REVIEW – Without much warning, a roughly 5 year old RPG has snuck onto the PS4 for no real reason. It already raises questions, but it looks like it’s going to be a part of a trend. After The Witcher 3 came, saw and conquered, others are eager to grab some money, so here’s ArcaniA, which will be followed by Risen 3 too in the summer…
Nordic Games wants to reach the canaan of the green paper with the complete edition of ArcaniA. It’s more of the same: they re-released the game with the Fall of Setarrif expansion, that came out a year after the base game. If we compare the PlayStation 3 version with the PS4 one, there’s going to be an immediate thought: the HUD is exactly the same, with zero differences whatsoever, so everything is in its place on this generation too.
A little ugly for this generation
After the PS3 release, the PlayStation 4 port doesn’t look much nicer, and the framerate is constantly getting you 30 frames per second, because it sure as hell doesn’t feel like 60. But back to the graphics, it would be hard to pick which one is which if I had to put the two next to each other. The generational difference is felt in the game itself, because after the often spotted screen tearing on the PS3, it’s not really present here.
Yet, our hero’s eyes glow in the dark, which makes me wonder whether he is a cat or not – it’s really disturbing to see his eyes glow in half darkness like that. The other thing is the lip movement of the characters… or the lack of them. Did they fix it? Not really, there’s no lipsync here, or the (pretty much bad looking) characters’ mouths barely move. In 2015? Wow. At least the draw distance is alright!
The music was lifted completely from the PS3 version, that’s fine. It changes dynamically if we say, enter a village or a fight is coming up – that’s okay too. But there’s audio balance issues in ArcaniA: one time, I had a drum going on in the background, which pretty much muted the characters’ speech, therefore I ended up muting them. Sentence by sentence. Other than that, the audio is alright, it’s average, nothing special is to be mentioned other than Troy Baker voicing the hero.
The game is an „open world” RPG, so you can prepare for running and fighting between points A and B, picking up items and fetching them back to the start point, scoring XPs and such. Speaking of fighting: it’s so terrible in the start. Hit, hit, hit, block, roll, hit, hit, hit. Until you begin getting spells and new weapons on board, the lock-on featuring combat will feel like a chore… and it will take several hours to get there.
ArcaniA is quite boring in the opening hours. The first 3-4 hours: nothing happens, then the wheel gets rolling in the next 20 or so. You’ll learn the nice menu by then – it feels better than the PC version. But wait, why did I use „”-s at open world? Because it’s mainly an illusion. The game feels very linear, running between endpoints in most quests, and you’ll need to do so, because the story needs to be progressed. The story itself is the generic revenge thing: leaving the village, coming home, family dead, now to kill everyone. Meh.
Only for RPG fans
If you own an okay PC or a PS3, I can’t recommend this game for you. It’s not perfect, saving takes 5-7 seconds at least, the characters have messy animation here or there, some textures and enemies sometimes disappear in thin air and the gameplay is pretty much a B category in general. It’s not bad, but it’s pointless on the PS4.
If Risen 3 will be the same as this, then hopefully the RPG-porting game stops. Sure, the game isn’t sold for full price, but you can get it cheaper for the two aforementioned platforms. There’s not going to be many new IPs and games in this generation, if the publishers reap more money just by re-releasing games…
+ Alright for a first RPG game
+ The draw distance is excellent
+ It’s easy to contro
– Just a re-release. Again.
– Not much improvement over the PS3 version
– It’s just an average RPG
Publisher: Nordic Games Publishing
Publication: May 24, 2015