In this day and age, video games take themselves very seriously, and just like modern motion pictures, they pretend to be as genuine as possible. And unlike the games of the 1980’s and the 1990’s, they all avoid making any and all self-referential and self-conscious statements, and stay as far away from the fourth wall, as it is humanly possible. And while some titles are as ridiculous as the games of old, just like 2015’s reboot of Doom, and the recently released Wolfenstein: The New Order, they all refuse to acknowledge their incessant ridiculousness, and the fact that they’re in fact a work of fiction.
While many miss the self-conscious titles such as The Grim Fandango, or The Day of The Tentacle, they are all aware of the fact overreliance on self-referencing may in the end run its course, and subsequently, do more harm than good. And while it is hard to imagine a modern title doing so, it is not so hard to visualise a remaster, guilty of such crime, in fact, a remaster as recent as The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled, which was released in August of this year.
The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled, is an isometric dungeon crawler, which was initially released between 2004 and 2005. And while it would be easy to point out its dated visual façade, UI, or control scheme, it would be crime, as the only seemingly negative thing which can be said about this particular title, is the fact that it’s slightly out of time and out of touch in today’s market. And that’s because The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled, is rife with innuendos, flat jokes, and so many broken fourth walls, that the city within the title exists no longer stands. And while many will cringe to their core after mere minutes with the title, others will surely prevail, and this is exactly why The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled tone, cannot be completely marked down, as it is all up to one’s preference.
Some will surely enjoy the title’s story and its presentation much more than others, however, all have no problem with the way the title looks, and most importantly performs. As considering its age, and its direct PlayStation 2 era competition, it is rather excellent. And that’s because all in game objects are sharp, and even when fully zoomed-out, all the characters and surroundings still look reasonably crisp. And in addition to that, The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled is also incredibly smooth – framerate-wise, and all in-game loading screens disappear within seconds. However, title’s age is constantly showing as hostiles within one class look exactly the same, and certain NPC’s look rather underwhelming.
The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled’s age can also be judged by its control scheme, as unlike the majority of titles which came after it, it binds all the major actions to the face buttons, and all the spells, abilities, and bard’s songs are bound in-game to numerous choice wheels, which can be overwhelming at first. And the abundance of selection wheels, could have been simply replaced with a single one, and with two at a stretch. However, archaic control scheme and overwhelming amount of on-screen furniture in form of wagon wheels is not the be-all and end-all, as ultimately The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled, is all about the gameplay, just like any other title.
Considering its age, The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled, feels surprisingly responsive, and is to say the least, fairly enjoyable. However, the deeper one delves into the title, the more apparent its issues will become. And while there is plenty of such, only one of them can result in one’s displeasure. And it is the fact that actions with melee weapons result in a certain string of moves which cannot be interrupted, meaning that if you commit to an action or a series of such, it has to be carried out in its entirety. So, if you carry out a series of strikes, and are approached by the enemy from the back, then it’s just too damn bad.
Ending up at the receiving end of cheap hits can lead to sighs of disappointment and confusion. But those who are colour blind will struggle much more with the title than the others, as they may end up fighting more with directions rather than combat, as the use of colours within the in-game minimap, can turn a colour-blind person’s world into hell. And I’ve personally have lost count how many times I’ve ended up running blindly after my companions because I mistook them for an objective, which in reality was at the other end of the map. But just like the title’s story, The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled’s colour scheme will also be negatively perceived by a small group of people. So, one could say that The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled, despite of its widespread gameplay appeal, may ultimately be a title for select few who love corny stories, and happen not to be colour blind.
In conclusion, The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled is just like old French cheese. Most will stay away from it because of the way it looks, other will avoid it because of its smell, whereas the rest will simply stay away from it because of its taste. And the same can be said about The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled, because certain individuals will disregard it because of its dated visuals, others will ignore it because of its core issues, whereas the remainder of non-believers will skip past this title because of its plot, and writing. But I’m willing to be that unlike the blue cheese, which at times can be rather expensive, many will pick up The Bard’s Tale: Remastered and Resnarkled, simply because it is cheap as dirt, as it is currently selling for £7.99. Meaning that it is not just cheaper than all modern digital titles, but it is also cheaper than all PlayStation 2 ports, which can be currently found on the PlayStation 4.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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