Bard´s Tale opens up with the classic original Bard´s tale tune and with improved graphics that scale very well into high resolutions. There are unfortunately no manual supplied to the game. You have to find it on the web but there are tooltips almost everywhere that describes the most vital parts of the game.
I started out a whole evening with rolling characters. After an hour or so I was finished. In my setup I had one warrior, paladin, rogue, bard, magician and conjurer. You have the typical setup of races like human, elf, orc, gnome, half-orc, dwarf etc but it is not obvious what their exact advantages are.
When my party was finished and I had saved the game we went out to explore Skare Brae. Ahh…it was a fresh breeze that reminded me of my adventures 30 years back with my Commodore-64. It is exactly the same town and I still remembered some things but not all. Fortunately there is now a full featured auto-map included which also describe the things you find, for example labeling what kind of shop or temple you discovered. It writes down all hints and tips you found and so on. Perfect!
|The original Bard´s Tale on Commodore 64|
My first goal was to find the equipment shop because we started out with only some gold and no weapons. I had to find the shop through google and it was only around 10 steps northward. After having bought broadswords and scalemail to my warriors I was satisfied. Now begun the first hard part of just surviving. I tried to take on the easy fights to gain experience and get some gold. After half an hour I was eligible to raise to level 2 so we searched for the place where you can level up the characters. I also gradually improved the equipment of my warriors.
What struck me is that the shop only offers standard equipment. Best armour is plate mail and best weapon is the two-handed halberd. There is no magical items or expensive items to long for. I suppose I have to find all of these.
My strategy was to wait until level 3 to enter the sewers. The sewers is entered by ordering some wine “which easily goes down” from a special tavern. It was around this time that I read about how bad the rogue class was. Even if they had improved it by including the improvements made to the class in Bard´s tale III, I was not impressed by its ability to hide in shadows and automatically score a critical hit on next turn for only a few points of damage. At level four I switched out the rogue for another warrior instead. The only drawback I see is that I have to rely to magical means – and spellpoints – to disarm traps. But the successrate of the rogue is not that great in that department either.
I also eventually added a 7th magician instead of using the slot for wandering creatures after having read it was the best way to use that slot.
|The much appreciated automap|
I have only reached level two in the sewers and explored a little over half the town and already most of my times have been spent on levelling up my characters. At level up every character recieves a random amount of hitpoint, spellpoints and a one point increase in a random attribute as longas you haven´t reach 18 in that. I reload if my numbers are too low. This takes time so at least 10 minutes for one level up I would guess. Anyway everything is so extremely much easier and quicker than on my tapestation on the C-64 so in just a few hours I was already at level 7. Higher levels means extra attacks per round for warriors and paladins and new spell schools for the mages. But spells costs money and I cannot afford everyone to have the latest spells so I have to return to the sewers several times just to get more money.
Good items is hard to get by but I have slowly found some mithril armour parts which is more effective than the best armour the town shop can sell. I have yet to find real good magical weapons or items.
- Cloud saves – Every time I quit the saves are transferred to the cloud and I can continue playing from any of my three computers at any time. Worth gold if you have a family sharing the computers.
- Less random encounters and high ability to run away – Extremely useful and makes the game less frustrating
- Save anywhere – You can save the game anywhere and don´t have to return to the guild
- Automap – Saves you a lot of time than if you had to do this yourself
- Improved UI – Both mouse and keyboard support makes the game easier to play