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This ‘expandalone’ sequel, which includes the entire original campaign, is in many ways superior to the first Silverfall. The first was a hack-’n’-slash RPG set in a world that merged steampunk technology with elf-versus-goblin fantasy pastoralism. The collision of ideas was novel, and the cel-shaded presentation remains wondrous – when it’s running smoothly.
Earth Awakening is an improvement mainly because it enables you to skip the lackluster opening and start at level 45 – the start of the new campaign. Rather than beginning with a sack-shirt and a stick to your name, you start with a rack of hyperbolic deathmagics, a set of steam-powered armour, and neon laser-hammers. And then you go off on monsterthrashing adventures. Start as a god and work up from there. All games should start like that.
Silverfall graduates can continue with their level 45 character, or create a new one to go adventuring with. There are a couple of new races for the latter: squat dwarves and sinewy lizardmen. Both are, like the characters from the original game, beautifully designed. Creating a persona that looks incredible is no problem at all, even if that’s going to be the highlight of your experience.
Sadly the game also inherits a few of the previous game’s flaws, including the confusing plot, the ultra-repetitious combat (it’s like winding up a toy and letting it go into a splatter of pixilated thrashing, over and over), and the occasional performance bombs. The main town particularly chugged to the point of unplayable on several different systems, including our most powerful gaming PC. As this is a major hub for the game, it’s a significant problem.
Nevertheless Silverfall remains an engaging, muscular offering and one that isn’t far from barging the big boys of the hack-’n’-slash world off their gilded thrones. The visual design is absolutely enthralling, and if the scenery weren’t so muddy, and the combat less of a mess, it’d be a contender for one of the top slots in gaming graphical history.
In the US, the game is only available as a download through Steam.
Oct 10, 2008
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