The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep – Review (PC)
The Bard’s Tale. A tale that has been sung since 1985. The latest sequel, The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep stays true to it’s turned based, grid-based fighting, and thankfully it’s humor still comes through, but is it enough for new players?
Unfortunately for us, we are fairly behind in getting this review out and I sincerely apologize for that. But on the positive side, when going through my playthrough of The Bard’s Tale IV, there were a few major updates that went through that smoothed the game out quite a bit. The first thing to note is that this game takes some decent space on your hard drive, requiring 55 GB minimum. Why is does a game, that has a base price of $34.99, need so much damn space? The quick answer? There’s a lot under the hood.
The character creation is fun and it keeps a personal touch on the game as you get to play as you see fit. You get to customize not only your look and class but your voice as well. I have a soft spot for being able to choose what your voice sounds like in games. It just adds to the experience. There’s no wrong way to play, but if you don’t play The Bard’s Tale as a Bard at some point…come on now. The story right off the bat is interesting and throws you into the fray fairly quickly. Newer fans may like this approach as you quickly get engrossed in the story. I don’t want to ruin the story at all for readers that could very well be interested in playing this game, but the story itself is definitely worth checking out if you’re the least bit curious.
One of the fun high points of the game is the voice acting. They did a really damn good job in lining up and matching the voices with characters. I really enjoyed just listening to the characters converse while normally I’ll try to skip through and read through the conversation. While we are on the topic of audio, the soundtrack is beautifully done. Here’s some proof:
The combat to me is still very well done. I am surprised that more games don’t tend to imitate what The Bard’s Tale games have. The combat, as I mentioned earlier, is turned based and grid based. But what does that mean? Turned based should be a little more familiar to most gamers, each character in battle goes in an order which is stat dependent. Grid-based will need to be a little bit more explained. The battlefield turns into a four column, four-row grid. You will have two rows and the enemies will also have two rows. You are allowed to move about your grid to gain great placement to set up major damage up close, or some ranged attacked from the back. You can also dodge charged attacks by getting out of the way of your attacker. It works really well and enjoyed the extra strategy.
The rest of the gameplay will be similar to other RPG’s you may be used to. You have the main story quest but can pick up many side quests that will get you deeper into the game and the lore of The Bard’s Tale. Like any true adventurer, you will most likely do everything that comes your way. But another key part, which runs deep in all The Bard’s Tale games. It’s the puzzles. The puzzles run deep and can make you lose your mind, but never impossible. Even the standard edition comes with a digital code wheel to help solve some puzzles. it’s a fun break of the XP grind and can net you some great rewards.
The Bard’s Tale IV, after a few updates, is a solid game. A well-done story backed by amazing voice acting and soundtrack made this game a nostalgia hit with me. Some hardcore The Bard’s Tale fans may feel its missing a little to be fully satisifed. Newcomers to the series should enjoy their time as well. Finding it on sale should help seal the deal.
+ Great voice acting and soundtrack
+ Story grabs you right off the bat
+ Visually pleasing and engrossing
+ Good ol' Bard's Tale humor
- Still has some minor bugs and needs more polishing
- Hardcore fans may not be fully satisfied nostalgia-wise.