The Handler of Dragons Preview

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The Handler of Dragons is a 3D RPG game developed by Jerzy Calinski and published by Golden Eggs Studio. Currently in early access on steam, The Handler of Dragons will have to compete with the likes of Elder Scrolls and Dark Souls.

Quantity Over Quality, Right?

With titles such as Broken Blades, Magnus Failure, Thoefil and Ignatius all released within the last 2 years, Jerzy is pumping out games left right and centre. As these games currently have under 10 reviews each, could this title be the one to really catapult Jerzy into the limelight? Join me as I explore The Handler of Dragons and attempt to answer that very question.

Gameplay

Although linear structured, this RPG allows the player to make decisions that impact the world around them. For example, the dialogue system offers players a choice of paths during NPC interaction. Similar to the KOTOR system, these paths are often a choice of good, bad and neutral. However the story seemingly progresses in the same way regardless of what dialogue you choose, but it does affect slightly influence those around you. Within the first few minutes of gameplay we are given a choice – what to do with our first dragon scale. Do we return it to the dragon, freeing him and gaining an ally, or do we keep it for ourselves?

Gameplay is heavy on NPC interaction, which is primarily used to tell the story.

I wish I could say more about what these dragon scales do exactly, however from my playthrough I am left unsure. All I know is they are some form of control conduit for the dragons, and the further away a scale is from it’s dragon the stronger that dragon becomes. Thus giving dragons a dilemma – keep the scale close and lose strength, or keep the scale hidden and hope no one finds it?

Skill Trees

Typical of this genre, as you progress your character learns a host of new skills, magics and techniques through ‘leveling up’. Let’s take a look at some of the skill trees;

Basic in it’s current form, you can see here a spell tree of sorts

As you can probably assume from playing any RPG ever, you gain skill/attribute points per level up. Points can then be spent in exchange for new powers from the following trees; Ice, Fire, Casual, Elements and Combat. Alchemy also seems to be present, however it’s currently blank. I assume this is something the developer is working to implement.

Questing

Unfortunately, the quest system in The Handler of Dragons is clunky, uninspiring and somewhat lacking, with a combat system to match. I found myself locked into battles with no way of moving. Just wildly clicking the mouse hoping to land a hit before my enemy did. Weapon swings are often not aligned to the type of foe you’re facing, meaning death is sometimes the only way out of combat.

Graphics & Audio

Much like the combat and quest system, the dialogue is very raw and basic. It sounds almost like a google translator bot. This leads to some very unsatisfying and almost hilarious interactions between NPCs – probably not what the developer was aiming for. However, there is some nice background music and enemy sounds aren’t all too bad.

Unfortunately, I think the graphics are disappointingly outdated. Even on ultra, we’re still met with bare landscapes, low-resolution textures, wall clipping issues and much more. Visually the best part of the game are the dragons, which I have a suspicion are from some asset pack.

I wish I could show this spider from a different angle, but the locked on combat targeting won’t allow it.

Thankfully I had no framerate issues or game-breaking visual bugs, so it is at least playable.

Final Thoughts

Sadly, The Handler of Dragons does not live up to the expectations we’ve placed on this genre. Featuring an uninspiring world, a clunky combat system and some of the most hilarious voiceovers I’ve come across in an RPG, this title is definitely lacking. Hopefully, the developers can salvage something, perhaps dialing it back and creating a smaller, more polished game.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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