A kingdom torn asunder by rival claimants to the throne with lovers caught within the crossfire—it is a story as previous as, nicely, any variety of technique RPGs which can be flooding the Steam retailer pages today. Arcadian Atlas does not differentiate itself from its contemporaries at a look, however some uncooked writing and rapid-fire flip primarily based fight assist it stand out.
Arcadian Atlas offers you management of characters one by one as a substitute of the normal “give instructions to your complete workforce” turn-based construction, which is a large win for an impatient, overzealous commander equivalent to myself. There is a flip queue on the UI that plainly lays out who goes subsequent, and having a number of models stacked up in a row can find yourself being as a lot a possibility as it’s a menace. I actually dug how briskly fight felt, where a ranger moving into my cavalier’s menace vary may very well be instantly minimize down after shrugging off his piddly arrows. Arcadian Atlas’ fast tempo involves a crawl when attempting to skirmish round hills or cliff sides, nevertheless, that are a ache to navigate round with the mouse controls as a result of isometric perspective.
I used to be additionally confused by the flexibility to find out the dealing with of a personality as soon as you’ve got completed moving them, one thing which so far as I can inform partway by the game has no bearing on assault or protection. It actually seems like a missed alternative, not having a backstab system to go with the orientation move.
As soon as I discovered my models may get their spines cleaved in with out taking vital harm, I began enjoying far more aggressively. I had a variety of luck in utilizing assaults that may have an effect on two or three targets on the similar time, forcing the AI’s apothecary to choose one pleasant to heal after which instantly murdering whichever one it ignored. It is a enjoyable loop, and job specializations allow you to push that harm additional between missions. Get together composition has a freedom that I actually dug, too—for the primary 4 missions, I completely uncared for ranged models and stacked my occasion with potion-slinging apothecaries to preserve my cavaliers within the discipline, launching devastating decapitation assaults at enemy commanders earlier than mopping up the small fry with grenades.
One cool high quality of life function is the dearth of particular person XP, so the entire occasion ranges up collectively, leaving nobody behind. I can’t emphasize sufficient how a lot my OCD appreciates not having to emphasize over neglecting a category I dislike, perpetually leaving them underleveled.
The presentation, with some inevitable echoes of Remaining Fantasy Ways, I wasn’t completely offered on. It is clearly invoking parts of the Artwork Nouveau motion with its heat palette, filigree-laden menus, and blushing portraiture, however the aesthetic did not fairly land for me. Arcadian Atlas’s character portraits, which you will spend a variety of time observing over the course of its 70+ missions, hardly ever succeed at mimicking the lithographs they’re aiming for with garish costuming and awkward airbrush highlights. The pixel artwork is usually nice, however there’s often a purple haired elf in bikini armor that diminishes that Parisian storybook really feel.
The soundtrack, although, is an absolute house run, a melancholy association of jazz and downtempo orchestral items with an earworm of a saxophone. It is an impressed selection that instantly units Arcadian Atlas’s rating other than the blaring MIDI horn samples I am used to in so many different 2D pixel artwork video games.
I used to be additionally drawn in by the writing. Arcadian Atlas opens with a promise that “That is the story of Arcadia’s burning,” a tough as hell line backed up by a tutorial that sees you drawing a Royalist military right into a forest earlier than trapping them and setting it ablaze. See, Arcadia’s within the midst of an inheritance dispute between an unpopular queen accused of poisoning her husband to steal the throne and her obsessive, power-craven step-daughter, and also you comply with two lovers caught on opposing sides. The narrative right here is clearly Hamlet-inspired, rife with compelling melodrama and sharp dialogue that had me second-guessing the machinations of Arcadian Atlas’s energy hungry cast early on.
It is great things, and I believe anybody with an urge for food for the sort of narrative will discover themselves drawn in.
It nails the tone of an older SRPG, too—even comedian reduction characters like Poncho, a kickass raccoon with a crossbow, aren’t launched with schlocky, online-pilled “get a load of this” fashion writing. All of it imbues Arcadian Atlas with a way of authenticity that I actually got here away having fun with.
There are too many technique RPGs on the market vying on your time and a focus, no small ask given the usually huge scope of video games inside this style. Arcadian Atlas does not deliver something revolutionary to bear, however the fight, the story, and particularly the music all attain a excessive bar that make it price being attentive to.