuses!
If you are bored using your sword and shield for combat, there is spell casting. Holy crap! Spell casting is amazing and frustrating at the same time. To cast a spell, you have to memorize what the casting words are and say them! Some are easy like "Fire Ball", but there are complicated sentences later on for the crazy spells. The game does a good job if you butcher the line as it seems to pick out key words, but having to say "Waiting to bloom, frost flower" for essentially a "frost trap" is a bit wordy. But nothing is more satisfying than repeating "Chain Lightning" and watching the bolt dance around numerous mobs and die before any reach you.
The spells are upgradable as you find special shrines in the game, but there are some issues with getting higher level upgrades than character level. You will not be able to see what level you need to be to unlock the next upgrade as the text is way off the screen.
There are several mobs you have to fight that are located on your map. These are like bosses, and some have mini-bosses on the way. Clearing all of these will move you to the next area where you get more quests and move on. They are all located on the map via button combo or saying "Show me the map". The map needs some work as it is hard to see where things are, but the quest arrow does a decent job pointing you the way, even after you zoom your map all the way out.
You will encounter Spell Shrines, usually guarded by a boss, in the world. There are also weapon damage buffs, spell upgrades, and fountains that will replenish your health and mana.
As you progress through the story by killing all of the Boss Targets, you will head back to the encampment and the Chieftess will open a gate to the next world. Like playing Diablo, you start a new Act with new mobs to kill in order to complete it. The Second area is a beautiful snow area, and I actually enjoyed it more than the first Act for sure.
Once you are comfortable enough, or you have completed the Single Player portion of the game, you can try higher difficulties or even jump into Multiplayer. Multiplayer seems to run more like Diablo as you will start a game with the difficulty setup and then launch into the Single Player experience with friends. Your town portals will all have your name on them, so you know which is yours.
The game really needs a language pass as it is obvious that this is a Chinese Developer converting it to English. There are tons of issues where the grammar is out of place and does not make sense. There is a lack of instructions or FAQ that helps the user figure everything out, and the spell casting is cool but the overly worded things seem to be /too/ much at times.
Other than that, this game was a lot of fun and I really recommend it. I enjoyed my time with it and as you play through it and unlock the harder difficulty settings, the challenges are real! The game is really worth the price of entry, especially when you have to compare it to the $60 price tag Skyrim VR comes with.
It is a bit rigid in some melee combat and I felt like I was waggling my arm and doing nothing at times. Also some of the voice casting for spells is way too wordy.
This reminded me of those old 90s RPG games where they really tried to push 3D models into a game. It is not much to look at, but for a VR game that is not Bethesda, it looks pretty good. Even some of the enemy models look fantastic.
The game suffers badly here as the enemies have no real positional audio. You will just hear their idle sounds going off al the time and you cannot really get a feel for how far away, or exactly where they are. Too many enemies (like the goblins) and you are just trying to shut them up by killing them all.
It is a pretty decent amount of replay. You have Multiplayer and Single Player. It is also an RPG, so you probably will not be doing the same thing twice. With extra difficulty settings, it is worth coming back to.
9 - Intense. You are actually in the game, so it is pretty high on the Immersion Scale. I will not go 10, because unlike something like a roller coaster simulator, you are not getting motion sick while moving forward as much. You can also play in non-VR if you are getting queasy, but it is high on the scale.
PROS / CONS
- Fairly lengthy game for what it is.
- Casting spells in other games will never be the same.
- Difficulty settings increases replay time.
- The Gear Closet for extra armor in town is cool.
- Really needs an English grammar pass. Some menus make little sense.
- Wordy spells, could just say "Ice Wall" or "Enchant Sword"
- Clunky Inventory screen.