Yaga (PC) – Review
Follow Genre: Action, RPG
Developer: Breadcrumbs Interactive
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Tested on: PC

Yaga (PC) – Review

Site Score
8.7
Good: Original, story full of life, great music, entertaining levels
Bad: The combat and endless repairing/crafting feel a bit sluggish
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

As we stray from the religious and mystical paths more and more every day, sometimes it seems like fantasy-filled games are the only thing left that connects us to such dimensions. Yaga is one of these games, where Slavic folklore directs you to Baba Yaga, a two-faced creature showing a maternal side as well as one that is deemed appropriate for only the most gruesome stories.

Story

While the title of this game is Yaga, you will never play with the legendary figure yourself. While the story indeed involves an old hag named Yaga, the main role actually goes to a rather unlucky blacksmith. This unfortunate man named Ivan already lost his arm in a peculiar fight, but that’s not where his misfortune ends. The Tsar (leader of the country) got cursed by an old witch and blames his bad luck mostly on the blacksmith due to the stories that have even reached the court of the Tsar. To prove the one-armed-poor-soul is not the cause of all the unfortunate things happening, he is tasked with finding something extraordinary and bringing it back.

The story moves at a nice pace with plenty of attention to the carefully constructed cutscenes and the moments in-between the missions. The quests and bits of the story alternate almost perfectly, giving you room to enjoy the gameplay as well as the story. On top of that, it’s interesting how old ‘lore’ is incorporated in modern projects such as this. Think of The Crones from the Witcher 3 and you’ll have a general idea of the vibe these types of games go for when they are all about those witches. This is is somewhat gritty and dark, but in Yaga’s case, also in a rather unique art style.

Graphics

The graphics are truly something to commend in Yaga. It feels like almost every element you come across is carefully placed and ready for you to enjoy. The style is very coherent and pretty much flawless, aside from the animation. While the animations aren’t bad, they often have that puppetry feeling to them, where joints are clear rotation points for limbs. That being said, the cutscenes, the environment, and the general design are extremely well done.

Sound

The sound design in Yaga flows together perfectly with the rest of the game and is actually rather surprising. Yaga has original music with and without vocals, ranging from more traditional tunes to the heavier drum & bass beats, or shamanistic vibes combining the two. It’s a great accomplishment to get all of this to fit so flawlessly and to also seamlessly weave different songs into each other. When playing, the music makes you feel more alive and connected to the game and you don’t get that a lot in games these days. While the thumps and the cracks of combat are “just great”, the voice acting is also absolutely fantastic. These are top-tier voices that could easily make their way into i.e. a Disney movie, expressing everything with bravado.

Gameplay

Yaga is an action-adventure RPG, where you go on quests and follow paths while smacking a couple of baddies in their face. While having only one arm, Ivan has the good fortune of being a talented blacksmith. This means you get to craft weapons and original gear on your way to the end. Think a grappling hook, a shield, and a whole array of hammers. Gear is not limited to combat only, as some items have to be used when exploring as well. There’s also a bit of crafting to be found in the game, granting you extras to help you reach the end of your quest. These extras include things such as more damage, more attack speed, and also a small boost for Ivan when your gear breaks. Unlocking more possibilities to craft with is partially done by exploring and finding more of these options, and partially by simply spending money and resources gained from enemies to upgrade your blacksmithing skills. However, the smithing doesn’t feel very elaborate, and perhaps even more tedious than anything else after a while.

Gear breaking happens quite often, especially when you have a favorite weapon you use a lot, so it’s better to bring two or more with you to be sure, even if crafting resources seem scarce. You can also repair your gear in-between missions, though it seems costly at times. It’s pretty much always worth it unless you didn’t like your gear, but then you can salvage it to use the resources for something else. The game has a mechanic called Bad Luck, which makes the possibility of breaking gear higher. You get more Bad Luck by using health and stat increasing items. While the combat plays fine on PC, it feels like it would play more natural with a controller. Sometimes the dodging, smashing, and using items felt a bit sluggish. It’s simply the lack of the full range of an analog stick in an eight-direction game. Especially later on with bigger enemies, this was noticeable. That being said, combat is still exciting, partially thanks to the creature design and the offensive capabilities given to you.

Even though the story is pretty linear, you will be presented with choices from time to time, allowing you to pick which quests you want to follow up on first. There’s an RPG element making you choose how Ivan will react in conversations, clearly stating if it’s a righteous, angry, foolish, or greedy choice. While greed might give you more in the short-term, it might be worse later on, as the game keeps track of how many choices you made with every possible intention. After a quest, you also get a rogue-lite type of upgrade to choose from. These upgrades also seem to be influenced by what type of man Ivan is. By adding all these small possibilities and upgrades, Yaga offers a good bit of surprises and even some replayability. Combined with the story, graphics, and sound design, it’s truly a great adventure awaiting.

Conclusion

Yaga has a great story to tell which inspired by old folklore, mixed with original characters and twists. The graphics are rather unique and nice to watch, as you come across loads of pretty scenery and well-designed NPCs. The music and the voice acting are both amazing. The gameplay offers enough variation thanks to small branching choices, though the combat and the crafting in the game can sometimes feel a bit sluggish. Overall though, Yaga is a passionate and unique game that many will enjoy.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Yaga (PC) - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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