Reply to Most Recent Platinum

Durandal
By Durandal,
The Minstrel (reach the end of the tale)   first trophy earned: March 19th, 2019 last trophy earned: April 18th, 2019   ---   Ghost of a Tale is another indie game made by only a handful of people. But what a great fantasy RPG they've made! I truly enjoyed every minute of it, mostly because of the fantastic writing. The story is simply amazing, it has Tolkien written all over it. You know, an unlikely hero stumbles into an epic tale what only seemed as a straightforward "task" at the beginning. But the further the story progresses the more you get the sense that this much more then a simple love story. Oh and those dialogues! Just brilliant, full of wit and charm but also filled with so much lore. It actually feels like having a true dialogue with a person and not just someone explaining the obvious to you, like so many other games.   But let me start at the beginning. The game has you playing a mouse, and a minstrel to boot. You and your wife were summoned to a local baron to perform at one of his balls. He then requests a rather insulting song to be played, which your wife refuses to sing. Long story short he threw both of you into a different prison for that. When Tilo, that's you, wakes up in his cell he only wants to find his wife and escape with her. Strangely enough there is already a message and your cell key waiting for you. From who, you don't know and you also can't imagine why someone would want to help you. This is the premises of a great story, trust me! One that takes great care to unravel every mystery and plot device, and not leaving you more confused at the end of the game!   The reason why is rather simple. The game is filled with lore, which you can either learn from the many dialogues or from books or songs. Even an item description has sometimes useful information for you. But the game never points your nose straight at it, which makes it even more rewarding when you draw the right conclusions. And there are so many aha moments in the game to be discovered. Not just plot twists but also small details, each of these moments enlightens you more and more until the complete story is revealed. And like I said it is, for me at least, something that could have been written by Tolkien himself. One of the reasons why the writing is so great is simply because the game doesn't disrespect your intelligence. Which a lot of games and even movies/shows tend do. This game really is like reading a book. Quite literally actually, because there is no voice acting whatsoever. But it's worth reading every single line.   I said the dialogues are amazing and I feel like I should explain this a bit further. Most games only give you a few options to chose from when you have a conversation and it never really gives you the opportunity to question something further. Instead these conversations usually happen only to progress the story as quickly as possible. This game on the other hand gives you a lot more options when you talk to someone and it lets you explore a topic much more thoroughly. Sometimes it goes on for hours, interrupted by other things of course. And most of the characters you meet has an important role in the plot. It is a great joy to uncover these roles and the background of these characters.   A few words about the gameplay. That's what you really want to know, right? First of all this is a game with almost no fighting, the few fights you can't avoid are easy enough. And since your character is a minstrel and a mouse you wouldn't stand a chance against any armed enemy. So you have to rely on stealth and deception. The first third of the story is about acquiring a specific costume, which lets you move around freely in any of the few locations. If you don't wear this costume any guard that has spotted you will attack you. You can hide in a lot of place if that happens but first you have to break the line of sight, you can also sprint to escape. There are many hiding places which are usually buckets or barrels but you can just hide in the shadows.   Putting this game into a specific genre is a bit difficult, but I think it is foremost a full blown RPG, albeit a rather short and linear one. Your character earns experience and you can unlock several skills. You also gain more health and stamina with each level, which is needed to sprint longer. There are six sets of armor or costumes you can collect. They are a great tool to deceive someone and therefore gain valuable information or even access a new location. Or you can trick someone to give you something of importance. It's really a great way to use a game asset, other then just giving you some stats, which these costumes do too. The most interesting and somewhat unique asset however are the songs of the game. You are after all a bard, with a lute and everything! Sometimes you have to play a song for someone and depending on your choice the result might differ somehow. And you have to write your own song! Which itself is a great way to complete a quest or two. The songs are also beautifully performed if you choose to listen to them, even the lyrics are meaningful. Other aspects of the game are stealth and solving puzzles or doing various tasks. Stealth means either hiding or sneaking around, but you can also steal keys from guards to open one of the many locked chests or doors.   Combat is basically not an option, mostly because Tilo doesn't know what end of a sword to hold and he is also to weak. However you can knock out guards for a while by hitting them with a bottle. There are other enemies too, well actually there are 5 spiders you have to kill. But it's very easy because you can either kill them by throwing something at them or just by luring them into a trap. The heart of the game however lies in your abilities to hide and/or use the game assets to your advantage.   There are only 20 trophies throughout the game and most of them are easily obtained by simple playing the game. There are lots of collectables but they are usually not that hard to find, and you can actually get help by asking the right person or paying them. The more or less challenging trophies are the ones were you have to finish the game with a specific objective. These are not getting spotted by any guard, not getting hit by an enemy or not eating anything to regain health. But this is easy enough. It definitely helps to restart the game a few times early on to get the hang of the sneaking and hiding mechanism. And you can heal by sleeping later on in the game. Once you find that costume I've mentioned earlier you don't have to worry about the guards anymore. Not getting hit by an enemy can be tricky but the few enemies in this game move kind of slow! You only have to be very careful at some point during the game not to get hit, but you can simply reload a save game to reset this objective.   So another wall of text from me, right? But this game deserves it! Even more so it deserves to be played! Like I said you will be rewarded with a fantastic story and some very interesting gameplay elements. There are only a few technical hiccups in form of low framerates and camera woes, but it's nothing game breaking. The only thing that I found a bit unfulfilling is the ending, it feels like the game is just the beginning of a greater story. I hope that this is case though, because I would love to explore this unique world even further! And after all "The Lord of the Rings" required three books to be told.