Game: Fell Seal: Arbiters Mark
Genre: Tactical RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (also PC/ Xbox One/ PS4)
Developer|Publisher: 1C Entertainment| Six Eyes Studio
Age Rating: EU 7+|US Teen
Price: $29.99 | £23.99| €24,99
Release Date: 14th August 2019
Thanks to IC Publishing for providing us with a review code
After a successful campaign on Kickstarter by Six Eyes Studio, Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark was released on Steam earlier this year. Now it’s the turn of the Nintendo Switch to host this story driven tactical RPG.
Keeping watch on the land of Teora
A beast know as The Maw has ravaged the land of Teora. As it’s in their nature to do so, seven great heroes rise up against the Maw and defeat the beast. After the battle was done, the heroes formed the Council of Immortals to rule over the land. The Immortals rely on the Arbiter’s to keep watch through out Teora and enforce the law.
Many years later a young Arbiter named Kyrie notices that things in Teora aren’t as peaceful as they once where. Murders and bandit attacks are becoming more frequent and the Immortals don’t seem very concerned.
As you take control of Kyrie, she and a few other Arbiter’s set out to discover what is happening in their world.
The Gameplay makes Fell Seal shine
The story is told to you through cut-scenes. I must say the story is not much different from what we are used to in RPG’s. But it does have a few twists and turns along the way to keep it interesting enough that you want to reach its conclusion.
Now on to gameplay as this is where Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark really starts to shine!
As you move across the map, Kyrie and her team will enter areas where battles will take place. These areas, or nodes as the game calls them, have various terrain and elevation. Battles are turned based and you can have up to 6 members of your party appear on the map.
Each unit in your party can use one action and one move per turn as is the standard in most tactical RPG. When using a Spell attack the area around the range of the attack is highlighted so you know exactly where that attack will land.
Chose between default or harder difficulty
Placing your team after they have finished their move is important, as an attack to the side or back of your team member will do a lot more damage to them than if they are attacked at the front. Enemies will also protect their side or back by their placement on the map.
If a team member loses all their health in battle they will retreat and under the default settings they will receive an injury. This reduces all their stats dramatically, to heal the injury they must sit out of the next battle. However, on the harder difficulty setting an injury can be permanent and lead to death. This system I found worked well as it does encourage you to try and create more core units out of the recruits you have and not just rely on the same team members all the time.
Each map has a different requirement for victory, from protecting a civilian to defeating all enemies on the map or defeating a particular leader.
A lot of customisation options
In each town or city you are able to visit the Guild and recruit more team members with different job classes and abilities, there are 20 different jobs types to pick from and these can range from the normal classes found in other tactical RPGs like Mercenaries and Wizards to the more unusual class of Gambler with increased luck based abilities.
Each class carries with it a unique skill tree that provides passive stats that you can unlock for your character, abilities/spells offensive/defensive moves and counter attacks. You can customise the look of the new recruit from their skin tone to their hairstyle right down to changing their name to one of your preference. Nice customisation, you can make them just like you want them.
The customisations don’t only entail the new recruits: you can also change the difficulty and injury setting of the game at any time when not in battle. Or you can stop the enemy being able to use healing potions or revive after death among other options.
Being a tactical RPG, you can customise your team members as well and you can change their job classes when they have learnt the abilities of the previous class. Of course you can change their equipment and armour as there is a lot on offer via the shops in the towns and cities. Plus, as in any good RPG, there are lots of treasure chests to be found on the map.
Some 30+ hours of gameplay
Fell Seal Arbiter’s Mark has vivid and bright environments with a suitable soundtrack to match. There is no touch screen control though every thing works well using the Joy-cons and you can change some settings for the controls in the menu as well.
Everything is explained well to the player through out the opening portion of the game. If you’ve missed anything there is a comprehensive help compendium to refresh your memory. I think anyone who has played any tactical RPG before will have no difficulty getting into and enjoying Fell Seal. Expect an engrossing customisable party menu and battle gameplay.
I have been enjoying my play though of Fells Seals Arbiter’s Mark for this review, there is roughly 30+ hours of gameplay. Of course some of that time is spent in the Troops Menu as you sort out your party units for the up coming battles on the map.
There are only two things that caused a slight annoyance while playing Fell Seal, you can not move the camera during battles. Sometimes it can hinder your view of some of the enemies on the map. Another thing I found is that the size of the font for the writing in the menus could be bigger. I have struggled to be able to read some of it and would not have been able to read it if it wasn’t for the zoom feature on the Switch.
Apart from that Fell Seals Arbiter’s Mark is a very enjoyable tactical RPG. It is done well and and my score for it is….I Like It A Lot.