Solasta: Crown of the Magister – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-based Tactical RPG
Developer: Tactical Adventures
Publisher: Tactical Adventures
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

Solasta: Crown of the Magister – Review

Site Score
9.1
Good: Great tactical combat RPG which is true to the D&D 5e ruleset
Bad: Linear story with no meaningful effects of dialogue options
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a Turn-based RPG based on Dungeons & Dragons’ 5th edition, but with a unique setting and storyline. We’ve previewed this game in its Early Access phase, when it was limited to the main campaign, with several factions not yet unlocked. This release version is much more polished and adds some cool new features to an already good game. Solasta: Crown of the Magister has been developed and published by Tactical Adventures.

Story

The world of Solasta uses the ruleset of Dungeons & Dragons’ 5th edition, but the setting has a unique backstory. Once upon a time, humans didn’t exist in this world. The world was ruled by a mighty High Elf empire, but this empire came to an end in a mysterious magical apocalypse. This apocalypse caused a rift that brought humans to this world, but also gods, which didn’t exist before the cataclysm. The location where this disaster happened is now known as the badlands. The land here got twisted, and strange things are happening deep within the badlands. The effects of these mysterious happenings are also felt on the outer edges of the badlands, which is where your adventure starts.

As a player, you control a party of four adventurers. They become deputies for the ruling council of a large human city, located close to the badlands. Your task is to investigate strange incidents. First, you’ll start in close proximity of the city, but as you progress with your investigation, clues will lead you deeper into the badlands. Your group discovers that fairytale monsters really exist, and while seeking to prove the existence of these strange creatures, you’ll encounter a mystical artifact; an ancient crown. One of your party members picks it up and seems to be mesmerized by the crown, and puts it on their head. They won’t be able to take it off again and will get mysterious instructions from the crown, which your party will follow as a guide to their adventures.

The game starts out with a nicely animated introduction, explaining the setting. After that, you’ll cut to your group of adventurers, who all have a story to tell. The story is being told through cutscenes, which will be triggered by reaching certain objectives during gameplay (for instance: killing all enemies on a battle map, or walking to a certain location), or by talking to NPCs. The cutscenes are nicely interwoven with the gameplay, and the pacing is good.

The story is sadly linear. You have several dialogue options to choose from during conversations, but your choices don’t have an impactful effect on the storyline. The dialogue options generally serve the function of providing the player with more background information about the setting, although sometimes dialogue will enable you to talk a potential enemy out of a battle.

Graphics

The graphics are nice; not super fancy, but pretty nonetheless. The design of the environments is really well done; the city where your party starts out looks beautiful, and the areas you’ll explore are well-designed and oftentimes properly outlandish. The characters look a bit bland and outdated, however. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to customize your characters and there’s a wide range of options, but they look somewhat stiff and plastic-y. The hair of your characters looks pasted on instead of properly blended, for instance.

Battle maps are well designed; there’s a lot of variation in terrain, providing interesting options to use to your advantage, or challenging obstacles to overcome during combat. Spellcasting looks pretty epic with cool animations, and during combat the game occasionally zooms in on an attacking character, making them look quite awesome. The animations of the character’s movement are pretty well done, and attacking and climbing looks natural and fluid.

The release version of the game is much more polished than the Early Access version we played before! Environments have more details and there are much more objects added to the areas you’ll explore, making the world look more lively and interesting.

Sound

The game is fully voiced, and the voice acting is pretty good. Sometimes dialogue seems a bit emotionally flat, but it’s not that bad that it breaks immersion. The pauses between speaking during the cutscenes are rather short, which seems unnatural. The party members will also comment on things while exploring, or comment on a killing blow; which is a really nice addition!

The music and environmental sounds are fitting and serve well to build the atmosphere. The sound effects of your characters are fitting for their movements, although climbing sounds like it’s a LOT of effort! It would be cool if these sounds would differ depending on how high a character’s athletics skill is.

Gameplay

Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a turn-based tactical RPG. The game mechanics are based on the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition ruleset. People who are familiar with these rules should roughly know what to expect. There are fewer classes to choose from in Solasta, but the base classes, subclasses, spells, skills and gods should be familiar for a D&D player.

You’ll be able to create your party of adventurers using pre-made characters, or you can make characters yourself. Character creation is pretty good; you’ll have a lot of options for race + subrace, class + subclass, and after you’ve chosen your skills and spells, you can even choose a background and personality for your character which affects dialogue throughout the game.

The tutorial is really nice as it’s integrated with the tales your characters tell each other when they meet in a tavern. It works really well to get familiar with the mechanics, while also playing through a short story.

Outside of cutscenes, you’ll view the world from an isometric top-down perspective, where you’ll be able to move around freely with any of the characters of your party, or the team as a whole. When a battle initiates, a moving grid will appear, and you’ll command each of your characters to move and attack during their turn. The battle maps will give plenty of opportunities to use the terrain to your advantage, and it’s essential to make tactical decisions in order to succeed at battles. For instance, you should always keep an eye on light conditions, as, for example, an enemy is shrouded by darkness, you won’t be able to hit it with your attacks. If you attack from higher ground, you’ll generally have an advantage, and there are skills that can boost this advantage even further. The locations you’ll visit during the storyline are all unique, posing interesting challenges you can overcome using your character’s skills, spells, or scrolls. Should you either struggle with a battle or steamroll your enemies, you’ll always be able to adjust the difficulty anytime during the game, even mid-battle.

Conclusion

Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a great tactical RPG, which stays true to the D&D 5th edition ruleset. The story is intriguing, battles are challenging, and the environments are well designed. The music, voice acting & graphics are nice, and serve well to build a nice high-fantasy atmosphere and an interesting setting. Overall, Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a really good game, and definitely recommended for fans of this genre!

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Solasta: Crown of the Magister - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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