Forged of Blood is the first game from developers Critical Forge. Forged of Blood is currently only being developed for PC, and it has received the Most Promising Game Award from Game Prime Asia in 2018 and from Pop Con Asia in 2017. Critical Forge is a small independent development team of 8 people, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. It’s great to see a small independent team making the game they want to make without having the hand of a larger company telling them what to do. Let’s jump in and find out if Forged of Blood is worth your time!
Forged of Blood is a tactical turn-based role-playing game set in a fantasy environment. In the story, the player takes on the role of Prince Tavias Caenican. The story begins with your father, King Aurelian Caenican being killed as the castle is stormed by humans, to overthrow the regency, starting a rebellion. The no-win scenario presented teaches you the basics of combat and movement. After the tutorial, you and your brother, Crown Prince Levian Caenican are guided by High Commander Quintes Grippa to a haven, while being pursued by the same rebels who killed your father. You must begin to build up reinforcements to reclaim your kingdom. As you move across the fairly large world map, different quests will appear that you can do along the way. Dialogue choices can affect the outcomes of certain quests and your overall narrative arc. You must take into account the consequences of every dialogue option, as they can improve or worsen your relationship to the various factions found in Forged of Blood. There is more than just one way to beat the game, so you must choose between outright conquest, or finding another solution.
Using a system of 3 different points, you can perform various actions. The points represented by three different coloured stones in the HUD are yellow, blue and green. Specific actions will use different points like attacks using yellow, a small quick movement using green, a regular movement using a blue, etc. This system is particularly beneficial in that you can move in to strike an enemy, then make a quick movement to get into cover, protecting yourself from ranged attacks. Battles are difficult, and proper placement of your units could mean the difference between victory or losing your favourite unit.
Using a classless system, you’re given total freedom to grow the characters the way you want. Nine weapon types, each including its skill tree, allows you to level a character’s skills based on what type of weapon you’re using. Battles will typically reward you a few points for a weapon type, based on how much the weapon was used throughout the battle. Throughout Forged of Blood you will be able to command three different parties of five units each and as any unit can learn any skills for a weapon type, and carrying two weapon sets each into battle will allow your five-person parties a lot of great tactical advantages in any battle
Each unit is also given a general skill tree with six different branches that they gain points in as they level up. You are also able to recruit new characters to reinforce your parties as you move around the world. However, each party is strictly limited to five units.
Spellcrafting is a fairly complicated system. It uses stones called Magurite which are harvested from monsters that come from another plane of existence called Bracati. The Magurite stones work like batteries, and you use a Drain spell to charge it, or an expel spell to use the energy for a powerful attack. Using the spell crafting system, you can customise how the spells work using effect modifiers in the spell crafting menu.
Forged of Blood has a lot of information to display on its HUD, but thankfully you can minimise a lot of the windows unless you want all that extra information from a combat log or your objectives. With the entire HUD opened up, the screen can feel a little cluttered, but overall, it’s not that bad. Graphically Forged of Blood is not a very demanding game and while it isn’t the most impressive looking game, it more than makes up for it with gameplay. The detail on the units is pretty minimalistic, and spell effects are okay. However, the cutscenes have a cool storyboard-like art style that I’m loving. Running the game at 1080p, I managed to hold a steady 60fps the entire time, never having a dip, or any slow down in my game using a GTX970.
The music in Forged of Blood is pretty much what you’d expect in a fantasy game, stringed instruments and drums. I do have a gripe with the game audio, and that is that every unit seems to make a clinking noise when they move, as though they were wearing heavy armour, even in spite of wearing light robes. The sounds made by weapons hitting shields, or the slash of steel on flesh, however, sounds satisfying to my ears, so hopefully, they can maybe do something about the clink clink clink of heavy armour walking.
Given the number of missions that pop up as you’re playing and the different options you can choose, I can see Forged of Blood having a lot of replay value. Also, taking into consideration how difficult the game is, I can see a lot of people getting quite a few hours of gameplay just trying to figure some stuff out by trial and error. Each campaign playthrough takes about 30-40 hours, and with 60+ possible ending combination, completionists will be playing Forged of Blood for a long time.
Forged of Blood is a very good Xcom-like game, using a lot of different new mechanics. Overall, I like the difficulty of the game, and the art style isn’t hard to look at, making for long sessions of “just one more turn”. A lot of the little things about it, really make it unique, from the spell crafting, to how you can level up using a classless system. The gameplay is very tough, but when you win, you have a feeling of satisfaction. I’m going to give Forged of Blood the Thumb Culture Gold award, as it may not appeal to a lot of people, but fans of tactical RPGs are going to love it.
Disclaimer: A key was given to complete this review.
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