The preview of Batora: Lost Haven, the promising action RPG from Stormind Games arriving this fall on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X | S and PC.
After having ventured into the survival horror genre with the two Remothered , Tormented Fathers and Broken Porcelain , the Stormind Games team returns with a whole new project: Batora: Lost Haven . The new game of the telentuoso Italian team is a narrative action RPG in a fantasy setting that offers a playful experience halfway between the twin stick shooter and the hack & slash with a very marked puzzle component.
Strengthened by the experience accumulated with the development of the two horror chapters, the young Italian team wanted to test themselves with a completely different genre to try to give life to a much more complex and structured experience on a narrative level and even richer in possibilities. .
We had the opportunity to try a demo of the game, which allowed us to take a first look at the features and mechanics of this ambitious action RPG, coming this fall on PC and consoles. Follow us in this preview of Batora: Lost Haven .
Principle of duality
Batora: Lost Haven tells the story of Avril, a 16-year-old girl who found herself on an alien planet after escaping a catastrophic event that led to the destruction of much of planet Earth. Thanks to the extraordinary power conferred on her by the two amulets of the Sun and the Moon, Avril embarks on an interplanetary adventure to restore the cosmic order and save her planet. The choices she will make about her during her journey will change the fate of the universe and it will be up to her to decide who to trust her, all always under the banner of this constant duality that re-emerges throughout the whole experience.
The entire concept of Batora, in fact, lies precisely in the representation of the concept of dualism , which is developed and deepened not only on the narrative level but also on the playful level.
The combat system is characterized by two different modes which are based precisely on the double nature of the protagonist: Physical and Mental. The first mode corresponds to a fighting style similar to hand-to-hand, while the second changes the approach to clashes by providing skills that will allow you to attack enemies at a safe distance . The player, therefore, based on the cicostanze will be able to switch between the two combat modes with the simple press of a button: in this case, Avril will change appearance and chromatic nature, aligning with the powers of the sun if we choose the first mode and with those of the moon. if we choose the latter.
The interesting thing is that this alternation between the physical and mental planes will also involve the status of the enemies. Choice that gives a decidedly more tactical imprint to the clashes, also enhancing the dynamic approach. Basically, during the fighting we will also have to pay attention to the color tones of the enemies and choose which strategy to adopt accordingly. Orange color indicates a type of opponent more vulnerable to physical attacks, while purple indicates the presence of a greater vulnerability to magical attacks.
Opting for the same color as your opponent will mean causing greater damage, while attacking with the opposite element will mean causing less damage but at the same time will allow you to load a combo indicator which, once filled, will allow you to activate an increase in damage in nature. opposite. The same goes for our Avril which will be equipped with two different energy bars , one linked to the physical nature and one to the mental one. The simple reset of one of the two bars will cause instant game over, so the player may be forced to change his strategy also by virtue of this aspect.
A bipolarity , which we have already had the opportunity to see in action in Ikaruga , the famous arcade shoot’em up developed by Treasure, but in this case it is exploited in a much more elaborate way, especially during the fights with the bosses , which are also capable of constantly changing chromatic nature, making the clashes even more frenetic and hilarious.
But that’s not all: the different platform sections dedicated to puzzle solving intervene to break the rhythm between one clash and another . In some moments, we will find ourselves catapulted into some “rooms” in which we will have to use the two opposing powers of Avril to correctly compose a path until the completion of the level. In essence, these are real sections dedicated to solving some puzzles based on the activation of buttons, platforms and rotating spheres, in the wake of what has already been seen in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wildand which, however, represent a pleasant digression. In fact, the puzzles we tried all seemed well packaged, even if not yet able to offer a high level of challenge. An element that we hope to be able to find in the more advanced stages of the game.
The power of choices
As pointed out at the beginning, the new Stormind Games title is characterized by a strong story driven imprint. In this articulated narrative structure, ample space will be given to the decision-making power of the individual player who during the adventure will find himself having to deal with moral choices that will affect not only the progression, but also the growth of Avril.
Each choice we make will allow us to lean towards a specific moral alignment, Conqueror or Defender , always linked to the double nature that characterizes the experience. In essence, the alignment of the Conqueror is linked to an attitude devoted to impetuousness and revenge, while that of the Defender is more oriented towards balance and forgiveness, but both concur to outline the temperament and characteristics of our heroine also through the acquisition of skills and powers related to our moral alignment and that will be provided to us by the runes. The runes, which also allow us to increase our statistics, to be equipped require a specific number of points divided into three types: neutral, defender and conqueror.
The decisions that we will make during our adventure, however, will not only affect the progress of the story (there are 4 different endings in Batora: Lost Haven) and the evolution of Avril, but also on the relationships we will have with the NPC. In the demo it was not possible for us to deepen this aspect much, but we have already glimpsed some alternative paths capable of making some factions in the game allied or enemy only through our choices.
As far as the technical sector is concerned , the demo showed substantial drops in frame rate at various points, not only during the most heated fights but also during the exploratory phases. Obviously, what we tried is a beta version of the game so we are confident at launch all the necessary cleaning and technical finishing interventions have already been made.
Ultimately, Batora: Lost Haven appears to us as a very promising project for ambitions and characteristics.
Although at first glance it may appear like yet another Diablo-style hack & slash, the new production of Stormind Games manages to stand out thanks to some interesting solutions capable of making the gameplay intriguing and multifaceted. Obviously, to get a clearer idea of the potential of the game we will have to wait for the definitive test. In any case, this first taste of Avril’s adventures definitely surprised us and we can therefore only renew our total trust in the developers, who have already had the opportunity to amaze us in the past with their talent and their passion.
Batora: Lost Haven will be available in the fall of 2022 for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X | S and PC.