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9 Feb 2022

REVIEW: The Waylanders on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
The Waylanders is a party-based Role Playing Game, with lots of Celtic myths and historical legends thrown into the mix. 

First let's take a look at the official synopsis

The first meeting between the Celts and their gods, the Tuatha de Danaan, should have been a time of celebration and enlightenment, but when negotiations go catastrophically wrong, a battle against a god leaves you near death and untethered from time!

Return to a land overtaken by magickal corruptions and a kingdom splintered into multiple factions warring for the throne. The Celtic society, a complex tapestry of different religions, human cultures, and mortal and immortal races such as the Mourians, Werewolves, Goblins, and monsters threaten to tear at every seam. Will you support the immature, yet rightful, heir, or the pragmatic general in their bid for the throne? What alliances will you forge, what friendships will you foster, what romances will you pursue, and... what will you do when you are suddenly thrust into Medieval Spain?

First thoughts upon playing was the unnecessary swearing, the game is not particular adult as far as I could see, and the graphics are more cutesy than realistic, so it seemed totally out of place to use modern swearwords and slang, calling someone "dipsh*t" for example. It just stuck out like a sore thumb. Personally, I get bored with a lot of cutscenes,. wherever possible I just skip past them, because I want to actually play the game, not watch a movie. I only mention this as I noticed a lot of people moaning on online forums about the cutscenes, saying that it seems that scenes are missing, or that storyline events do not make sense etc.

Another early issue I had with the game is as you walk around, you might see a staircase in front of you, but you can't walk up it, it is just there, ready to be walked up, but not. At least put a little rope in the way or something. Little things like this in a game can make all the difference. I need to know if an area is accessible by looking at it, not some kind of trial and error of walking up to everything.

As you get into the game properly, you will find yourself needing to talk to people, a little gripe with the dialog options is that I can read faster than the characters can speak, so as soon as I have got the jist, I want to skip the dialog to go to the next line, and yes you can skip the lines, but if you accidentally click on the original talking point, you then have to go through the whole same conversation again. If you allow this in a game, you are taking shortcuts. A well-made game with just include a line something like "you already asked that", instead of repeating verbatim what was already said.

As for the dialog itself, the voice acting is ok, there seems to be a lot of it, and a fair amount of voice actors brought in, however if you just listen to them, it is clear they are just sat reading from a script, and as such it does not come across at all natural.

Onto the fighting, this also seems a bit strange. You select an enemy to fight, you walk up to them, click attack, and then you just have to wait for your character to keep attacking him, you just sit there, kind of watching. 
The urge to just run and attack enemies, run around etc is massive, but the fighting system won't allow you. You do get used to it, but in my opinion, this was the wrong system to use in this game. Let people attack, that is the fun of the game. 
If you want to use a select attack system, then it needs to be full on turn based like in a Final Fantasy game. This game is somewhere in the middle and it does not quite work for me.

As you play the first mission and get used to the attack system, you will find AI characters to join your party, and once you have a few, and they are all doing their own things in a battle, it does seem to feel better.

At the end of the first mission, the boss is a giant dog creature. You quickly realise that you need to attack its hand (paw?) and once you hit its paw enough times, it drops its head, which you can then attack to take larger amounts of damage off his health bar.

After this battle, you find yourself in the in The Otherworld! Where you learn more about the story, and you get to explore there, upgrade weapons, armour and skills, but potions for health and magic, and so on, pretty standard stuff. I seemed to lose my health fast in battles, so get yourself a lot of potions, however if you choose the easiest setting, I don't think you can actually die, well I didn't anyway.

There are 3 different camera points you can play from, close up, a bit further away and then very far away.

With over 50 regions to explore, with quests, and secrets to uncover, as well as playing in Celtic and Medieval eras. There is plenty to do once you get into the game.

There are the usual character customisations, party upgrades, and all what you would expect from a RPG.

The Good
Although slightly cartoony, the graphics are decent, and the soundtrack is very good.

The Bad
I have already mentioned a fair bit of what is wrong with the game, much can be fixed or tweaked with updates, but I think that some of the basics of the game are set and you just have to get used to them.

I have seen a lot of hate for this game online, but I think that that hate mainly comes from your hardcore RPG gamers. I am not one, so I won't jump on the bandwagon.

As a casual gamer, there is enough in this game to keep me busy, it is far from perfect, but it is a perfectly adequate RPG game. With a few updates, (which are coming) this might be a decent game to add to your collection as it will only improve as the developers fix the bugs. But perhaps wait for the sale as a penny under £30 is way too much.

For now, I score The Waylanders a rather generous 6/10

The Waylanders is out now on PC Steam

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