Wartales is an open-world, tactical turn-based RPG and it surprised me out of the gate. It’s a subtle mix of Banner Saga, Baldurs Gate and even some Skyrimesque freedom too. With highly customisable party management, turn based combat and meaningful consequences for every decision.
Not what I expected from a game I had never heard of.
Exploring the medieval world, picking fights and clearing dungeons is only half the game. Building your party or troop, keeping them fed, watered, paid and rested when not exploring and fighting is the backbone of the experiance. The depth and attention to detail available and/or required… will be its biggest plus or minus depending on the sort of gamer you are.
I literally spent 45mins in the opening setup screen, customising my party, choosing their traits, equipment and skills…. before I had even started the game. Then, after the first battle, I spent another 45mins doing it all over again as I had new skills to choose from and specialities to assess.
Wartales, lives by its sword not the pen.
I liked the set-up for Wartales, as the open-ended nature felt more realistic than many RPG games. The goal is just to support a rag tag group, make them money and just explore a world. That’s it. No false urgency, no save the world must-beat big baddie etc… to roll credits, just go have an adventure and find stories.
But for what this game lacks in deep narrative, it makes up for with some of the most dense game systems I have ever seen. NPCs can be recruited to your troop, then crafted to be whatever character you “need”. You can even recruit horses! But if party members die in combat…they are gone. So too if they get too hungry, or get an infection or become part of an infighting rift which rips the troop apart. Like I said, combat is just half of the game.
Upgrades and skills feature in all combat but also are just as important when exploring the overworld and setting up camp. Cooking, tinkering, animal care and handling are all skills and professions your troop need to be skilled in…not just fighting.
Overall, it’s got legs.
I played on Xbox Series S and the game looks good. Not amazing mind you, I think the console version would pale in comparison to its bigger PC master-race cousin which released back in April this year.
I loved the depth and freedom available in Wartales. I just wish I had more time to put into it, as it demands a huge amount of it.
It is an acquired taste, so if you are a gamer who loves deep systems, countless stats and menus to navigate and real consequences to choices made hours prior…then this is the game for you.