Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark (PC) Review with Stream
DEEP class system
Solid character development
Intricate level designs
Late game balancing
Lack of unique animations
RPG’s or “role playing games” for the uninformed is a genre that that has existed since the beginning of gaming. A lesser known part of that category is strategic/tactical RPG’s, in which a greater emphasis is put on the environment, range of attacks, and battle strategy. 6 Eyes Studio is trying to breathe new life into this niche sub-genre and maybe even teach an old dog some new tricks. In Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, you play as Kyrie, an arbiter of the immortal council, which means you are judge, jury, and executioner. While dispensing justice, you will be hurled into a world altering quest, in which you must build a team to fight corruption, injustice, and maybe even a dimension breaking incarnation of ultimate evil, all while dealing with newfound ancient powers.
Fantasy and RPG’s go together like peanut butter and jelly, but in Fell Seal, they have a bit of steampunk or Victorian era technology that adds a bit of spice to the environment. It’s an interesting setting to have oil street lamps but also fire spells, making it feel unique. There are so many different stages each with their own terrain like deserts and swamps and cities. Each of these also have their own hazards, like pits and lava pools, but also cliffs and slopes with different elevations to account for in your strategy. No level is the same in each stage looks hand painted, and the amazing orchestral score and soundtrack only enhances the atmosphere. This story makes full use of this starting you off in the city witnessing a murder, traveling from the forest to the desert to the swamps and in search of justice. Every location has its own people or race that fit the environment, making each location feel real.
In terms of characters there are of course the troupes of classic RPG’s like wizards, clerics, and warriors, but with a total of 30 classes, including gadgeteer, peddler, gambler, and vampire there is no shortage of choices. Each of these classes have inherited traits, but the beauty of this system is that you can mix and match them each of the classes provided you stay in that new class as long as you need to get that rate you want. You only gain ability points from your primarily class, so choose carefully. For example, you could have a knight as your tank, but also be a backup healer because he had those traits from earlier on. This is fun for players who want to stick to certain classes or for those who love to min/max their stats the most efficient of characters. Another inventive system is the item crafting, which uses a nontraditional method to create consumables. Instead of just buying potions at a store you crack a potion at a certain level and every time you battle you have that level potion with you, and if you upgrade you will get a better potion to use next time so you never run out.
It’s clear that people at 6 Eyes Studio took inspiration from those came before, like Final Fantasy: Tactics or Disgea with the isometric look and feel, but tried to make it their own. You can see the care and love in the final product with the attention to detail. It has a fantastic story (that I will not ruin), believable characters, and a solid fighting system. That said, it does have some issues. When a character dies in battle it is then called “injured” and it will lose 10% of all of its stats in any subsequent battle until it is not used in a fight. This makes sense for balance that can be very annoying seated forces you to not use a character that you would normally always use. Even with this in place, you will have many characters that are far below in level from your main squad and there is no good system to power level them, like using money to buy levels. However, all of these minor points can be fixed with updates and tweaking and do not diminish the great game that I really enjoyed.