I always lament the fact that there aren’t too many decent tactical RPGs out there, games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Chroma Squad are too few and far between, despite it being a genre that really appeals to a decent amount of gamers, myself included. Every time there is a new game out, I get a tinge of excitement, because I know that I’ll be one of those guys sinking scores of hours in the game, trying to master it and failing miserably.
You can really feel where the inspiration comes from in Fell Seal, and I’d say they would be doing Squaresoft proud with their homage to Final Fantasy Tactics. It’s a brilliant execution of the time-tested mechanics. Much like chess, you have to think out your moves, and attempt to anticipate what your opponent – a devilishly devious AI – will throw your way. Where the game excels and differentiates itself from the aforementioned games though, is in its variety. There are lots of just about everything in this game. Enemies, classes and equipment are all there by the bucketload. They all feel unique and fitting perfectly in the game too. It all slots together to make everything flow perfectly in the game. The story may not be anything to write home about, but the things held within the story make Fell Seal so excellent.
There is a lot to do in the game as well. Rather than being a standard indie game with you seeing everything within a few hours, this actually will require a significant time investment in it, especially if you want to see everything. The story is fairly lengthy, with multiple difficulty settings and a lot of things to find in the world as well. Mastering everything the game has to throw at you as well is no mean feat, and the best thing is that it’s so absorbing. You’ll do everything I’ve just mentioned, but you won’t notice the time passing by. I found myself lost for hours at a time, thinking that only a hour or two had passed and it was suddenly dark outside.
I have two pressing issues with Fell Seal – the first being the ‘recommendation’ for it to be played using a controller. I have a PS4, I have an XBox One, and I have a Switch. So if I wanted to play a game with a controller, I have ample choice to do so. Fell Seal is definitely playable with a keyboard and mouse, but it is a bit more irritating. There are a lot of mappings and different buttons to press, and although sometimes it can flow, during battles it can be quite overwhelming, particularly at the start. I spent a lot of time in the beginning constantly looking at the bottom of the screen, then back up, then back down in order to figure out what I needed to do.
The other irk I had was probably because I was insisting on using a mouse and keyboard – the issue with adjusting the sound. Instead of having a slider, or adjustable option, you have to press a button each time you want to turn the sound down. With it starting at 100, taking it all the way down to your preferred levels is actually a lot more difficult than it should be. There are five different volume controls as well, so if you don’t use the blanket master volume, you’ll have a proper job on trying to turn it all down.
The Final Word
Fell Seal is an excellent game. There were a few aspects where I felt it fell down, particularly surrounding the keyboard and mouse aspect, and a few aspects were more “middle of the road” than falling either side of the good/bad fence. Overall though, it’s well worth playing. The developers put a lot of effort into making the game long, enjoyable and extremely functional and it shows. The mechanics of the game are top notch, and comparable to any other tactical RPG out there.