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Most videogame RPGs cite Dungeons & Dragons as their primary inspiration, but few directly adapt its rules. In a world of cooldowns and mana bars, D&D’s dice rolls, bonus actions, spell slots, and long rests can feel clunky and restrictive when applied to a videogame. Even Baldur’s Gate 3 makes many notable changes to make D&D more user-friendly, while indie RPG Solasta wears the 5e ruleset as a badge of honor, warts and all.
This is a game where combat is on a grid, where every d20 rolls on screen, and where jumping away from enemies is a sometimes-treat rather than a regular part of every meal.
While it may forever lurk in the shadow of Baldur’s Gate 3, its crunchy, dice-heavy combat is just what I want in a lean adaptation of the tabletop RPG.
Eight years ago the now infamously defunct 38 Studios released their first and only game. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a big-budget single player RPG. It was created as a prequel to the studio’s ultimate goal of a World of Warcraft-level massively multiplayer RPG.
The MMO was never finished, the studio went bankrupt, and the state of Rhode Island lost millions. But a funny thing happened on the way to this ill-fated venture: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a darn good RPG, and one of the most underrated games of the era.
Video game RPGs owe much of their DNA from the classic tabletop RPG. Despite Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition catapulting the tabletop RPG into mainstream popularity, there’s been a stark lack of officially licensed D&D video games in recent years. Indie studio Tactical Adventures hopes to change that with Solasta: Crown of the Magister.
“We’ve been a big fan of tabletop RPGs for 30 years,” says Mathieu Girard, CEO and creative director at Tactical Adventures. “We have a D&D campaign running every week – currently playing Descent Into Avernus. Making a D&D RPG is a passion project for us.”
Poor Iratus was struck down on the eve of world conquest, his undead horde scattered to the earth. But a good villain never stays dead, least of all a master of necromancy. Starting from the deepest bowels, Iratus must raise a new army of undead monsters to scour dungeons in this compelling tactical-strategy roguelike RPG, Iratus: Lord of the Dead.
Iratus plays like a reverse Darkest Dungeon. Instead of grim heroes delving into dungeons and braving increasing horrors, Iratus is hell-bent on bringing those horrors to the surface.
In late 2013, InXile Entertainment ran a backer-only poll for its then-upcoming crowdfunded tactical RPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera. The poll addressed whether the combat system should be turn-based, like the original Fallout games, or real-time with pause, like Baldur’s Gate.
The final result was a nearly even split — 48% turn-based to 47% RTwP — with over 14,000 voters, along with some heated discussions and commentary. Ultimately InXile decided to go with a turn-based combat system, and half the fanbase wasn’t happy.
At the time, both systems offered benefits. But after years of playing Pillars of Eternity 1 and 2, the Shadowrun trilogy, and the Divinity: Original Sin series, the advantages of turn-based combat for tactical RPGs have become more pronounced, and it’s a good thing that Baldur’s Gate 3 is following suit.
I put about 40 hours into Fallout 4 when it launched in 2015 before I fell off, leaving much of the massive world and story unexplored. I’ve kept it installed on my hard drive ever since, deluding myself that I would jump back in to finish it some day.
After playing The Outer Worlds, I promptly uninstalled Fallout 4. The Outer Worlds’ tight pacing, excellent writing, and fun gameplay have completely satiated my first-person RPG desires – and it does it all in under 40 hours.
We solve the puzzles in the Barrow of the Maiden and finally confront Yadis in the final showdown.