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-   -   The Bard's Tale - Review @ RPG Codex (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1240)

Dhruin January 31st, 2007 00:18

The Bard's Tale - Review @ RPG Codex
RPG Codex has taken a stroll down the discount isles to bring readers a review of inXile's The Bard's Tale. There's no score as usual for this site but the into is pretty clear:

Unfortunately, inXile’s The Bard’s Tale is literally a Bard’s Tale game in name only. Despite carrying the name of the series, Fargo only managed to acquire the rights of the name from Electronic Arts through a legal loophole, but not the rights to the content of the original series. Interesting then, that this was revealed to the public only after months of misleading marketing ploys such as touting the game as a “re-envisioning of the series”, and right after the game went gold, by the game’s very own lead designer during an interview. Even more unfortunate is that all the things that were hinted at during the game’s publicity – the irreverent humor, the entertaining gameplay, the reworking of RPG cliches – were by and large absent as the game ends up being a short and forgettable action romp that handles none of those elements particularly well, while still carrying issues of its own caused by its console origins.
Thanks, Role-Player!
More information.

Role-Player January 31st, 2007 00:18

Thanks for bringing up the review, Dhruin :)

I had some hope that The Bard's Tale would at least manage to stick to the main premise of good humor and cliche twisting, but it ultimately falls flat on even those.

Hopefully, Fargo will handle the Wasteland license a whole lot better.

Dhruin January 31st, 2007 00:34

Do you still think they'll do Wasteland? I'm convinced they'll stick to that console thing they're doing and move on from there.

Corwin January 31st, 2007 01:21

The problem with BT, is that humour is personal. I enjoyed the humour and the songs, but hated the console stuff like save points and the top down view. It just became a trifle tedious towards the end!! Why would anyone attempt to re-do Wasteland (which is still on my HD). You couldn't win no matter what you did. At the very least it would be compared (probably unfavourably) with Fallout!!

Role-Player January 31st, 2007 02:53

Corwin, I think the humor would have worked a whole lot better if it actually achieved what it set out to do - reworking the cliches found in RPGs. As it stands, the feeling I get when playing The Bard's Tale is that the Bard is just repeating what I often tell myself when playing other games - the main difference being I'm usually a lot more unforgiving. I guess in a way it can be appreciated for what it is, but in between the movie references and sardonic prattle that never gets off the ground of self-awareness, I lost any interest.

As for Wasteland, I haven't heard anything official yet about a remake, Dhruin; just that he acquired the license. It might happen but as you said, they might stick to that console train… Whatever the case I just hope it turns out to be a more polished endeavour.

Acleacius January 31st, 2007 03:17

I doubt Fargo would sit on a Wasteland license or ignore the console sales potientail, not sure why they wouldn't try to release it on console.

I can't recall but wasn't Fargo running Interplay during the Fallout development, in the range of 1995 to 1997?
If so it's hard to believe he didn't have any input, even hiring many of the talents, especially since Wasteland's original concept, story and design was to some degree was his , if not mostly or all, can't recall atm.

Dhruin January 31st, 2007 04:50

inXile is aready officially working on a handheld game and a console action/adventure, so any Wasteland remake would have to wait beyond those. I just don't see them moving further away from RPGs then suddently coming back to a hardcore property. Bear in mind he didn't have to pay/buy the rights -- he just moved quickly when EA's rights expired as I understand, so sitting on it is costing him nothing.

txa1265 January 31st, 2007 18:15


Originally Posted by Corwin (Post 17542)
I enjoyed the humour and the songs, but hated the console stuff like save points and the top down view. It just became a trifle tedious towards the end!!

I pretty much agree - it is more difficult for a game to parody cliches while also attempting to be a genre title … it ends up playing into those cliches eventually.

Sorcha Ravenlock January 31st, 2007 18:19

I agree as well, I enjoyed the humor and listened to the first song several times :) I wish the gameplay would have been better…
Maybe some modder could recreate the game on the NWN2 engine? ;)

fatBastard() January 31st, 2007 19:18

I'm … sort of with you guys in the sense that I also enjoyed the humour immensely but since I didn't play the original Bard's Tale games …

*dodges flying rotten vegetables*

Oy! So I got a late RPG start. Better late than never right? ;)

Anyway, since I didn't play the original tales I probably didn't feel quite as "violated" as some of you may have felt… Still, it DID suffer from consolitis as do so many games these days :'(

txa1265 January 31st, 2007 19:29


Originally Posted by fatBastard() (Post 17668)
Anyway, since I didn't play the original tales I probably didn't feel quite as "violated" as some of you may have felt… Still, it DID suffer from consolitis as do so many games these days :'(

I never played the original series either …

aries100 January 31st, 2007 19:42

I have sadly :( never played the original Bard's Tale games either ---

However, I really had some high hopes for thisgame….

And I was very disappointed in it…

It was not just because of the save game points (I thought, at least, in computergames, these went away a long, long time ago), it was also because of the story, and the gameplay somewhat.

I mean, I hard a hard time getting a grasp on the controls of the game, the story so and so, and the bard's comments were, at least to me, not (very) humorous.

I did understand, btw, what Fargo wanted to do: create a main character which wasn't particularly interested in saving the world, but just wanted wein, weiber und gesang (or in English: wine, women and singing). THis, however was, imo, not very well done, especially since the Bard seemed to suffer from a focus on the - shall we just say --- more lower part of (body)life….

Not very funny….

Role-Player January 31st, 2007 19:58

It's not that the Bard's attitude does not evoke some sort of sympathy for his plight or some amusement from his quips. But the one thing that would carry the game forward - the whole "forget about saving the world" premise - just doesn't get well executed at all, and drags his attitude with it. After a while not even the most humorous of comments can make you forget that he's complaining about something yet still doing it. Which would be somewhat like a character in a Dungeons and Dragons game complaining about all that number crunching and die rolling, then the player has to go and roll dies and min/max his character anyway.

I have to agree with txa1265 that it may be difficult to provide a context wherein the genre's staples can be thoroughly deconstructed while looking at them in a humorous angle, but I'd expect Fargo to have some experience in videogames - or at least did some research into games which may have pulled it off - to not let it go to waste here.

The real stinker I'm afraid, is that I can't seem to get rid of the game. No store seems interested in buying it off me, and I'm not too confident about selling it through Amazon.uk. At least I bought it second hand - Dhruin was somewhat right when he mentioned discount aisles :)

curious January 31st, 2007 20:15

i can understand the use of top down view for console games (basically a top-scroller instead of a side-scroller) but the controls for such a view work horrid on a pc unless you are one of the few who don't like the mouse/keyboard setup. also to me it seems like such a waste of 3-d graphics when all you can ~1/6 of objects, people etc. i've tried to play this game twice (2 long installs too) but it was simply too frustrating on so many levels. good thing i had only paid 8 bucks for it. if i recall it has all 3 original games (never played III) on it though, which i haven't had for years. can anyone recommend devil whiskey? i remember the 'dot' kept update with news on it but i don't remember anyone ever writing a review on it.

Shagnak January 31st, 2007 22:37

Someone needs to make a 'proper' sequel, and do for the series what Wizardry 8 did for the Wizardry series. What a waste of a licence.


There is this (favourable) review of Devil's Whiskey.

mudsling3 January 31st, 2007 22:41

I thought it is an OK game…maybe bc it only costed me $3. The game is pretty consistant with its sarcasm until the very last scene. I enjoy voice acting and songs…or I just didn't expect much out of it.

Corwin February 1st, 2007 03:14

I wrote a review of Devil Whiskey for the Dot. I used to be active on their forums, then they wiped them and asked me for more money to keep my account active (I paid for the game myself)!! I have never returned and have no idea what is happening there now.

Lucky Day February 1st, 2007 04:06

I have to disagree with you RPer from what little of it I played (so perhaps I shouldn't be replying :o). I think (the new) Bard's Tale was everything it advertised itself to be. And this was very unfortunate.

Which is why it didn't play it that long. So I agree with your sentiment.

Very disappointing. Like a lot of us I was really, really hoping it would have been a proper sequel to this once venerable franchise. (It was so popular that when BT3 was released, Richard Garriott had the nerve criticise it, when we all knew he was just disparaging the competition. It was basically Ultima in 3d which even Origin couldn't do yet.)

(the new) Bard's Tale sort of reminds me of Ultima 8 or that Zork game that wasn't (meant to be) funny.

Acleacius February 1st, 2007 12:02

Count me in too, I enjoy it for the potiential it did achieve like humor many have mentioned and yet reviled the console piece-o-crap released. ;)

In reguards to the review, I can't help think the premise wasn't "forget save the world" becasue most games try to save the world and yet the heroine or hero never complains about taking on this huge burden.
There for the premise was "save the world" bitching and complaining inbetween stopping for some wine, song and companionship as we saved the world, which has huge potientail if it's intended as an adult targeted game, not aimed as a kiddie console game. ;)

Role-Player February 1st, 2007 14:35


Originally Posted by Lucky Day (Post 17764)
I have to disagree with you RPer from what little of it I played (so perhaps I shouldn't be replying :o). I think (the new) Bard's Tale was everything it advertised itself to be. And this was very unfortunate.

I wasn't expecting a high profile CRPG release that would turn the genre on its head, even when Fargo kept suggesting it would shake the genre's foundations.

If you look back at some of the interviews and advertisements, there were definitely some comments made about how the Bard wouldn't care about the any of the common setups and pitfalls of the genre. Check this early promotional advertisement - that's a pretty clear statement of where the game was meant to be going but never does. Hell, if you look at the back of the game's box there's a blurb about forgetting about saving the world and going for coin and cleavage, which only really happens in the first minutes of the game when the Bard may get his way with the tavern wench.

All this feedback leaves me wondering how people are going to react to my Fable: The Lost Chapters review. :)

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