Steam is doing a pretty cool thing right now, the Steam Game Festival. The idea is basically that for a week they will make available demos of a bunch of upcoming games. It is a good way to check out the demos for some games that weren’t in your radar or for games that you are thinking of purchasing and just want to make sure you will like it.
It will be going until June 22 at 10 AM PDT.
Solasta: Crown of the Magister is one of those games that are part of this festival and wasn’t on my radar. In one of the Discord servers I hang at, a friend of mine suggested people to check it out and tell what their thought of the game. If you never heard of it before, like me, Solasta is a western fantasy RPG that uses the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons rules.
To be honest I’d normally just snub on a game like this, thinking it is just another generic fantasy game, that is just using the D&D name to carry it’s sales. But since it was a request by a friend and I wanted to test the game’s claim of using the D&D ruleset I decided to check it out.
I am glad I did because it is a pretty good damn demo with lots of potential for the full game!
P.S.: I intend to check other demos from the Steam Game Festival and even write about them if possible. However since I have other commitments during the weekend I might not be able to publish the posts before it ends. So I recommend people to check the demos themselves.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with choices here are some that fellow bloggers posted about:
Right from the start the game gives a big warning about how it is still an early alpha demo therefore not all the features are implemented yet and there will be bugs.
One of the features that aren’t implemented yet are the option to play the adventure with your own created characters. Despite that the demo already has a character creation in and that is where we can start to see how close they are to the 5th edition rules.
It has everything you expect from a D&D character creation: different races (some with sub-races), classes, backgrounds, ability scores, proficiencies, alignments, choices for starter equipment and if you are a spell caster pick your starting spells and deity if you are a paladin or a cleric.
They even went as far as implementing D&D’s three different options of generating the ability scores. You can roll the dice, use the Standard Array or use Point Buy. It also tells which stats are more useful to the character’s class so newbies to D&D can make some informed decision when making their choices.
Another interesting part is that when you choose background and alignment we need to pick two personality traits for each. From what I’ve seem in the adventure, those traits aren’t just fluffy but will actually determine the dialogue options available to the characters.
Lastly is the character appearance. For face, hair and beard there are only pre-made models. Same for colors, so no blue-skinned dwarf for example. But there are enough options in the demo to play around and none of them look ugly in my opinion.
We can also even pick between two voice types but those aren’t implemented yet.
And of course you can name your character and choose their gender. There is also an option to write some fluffy backstory but it doesn’t seem to be implemented yet either.
All in all this should make up for some pretty unique and fun characters to play.
The demo contains a short, stand-alone, adventure with some pre-made characters. It is your usual fighter, cleric, rogue and wizard, each of a different race, personality and background. They are also at level 3.
In the demo the story seems to be that we promised to help some scavenger group by investigating what happened to one of their crew that were exploring an archaeological site.
One point I immediately loved is that during dialogue you can choose between three of your party members on how to talk to the NPCs. The dialogue options will vary depending on their background and personality. There are even some intimidation/charm/deception checks options with the chance of succeeding being shown.
The exploration of the ruins is pretty much what you’d expect with some environmental parts that can be interacted with. There are also hidden traps that your party needs to spot and can be disarmed.
Combat was another part it shows how faithful the game is to D&D. Not only there are initiative rolls but you can also setup reactions, deal attacks of opportunity, use bonus actions and even have automatic save rolls. If you like to see the exact numbers of any of those there is a small chat box on the top right showing all of them.
My first time through combat I made a terrible dumb mistake and ended up getting way more enemies than I was supposed to fight. The result was my fighter and cleric getting down to 0 HP and my fighter failing three times at his saving throw, resulting with his death. The game explained that the demo didn’t have an implementation to deal with the death of a party member yet so some cutscenes would look weird. It gave me an option to continue or quit to the title screen so I chose the latter option and went to do other stuff.
I still wanted to see how the adventure continued though so when I came back to the game I decided to see if the demo already had an auto-save feature. Lucky for me it does and it just happened to save before that fateful combat.
This time I didn’t do any dumb mistakes and combat went a lot smoother. On the next encounter the game introduced the sneaking mechanic and I could see it as being a good way to get your party members into more strategic positions, backstab the enemy or even bypass it entirely.
Personally I decided to eliminate the opposition so I used this to drop a big piece of stone on the head of one of the enemies which started combat. Again, combat went well enough now that I wasn’t doing anything stupid.
There were a few more things that happened after that but I will leave it for people to play the demo and discover it for themselves. 🙂
For an early alpha I honestly felt it was pretty polished. I didn’t find any bugs, except for maybe a magic missile effect that stayed a few seconds longer than necessary but nothing game-breaking. The art style and voice acting aren’t bad either and I loved the banter between the party members during the cutscenes. It makes me wonder how varied it will be in the final version though as it seems to be something expensive to implement if they are going to use voice-acting for everything.
In any case, I loved it enough that I put it on my Wishlist. If this demo is an indicative of how the rest of the game will be then I am sure I will enjoy every second playing it! 🙂