Palace of Ice is the latest DLC for Solasta and is a direct follow-up to Crown of the Magister. I was kindly invited to play with a few of the game’s developers & publishers at Tactical Adventures. Solasta is their debut game and I was thrilled to be able to see their passion for it. The hour-long preview showcased 3 new regions with the return of the Soraks and new enemies demons & devils.
The new campaign comes to PC on May 25th, almost exactly two years after Crown of the Magister. Fans of the base game will undoubtedly enjoy the 25+ hours of this high fantasy non-linear story. I also had the pleasure of reviewing previous Solasta content which I’ve linked below.
Solasta: Palace of Ice – the cold never bothered me anyway
I’ve had a great time playing past Solasta content and I’m sure Palace of Ice will be no different. I and the rest of Thumb Culture would love to know what you think or are looking forward to. Leave a comment below as well as what you think of my experience previewing the DLC.
With a new threat brewing in Northern Solasta, your adventuring party travels there to defend the people there. However, not all of the citizens of the five clans welcome you with open arms. Palace of Ice sees you travel across frozen mountains, forest treetop cities and even the under-mountain region. A new aspect of the DLC is it’s non-linear with choices and alliances opening doors which means blocking off others. I found there was quite a bit of responsibility given to players, another example being cold weather affecting player characters mechanically unless prepared with items or spells.
To match the enemies upping the ante, player characters can now reach level 16 and all the levelling benefits that go with it. As with previous DLC, Palace of Ice brings lots of new content such as gnomes and tieflings as playable races, several new subclasses and numerous new items & abilities. You can import your characters from past campaigns or if you feeling making someone new you easily can get to level 10 with appropriate inventory etc.
Speaking to the developers, this was a conscious choice in balancing parties against tougher encounters while not having god-tier characters. An array of enemies, both familiar and not, means players will have to rely on thinking outside the box and working as a team. Online multiplayer was introduced in the Lost Valley DLC where synergy among the party is key. And if one person has extra content then it is available for all party members.
While speaking to the Tactical Adventures team, I learned community engagement and feedback were a major focus and brought new gameplay features to Solasta. Companion NPCs were made available to help aid the party in a tough encounter or perhaps to fill a gap in skill set e.g. needing a healer. Perhaps the most impressive content to be part of the Palace of Ice DLC is the expansion of the dungeon maker. It is much more expansive, potentially even to the level of building full campaigns along with the library of resources giving countless options to put parties through their paces.
Graphics & Audio
The visual and audio design of Solasta content has always been solid and Palace of Ice doesn’t disappoint there either. I played online multiplayer on high graphics settings and it ran smoothly, albeit with some slow loading times. The new environments are detailed and immersive and won’t disappoint fans of Solasta or Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated how well 5th ed D&D is incorporated into using 3D spaces, especially now with spells like Fly and Earthquake. Spells like Earthquake were really well done, both visually and mechanically, in depicting the in-game effects they have.
When it comes to audio, the environmental sounds and scores of Solasta and Palace of Ice are great. They go hand in hand with the visual design very well and the music really puts you into the high-fantasy epic experience. As well as the soundtrack and score, the sound effects from wildlife to casting spells all add to the immersive experience. However, the game’s facial animations and dialogue continue to feel wooden and disjointed. Those parts did take me out of the game a little but I still enjoyed the design overall.
Palace of Ice on its own is a 25+ hour campaign and so that alone will keep you busy. The non-linear and branching narrative means only by replaying will you experience everything. And that’s just single-player, playing online multiplayer will bring brand new experiences and fun with friends and strangers alike. Then there’s the dungeon maker which will bring many hours of building dungeons and seeing players navigate them. The base game has 132 Steam achievements and no doubt the DLC will bring many more for the achievement hunters out there.
I had a lot of fun playing this preview of the Palace of Ice DLC which barely scratched the surface. The non-linear campaign comes with new regions of Solasta and new dangers threaten the land. Not resting on their laurels, Tactical Adventures have kept bringing lots of content from new subclasses to spells to expanding the dungeon maker. Overall Palace of Ice looks and sounds fantastic with the exception of character portrayal and facial animations. The campaign brings many hours of content and replayability not to mention the extensive library of resources now in the dungeon maker. If the game is your cup of tea then you will certainly find your money’s worth here.
Palace of Ice comes out on May 25th to PC and I’m really excited to play more. I can’t wait to see what Tactical Adventures brings next. If you enjoyed my thoughts on the DLC let us know in the comments. I also reviewed Solasta: Crown of the Magister and the Lost Valley DLC available by clicking the link.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this preview.