Social Media - Follow, Like and Friend

16 Dec 2021

REVIEW: Book of Travels on PC (Steam)

Review by
Before I start, please note that Book of Travels if still in Early Access, so although this is a review, it is based on a game that by its very nature is not the end product, so please keep that in mind.

Book of Travels advertises itself as a "unique social roleplaying experience that doesn't hold your hand", and as such it is very unusual for a RPG as it has no missions, no real plotlines, and no life-or-death quests. So, taking away the very elements of what makes a RPG a RPG, it seems a strange approach to take for a game.

The first thing you notice when you start playing is the graphics, they are stunning, however they are also weird, it is hard to describe, but it's basically 2D graphics that have hundreds if not thousands of layers, so as you walk toward or away from the camera viewpoint, you pass through the 2D layers, this is really strange, and also incredibly annoying, as often the layers get in the way of what you are trying to see, and since you can't move the camera, often you find yourself moving the character back and forth until the correct layer focuses and you can see what you are doing. 

Now because there is no real plot, or quests, or side missions, or anything, you will at first just find yourself wondering around, not quite sure what to do, or where to go, and there are no instructions either. At best you have some small icons at the top of the screen that describe your condition, for example walk in water, you get wet, and icon says you are wet and advises finding a fire to dry off by. This is also where you will find the first clue for something to do, your character is tired and needs some care and attention, you know because an icon tells you, and advises you to find a tea shop. Finally, we have something to look for. Of course, no idea where it is, the map is pretty much useless, but it is better than nothing.

At this point frustration is going to set in, and many people will simply give up at this point. There also will be people who will stick with it, for clearly there has been a lot of effort in this game, and it is still early access after all. And you should keep going, as I did.

The more you explore, the more you will kind of figure things out, you will see things on the floor that you can pick up, you will learn skills as well as passive abilities, you will speak to NPCs who might offer you a trade, you will improve your clothes, your weapon. The more you play, the more you will realise that this is an experience, a way to pass the time, without ever really achieving anything, this game is a relaxing experience.

You will come across other players online, and you can choose to travel together, or leave on your own, sometimes you will need help to achieve things, maybe untangling some vines to see what is under neath, moving a heavy object, helping fix a hurt Ox. 

You can't really talk to other players in the traditional sense, instead you have a selection of symbols, and the more you play the more symbols you will unlock, you can talk to the NPCs in the game, and they will ask for things, but there is no in game journal, so you will literally need a pen and paper handy, to write things down, otherwise you will soon forget.

The Good
In general, the graphics are glorious, a new attempt at an old genre is always an interesting idea.

The Bad
The game can be incredibly boring, and you will find yourself endless wondering around, picking acorns, desperately trying to find something interesting to do, and as much as I love an alternative type of experience in a game, the game must still hold my attention.

One good thing to note is that this game is Early Access, so it can only get better, I think the developers need to leave some of their idealistic hopes behind, and go back to basics, otherwise I can't see how this game will succeed. The potential is there, but the average gamer needs instruction, they need something to do, and just hoping people can find enjoyment by making stuff up themselves to do, is relying way too much on the patience and interest of people. The graphics although beautiful need an overhaul, the 2D layers just do not work and are not user friendly. This needs to be a proper 3D game. I wonder if too much time, money and effort has already gone in, that the developers just won't admit the mistakes, and start fresh.

No score for now, but I look forward to future updates.

Out Now

No comments:

Post a Comment