As a group of mercenaries we travel through a ravaged kingdom. Looting and looting are the order of the day, the roads are not safe and the villages suffer. In this medieval fantasy setting, Northgard’s parents give the player complete freedom to explore their world and engage in turn-based combat. We tell you more in these impressions.
I have been able to play Wartales accompanied by its director Nicolas Cannasse, a great opportunity to have a first contact with a title that has the Shiro Games team behind it. The success of some of their previous proposals such as Evoland or Northgard means that we have to stop and look at what they have in hand with this new title that will arrive in the modality of early access before the end of this 2021.
Wartales’ proposal is original and risky. In this open world of medieval fantasy there is no main story that serves as a common thread for the narrative of the title. Controlling a mercenary group You will freely explore a map initially covered by the typical fog of war more typical of the RTS genre and it will be your path that dictates the course of the adventure. In this way, the missions appear, either through boards, conversations or fortuitous encounters with some NPCs.
To focus his narration in some way, and as Nicolas Cannasse told me, they have been created different regions (They hope to have up to 30 at the end of development). Each of them has a different background and it is up to you as a player, to choose the order in which you face them, as well as to make decisions as they arise, something that will end up having different results. In the same way, we can also choose the background we want for our characters, being only available in this demo the possibility of leaving as an army veteran or as the son of a merchant. The first option will give us more influence, while the second will make us start with a little more money in our pocket. More backgrounds will come in the future and I look forward to seeing how they really influence our progress.
Wartales mix strategy, RPG and survival
The title will feature 4 different levels of difficulty, with only the normal and difficult being available now, to which the hardcore and easy modes will be added in the future. From Shiro Games they have made the design of each of their worlds and missions by hand, although there are some procedural elements such as the way in which they walk through the world and we find groups of bandits or wolves, to name a couple of examples. It is curious that Canesse told me while I was playing that it is an idea for the future for the title to take advantage of some of these elements, in this way we could bring wolves closer to a group of merchants, let them do the rest and not lose influence or reputation points by the way. Even the opposite could be done, and take advantage of this attack to win the favor of these merchants if we defend them.
There are a series of elements in the interface that we will have to attend to with care. For example, him suspicion level it is something that can make it easier for us to be attacked. In Wartales there is a survival component, our mercenaries get paid at the end of the day, they have to rest at a bonfire and, of course, eat. These are some of the elements that we will have to attend to with great care, since if one of them becomes unbalanced, it could lead to our departure early. It is a system that, due to its inventory management, has reminded me a lot of what I have seen in titles like Siege Survival.
Although all these ideas may sound very good at first, the truth is that Wartales still has a long way to go. A good example of this are their turn-based fighting, in which we have classic resources of the genre such as action schedules, as well as various skills and actions for each of the units present. All of them have a shield or armor equipment, as well as a life bar. So it will be necessary to carry out frequent equipment repairs to ensure we do not fall at the first change in the next battles. It is in the turn-based combat system where I see a much wider scope for improvement for Wartales as lacks coverage system, so that the tactical component is only focused on the management of special action points, which act as if they were another economic resource in the game and will have to be recovered when sleeping.
For its RPG section, the title gives us the option to visit shops or workshops, chat with different NPCs and develop different professions with our mercenaries. Every time we carry out a specific action of a profession, it is available to assign among our soldiers, although we can change its role between them at any time we want. We will also get experience and with this some level increases that will allow us to unlock different skills such as being able to walk faster. Each soldier also has his own progress independently, being able to unlock individual proficiencies for each of them.
A mix between AoE and Baldur’s Gate visually
Although it is early to draw conclusions regarding its graphic section, the Isometric view suits him very well. Some of the mapping scenarios are attractive, but Wartales is a title that prefers to be minimalist in terms of on-screen elements by not overloading the scenario, so that the player can fully focus on emerging events and some more prominent objectives. The game demo is available on Steam for all those who want to give it a try. Obviously, it is not yet translated, but according to its Steam file, Wartales will arrive with texts in Spanish.
It has certain ingredients that make it interestingThe truth is that Wartales has certain ingredients that make it interesting, but I think it is too early to draw conclusions from a title that still has a long way to go. I’m excited about Cassenne’s ideas about introducing mythological enemies like griffins and so forth, but at the moment they are just ideas. I have some doubts about this game, I don’t really know how the absence of a central thread is going to work. It is estimated that it lasts up to 100 hours, but at the moment I can’t quite see that nothing it offers is attractive enough to keep you inside for so long. You have to wait and see how it evolves in its early access.