Eschalon: Book I and Book II Reviews

12 Mar 2012

Basilisk Games is pointing us over to Macworld for favorable reviews of both Eschalon: Book I and Eschalon: Book II, in which the former scores a 3.5/5 and the latter takes home a 4/5. Since Book II should still be fairly fresh in everyone's mind, I'll quote from that:
Hearkening back to some of the oldest games in the genre, Eschalon Book II demands you carry sufficient food and drink to sustain you on your voyage, plunges you into impenetrable darkness if you don’t have a torch and has your weapons break and your armour tear with depressing regularity. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” is the rule here; if you swap out your bow for a sword and shield when the bandits have closed on you, you will take several blows while you do so. The amount of loot you can carry is limited by weight. Fighting in the dark is very difficult, but if you want to hold a torch, you can’t hold a shield or a two-handed weapon and torches burn out. Merchants have limited supplies of goods and restock infrequently; it’s quite possible to buy out all the food the innkeeper has to sell. The cost of armour, weapon repair and healing potions can easily chew up the reward from any quest.

This pain has a purpose, though: Knowing you didn’t just idly click your way through makes your success all the sweeter. Eschalon: Book II requires you to make choices, most especially when to run. It also encourages some creative solutions that aren’t handed to you by simply clicking in the right spot. (Hint: Those heavy barrels of gunpowder you’ll find have a million uses around the home and office.) Characters can invest skill points in many skills and trying to learn to do everything will often leave you unable to do anything.