[ Introduction ]
The overarching story in Azuran Tales: Trials, is to stop the Evil Magrath from destroying Azuran.
On the surface it seems like a very simple story until you start to play the game. While playing you will discover lore LOTS! Of lore, it could have you invested in the games story, if you like that sort of thing. One downside of this is all reading and with this comes lots of reading. I did not mind this in the slightest as I love lore but it could be off putting to anyone looking to get straight into the action.
Overall there is plenty to learn in terms of story and lore, but if you are not a fan or reading fairly large chunks of text, you will find it more off putting.
[ Gameplay ]
Azuran Tales: Trials is simple to pick up and play and can be satisfying if not a bit cheap. I am not going to go on too much about controls and they are on the HUD at all times with the key bindings.
While progressing though one of the fifteen levels there will be platforms ledges that the Cleric can pull himself up on. These ledges are glowing, to show the ones that the Cleric can pull himself up. Even if it is possible to clear the ledge with a jump he will stop and pull him self up.
Like in a lot of action fighting games, knowing how to avoid attacks and managing your stamina is vital. I was struggling to manage this as your stamina drains so quickly (even when augmented.) After around 30 minutes of playing, I realised that dodging was pretty pointless as you could walk through enemies without dodging their attack, then proceed to attack them from behind with no fear of being damaged. There is a few enemies that will attack from behind, but they’re few and far between to cause any problems.
Magic can be acquired as you go through the game. It is unlocked by spending points into one of the four categories. Each category has a different coloured crystals that can be given to one of the two stat boost. A red shard, for example, can increase attack power or % chance of getting a critical hit. Once four shards have been put in to the stats then this will unlock the ability to increase strength for 60 seconds. Crystals can be collected whole or when collected ten shards are collected then a crystal is made. Along with the general level up there are alters to give small augments that cost gold and crystals. Gold and shards are is gotten form chests and defeating enemies.
Abilities are used as conviction is collected, this is attained by being aggressive and attacking enemies. It can be given by the use of scrolls. Scrolls can be found in the levels and have a one of a number of spells with limited uses. Making them very important if struggling with a boss for example.
After each boss fight you are rewarded with stronger armour, I use the word stronger loosely. Even when the new armour is attained, it is fairly pointless. It gives maybe one point of damage and almost no protection. This felt a cheap trick to artificially make the game harder then it really is.
I have to admit I couldn’t even finish the game i got nine levels in, but the bugs where too much for me to handle. I ended up with a headache with all the bugs -discussed below-. I will go back to it if there is an update for the game but I can not at the moment.
[ Visual and Perfomance ]
Azuran Tales: Trials is an interesting game with its visuals. The surrounding world looks good, with its gloomy feel and scattered boxes rubble scattered about. The overall look gives off an air of abandoned and old. This is pretty much where the good looks stop.
The character models are fairly poor looking and animated poorly, the Cleric looks like he has no feet when he jumps and moves very stiffly. The enemies are so hit and miss I do not know what to say about them, some of the bosses look really good, others poor. There is no consistency with the development quality.
The performance is just not fun at all, its is really bad at times. There are loading issues, e.g. Missing spike trap in the floor. Poor visual glitch that make it looks like magic is just a line of colour. I had to restart the game numerous times as i could not hit enemies. worst one is the optimisation some parts of the game turned almost in to a stop motion type experience with frames moving so badly it looked like the Cleric was having a fit as he walked.
When frames were steady control issues also arised. I noticed in my playthrough that at times the controls where too sensitive and there is no option to change it. There were times when I would day and I would move to far forward before I could jump.
I hope most of these issues can be solved with patches, and for the sake of the game, I can only hope they are.
[ Sound ]
Of what soundtrack there is, it does feel like you’re on a grand adventure. Unfortunately, the music is all the same or at least very similar, combine that with dying and having to reply the same sections over and over. The music becomes very repetitive.
Sound effects are poor every enemy dies with the same “uurrgghh” noise. The Cleric swinging grunts are poorly done and yes he dies the same as the enemies.
The sound seems like it has taken a bit of a back seat in the design process.
[ Conclusion ]
Azuran Tales: Trials had so much potential to be something fun and interesting. Unfortunately it is riddled with problems that need to be fixed to make the game enjoyable. Most of these problems can be fix with patches.
As of now I cannot recommend Azuran Tales: Trials. If you really want to play it wait and see if there are any patches released on launch.