Overview

The PS2 as of late has been a console without a solid RPG and has been in need of one badly. The action genre has been set for years as well as the platforming and sports genres, but the RPG genre just has not been treated very well in the past year. Well now inXile is trying to fill the void by creating their latest RPG for the PS2, and it’s The Bard’s Tale and its available now. Is this the game to fill the RPG void? Read our extensive review to find out now!

Gameplay

The RPG’s of this era really have began to evolve into some extremely deep and intense games that usually end up being the most time consuming style of games out of any genre on the market today. We are finding more and more now that the Action RPG style is becoming the way of the future, and we are starting to see the turn based RPG’s fade out of the picture. Now we have a game that has the identical name of the popular 80’s game, but doesn’t really have much in common with that old classic game.

The best part of the game is right at the beginning when we are all introduced to the game’s amazingly strong storyline that is moved along with very smooth and beautiful cinematic sequences. One of the best parts of the games storyline is the job it does at poking fun at other RPG’s throughout the game, giving a very solid storyline some very good portions of comedy relief. For the most part though this could be one of the best written storylines of the year, giving gamers a connection to the characters that really has not be found in many games this year. Although the script is great, the game is made even more impressive with the great voice acting, especially that of the Bard himself, which makes for one of the most memorable protagonists of the year. I just can’t say enough about how impressive the story of this game is and how well it flows with the game.

The core system behind The Bard’s Tale is actually quite similar to other games of the genre, giving you a bunch of different towns and quests that stems to all sorts of different items and abilities. For the most part the game works similar to most games on the market today, giving you a quest and allowing you to go after it, hacking and slashing your way through it. The game takes a Baldur’s Gate style camera and it works well for the game allowing you to go through the game in a very fast paced yet entertaining atmosphere.

Some of the best and worst parts of The Bard’s Tale, comes from the combat system of the game which is in real time. This of course allows you to run through environments taking out a ton of different types of enemies along the way. With that being said the combat just isn’t as solid as we would have come to expect, due to some rather poor controls. For the most part the controls seem rather clunky, making it frustrating at times to play through the game as the combat suffers accordingly.

With that being said, there is really only one other complaint I have with the game, and that is the inventory system in place with the game. I feel like the developers thought people were sick of dealing with inventory systems therefore they took out the inventory system completely. Now you have exactly what is on you, which means with you loot items they either take place of the item you already have in possession or turn directly into silver. And then the item that got replaced would be turned into silver as well. While this no doubt pokes fun at the prevalent inventory system in RPGs, where you can store everything, including the kitchen sink in your backpack, it also makes treasure hunting pretty obsolete in the game, taking away a big part of a typical RPG experience.

Overall though The Bard’s Tale ends up still being a pretty enjoyable role playing game experience, giving gamers a pretty solid experience. The controls could have been improved, but the great storyline makes up for it in the end, giving you one of the most memorable stories of 2004.

Graphics

Most RPG’s have a very unique visual styling, depending its type. With that being said The Bard’s Tale is pretty similar to other games like Champions of Norrath and Baldur’s Gate, giving gamers a pretty far away view but bringing a unique look to it as well.

The Bard’s Tale is a game that takes the same sort of graphics as the very successful Champions of Norrath, which was really a pretty great game. With that being said, this game does a very solid job of making very respectable character models and environments. The character models are all heavily detailed and have quite a bit of different colors in them. Following that the environments really do a great job of creating very a game that really has some very nice colorful environments that work really well for the game.

Overall The Bard’s Tale is a game that doesn’t have anything overwhelmingly wrong or right with it, and just works really well for the game,

Fun Factor

What’s nice about The Bard’s Tale is the storyline behind it which really is one of the best stories of the year and works really well for the game. The game actually has quite a bit of depth to it and besides the clunky controls actually plays quite well. This is one game that replay value is actually there, just so you can revisit all of the memorable incidents throughout the game. This is one game that really takes advantage of a solid storyline.

Overall

The Bard’s Tale is not a perfect game but does have a lot of strong elements that keep it afloat. With a solid storyline and pretty good gameplay mechanics, we are given a game that really does help strengthen the PS2’s RPG market. If you are looking for a new RPG for your PS2, you should definitely go check out The Bard’s Tale.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.