1 Reviews

Silverfall

Goblin nobblin' in a brave new worlde

Somewhere in a quiet corner of Silverfall, a monster without a name is blubbing. When Monte Cristo were giving out monikers this unfortunate beast got to the front of the queue to find the box empty. When it complained, the man behind the desk shrugged his shoulders and gestured towards a gang of sniggering werewolf-rat-goblins.

Don't try to picture a werewolf-rat-goblin (you'll give yourself a brain aneurism). Picture instead a solid Diablo-style RPG with a bestiary that's half hokum and half whimsy. Unwisely the developers chose to unveil the hokum first (it's Maelstrom all over again, see p96). Your first two or three hours are spent click-culling unremarkable undead in a literal and figurative slough of despond.

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Slog your way through the swamp and eventually you start seeing welcome signs of idiosyncrasy. A chainsword here, a mechanical dragon there... before you know it you're inside what looks like a gigantic car engine being chased by female suicide bots.

The blonde bombshells are the product of one of Silverfall's science supporters. By accepting quests from similar modernists you can nudge your alignment slider towards 'Technology', gaining access to guns, implants, and robots. Taking jobs from hippy elfin types brands you as a 'Nature'-ist, and means you get stuck with spells, swords, and bows. Conversations also influence alignment, so when an NPC asks you what you think about zeppelins or buffalo wrestling you do actually have to give the answer a certain amount of thought.

Dialogue and story are a bit short of sparkle and wit but I've seen a lot worse. If I was petty I'd tell you that the funniest thing in the whole game is the way the actress voicing the part of Kara regularly refers to her wizard pa as an 'arch-image'. Because I'm not I'll focus my criticism instead on the developers' disappointingly industrial approach to monster distribution.

Last time I went for a stroll on my local Downs I don't remember blundering into uniformly sized gangs of loitering bunnies, foxes, and badgers every ten paces (although, thinking about it, there was that group of shifty-looking weasels near the car park). Diablo-esque entertainment might boil down to grinding your way across thousands of hectares of creep-infested ground, but there are ways to disguise that grind.

Here the scenario designers have made very little effort to scatter creatures naturalistically or tie them into the environments. Why not chuck in a few wandering or patrolling hostiles to run into? How about a few camps or tableaux - something that makes the player feel a bit more like an adventurer and a bit less like an abattoir worker.

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Frequent levelling and plentiful and varied loot give Silverfall a definite momentum; the blend of worlds and the inventiveness of some of the creatures give it a modicum of novelty. This is an easy game to get swept along by, but, largely because of those serried foes, it's also an easy game to walk away from.

The verdict

Workmanlike but wearing

6.6
Format
PC
Developer
Unknown
Publisher
Unknown
Genre
RPG

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