Developer: 6 Eyes Studio
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Release date: 30/04/19
Price: £19.99 // $29.99
Official page: https://www.fellseal.com/
Let me begin by telling you that RPG’s are one of my favourite types of games so to be able to play Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark was a perfect match for me. Please indulge me, while I tell you what I thought…
So, to start with, a little backstory. Centuries ago, a brutal beast of destruction threatened the world. In this time of need, seven immortals came into their own and used their powers, powers so great that they succeeded in dispatching the beast that ravaged the land. To prevent such mayhem from happening again, the immortals formed a council that would enforce peace and stability throughout the lands, stepping in at any hint of war or chaos.
Despite the immortals being, well, immortal and powerful, they are few. They can’t oversee all the lands so they employ mortal agents named Arbiters. They will protect the land and it’s people from the day-to-day dangers they face. Arbiters range over the land seeking out unruly beasts, bandits and crooked officials. They are the law.
The game then starts as one of your main characters, Kyrie runs into a shady nobleman named Alphonse and she goes on to see how deep the corruption runs, even in her own order of Arbiters.
Hand drawn art and great gameplay
So, beginning with the graphics which seems mostly hand drawn art and they are delightful. The background artwork is great and definitely has a hand-coloured texture and feel.
So, moving on to the gameplay and it plays as a turn-based tactical combat which clearly takes inspiration from Final Fantasy Tactics which is fine by me as these are my favourite games. Being a fan of these sort of games, I got straight into it but if you are new to these types of games, there is plenty of tutorials as you begin to tell you all about how to play. It may seem a lot to take in at first but if you just explore then it soon becomes very easy to play and use.
The game is set into missions which are found on a classic world map and the missions are played out on a wonderfully designed grid-like map.
Each map must be well studied to be able to complete in the best way. You will have your team of fighters who will each have different classes, for example, mercenary, wizard or mender – there is twenty to unlock in all – and you need to employ the right tactics in order to beat the several enemies on the map. For each mission, it’ll tell you how many fighters are needed so choose your best team possible from their character cards which will show all their strengths and weaknesses.
There is a bar at the top of the screen during the missions that show the turns of each character and on their turns, you can move a character a certain number of squares and then perform an action – attack if you are close enough or perhaps throw an item but be careful because if you leave yourself right next to the enemy, they’ve got to have their go yet and could easily attack you and then move away. It’s all about tactics and strategy people!
During battle, your characters each earn experience points which automatically improves their stats (attack, defence, speed etc) and then after each battle, they gain ability points, which as the name suggests, you can spend them on abilities.
Also, once the battle is won and over, you can visit a shop on your world map to upgrade your weapons and armour or sell your unwanted weapons and armour. If’s that not your bag, then you get the opportunity to recruit more units for you to use during battle by visiting the local tavern. The time in between missions is key as you will need to heal, upgrade, recruit and perhaps even re-visit previous missions to gain additional experience tackling the previous enemies. It is all necessary to progress.
Some novel ideas
There is a couple of areas that Fell Seal does differentiate itself away from Final Fantasy Tactics. Firstly, there is an injury system. Instead of one of your characters dying permanently, they will receive a – 10% hit to all their stats. Your character can recover whilst being left at camp for an entire mission or you could take them along and risk a longer bed rest if they pick up another injury. Again, it’s tactics. However, the good thing about this is that it encourages you to use all of your available units and dabble in all of the twenty classes rather than sticking to your five or six favourite units.
The second novel idea is the use of items in battle. Rather then accumulating items and getting a ridiculous amount that you won’t ever use, you are instead limited to a set number of uses per battle which is a great idea. I know I keep saying it but it’s all about tactics!
Thirdly, I like how on the battle maps, there is sometimes treasure chests which, as long as you find the right moves to get to them then you can open them. They are sometimes tucked away in the far corners of the map but I always went out of my way to get them.
It can be punishing
Fell Seal demands your concentration, you need to keep an eye on all of the map and all of your characters as well as all of the enemies. They may have a long-range archer who is slowly picking you off as their knight attacks you on the frontline. You may think you are okay and will get him eventually but before you know it, your team is being whittled down and you are losing. It really does need planning and tactics.
The last thing I will touch on is that the background music successfully gives the air of fantasy as you play through. There isn’t catchy tunes or anything but the blending is just right. Also, the sound design for the weapons works well and you do feel a certain more weight behind the blow of an hammer compared to say, an arrow from an archer. It definitely worked for me.
Please see below for the trailer:
The review key for Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark was supplied by 1C Entertainment for the purpose of this review.