22/10/2023

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review 6.5/10 "A GOTY Contender Crippled by Technical Issues" ๐Ÿ›ก️ @Wartales_Game @shirogames #GameDev #IndieGame

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Wartales Nintendo Switch Review
It pains me to write this review of Wartales, as I so desperately wanted it to be a better experience, I was clutching my ageing Switch and willing it to somehow have a burst of strength and run Wartales more smoothly and less clunkily, but alas, I was getting the exact same vibes I did when I played Dragon Age: Inquisition on my PS3 over a decade ago – either the Switch is showing its age, or Shiro games really needs to patch the game up ASAP, as what could be one of the best gaming experiences of the year is at present a mere shadow of what it could be.

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review
At the time of writing this review, a patch had just been released, but sadly – the major problems still persist.

An open-world isometric game with turn-based combat, Wartales is set in a grungy, low-fantasy world that sees your band of mercenaries travel the landscape, trading, hunting, and helping or hindering the denizens of this incredibly engaging and atmospheric world, all the while with an understated score that gave off echoes of Witcher 3 vibes, which is absolutely fine.

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review

Wartales grabbed me from the start, with the focus being real-world issues, and the low-fantasy setting eschewing magic and wizards in lieu of scoundrels, farmers, and vagabonds – everything was very much up my strasse. Every time I picked up new armour; levelled up; was able to craft a new item; fished; traded, or explored, every facet of the game felt fully realised and there was a real satisfaction in growing and improving my little band of merry men - and our beloved pack donkeys, natch. In short, it was already a better game than Starfield in every possible aspect. 

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review

Aside from wandering around solving quests, camping in the wilderness, and deciding how to deal with the myriad encounters that you will…um…encounter, the other meaty aspect of Wartales is the combat.

When combat is initiated – often by ragamuffins uninvitedly bursting forth from the woods and accosting my men as they recover from their inevitable brandy hangovers – the game switches to a grid-based, turn-by-turn battle system which will see you getting your men into position to create maximum havoc and damage with (hopefully) little damage to yourself.

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review

The deathblow system is very satisfying, especially when the camera zooms in for a close-up as one of your men clonks an enemy across the face with a club, that ‘clunk’ followed by the wet sound of a skull caving in actually made me wince the first time I witnessed it. Good.

There are so many wonderful moment-to-moment situations in Wartales that won me over, I genuinely felt attached to my mercenaries, and when someone would raise concerns that we are perhaps a little bit too blasรฉ in killing prisoners and bandits as opposed to capturing them, jailing them and offering them second chances – I spent a few moments weighing up his words and repercussions as I would in real life, I was so hips deep in the world created by Wartales that I genuinely didn’t want to upset anyone – especially as his words have an in-game effect on everyone’s overall morale!

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review

Yes, Wartales is a fantastic game…on PC, at least – the Switch version, however, is a different (war)tale.

The game initially took so long to load – on a black screen – that I thought it had crashed. Loading each save can take upwards of a couple of minutes. Then in-game, every single screen is sluggish, and the frame-pacing and rate are all over the shop, but rarely smooth.

This all makes menu navigation – of which there are many, due to the (accessible) complexity of the game – as well as combat, finicky as there are delays and halts at every turn, even trying to select a place for your men to move in combat is twitchy, and not helped by the Switch’s Joy-Cons. Compounding all of this are regular hard crashes that require reboots, which is quite unforgivable in a fully released title.

I’m sure that if I was writing this review in six months when (hopefully) all of the issues are patched up, I would be fawning all over this and hovering around the 9 / 9.5 score, whilst making a mental note to fawn over Wartales again in my GOTY article, as it stands however – the current version of Wartales is brought to its knees by the many technical issues that hamper enjoyment.

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review

SUMMARY

I’ve decided to put my game on hold at present and revisit the world of Wartales when the next major patch is out, which is a shame, but the fact I am willing to wait for the game to run more acceptably so that I can return to it is a strong indicator of just how good this could be. If you fancy Wartales, please pick it up on PC – at the moment, anyway.

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review

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