Sands of Salzaar Review

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Release Date:2021-12-15
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

If you decide to pick the game up, you'll soon discover these so-called Legacy points. Which brings us to the whole replayability angle. Before starting your adventure, on top of picking your class, you'll be able to choose some bonuses that range from extra companions and resources to unique skills and increased difficulty options that essentially act as a New Game+ mode.

From what I gathered, the game also has a number of secret endings, so if you enjoy your time with Sands of Salzaar, you'll be able to pour a lot of it into the game. And while all of that is nice, I'm not really sure how such a level of replayability works in a sandbox game where a campaign can take quite a while, and just focusing on the main quests with some sprinkling of side stuff can result in a playthrough of around 20 hours.

Technical Information

For a game with a big map and a lot going on at the same time, it's a bit surprising that Sands of Salzaar is using the Unity Engine. What's even more surprising is that for the most part, it works really well. You get some stuttering when something big is happening, but everything mostly works and doesn't use a lot of resources. The game even has a built-in frame limiter that's on by default, which is something every Unity game needs, but not all of them have.

While the game's music is really nice, when it comes to visuals, it actually has three distinct visual styles. The main one you see when moving your units across the map is fairly simplistic, but possesses a certain level of stylized charm. Then, you have the rare story introductions that usually show what the characters are supposed to look like. And once those introductions are over, you're left with the whole visual novel anime thing. Which really makes it apparent that the developers can produce good art, they're just deliberately choosing to go with the anime aesthetic for their characters. I don't get it. But once again, some people seem to like it.

In fact, for an isometric game, the character creation screen, and I'm talking the actual character model here, is surprisingly robust. So if you enjoy creating anime characters, you'll have a lot to work with here.

And while the game worked perfectly fine and never crashed on me, some minor issues I had with it include the fact that you can't just skip dialogue, you can only speed it up, manually, and that there's no dedicated pause button. If you want to pause the action, you can open your inventory, your map, your quest log, just about anything, except actually just pause things.

The game also has a multiplayer option, but it's limited to skirmish-style battles at this point.

One last thing to mention here is that while the game's UI generally became much better in the full release, certain things somehow got worse. For example, previously you could easily see which move set a weapon had, and now you mostly just have to guess, which is especially relevant for swords that come in three different types. Also, it's now much harder to see how all the damage and armor types interact. And, for some reason, mousing over attributes no longer tells you what they do.

Conclusion

While certainly rough around the edges, Sands of Salzaar has something to offer to just about anyone. If you're looking for a sandbox world, some light kingdom management, a computer RPG, or a JRPG, Sands of Salzaar has it all. And considering we don't get a lot of Chinese games in these parts and the game's fairly reasonable price, I say you should give it a go even if you find certain aspects of it somewhat disagreeable.

Because at the very least, the game doesn't hold your hand, neither does it follow some established template, and so it can offer you the very rare these days feeling of actually learning how a game works, and the satisfaction of "beating" it.