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  • Birthday:October 23,1987
  • Location: Argentina


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Last week I've talked about the recently launched free trial for Shroud of the Avatar, so I decided to try it out. Let me start by saying that this game isn't for everybody, but in a good way.

Since the main idea is to handle this product as the spiritual successor to Ultima and Ultima Online, the niche group of players will basically be the same. But let me tell you, they really accomplished that goal, because it feels exactly like those games, just with an updated engine.


The first thing you have to do is create your character. You have this wide array of noses and cheekbones to chose from, which I always considered a complete waste of time and resources since you're going to watch your character's ass all the time anyways. Although in SotA, every time you talk to someone or craft something, the camera faces you at a closer angle, so there are moments in which you can enjoy your ugly face.

This "100% customizable face" has become the norm in every MMORPG out there, yet this is the first time I actually consider it a nice feature. Weird.

So, after finishing your looks, the game begins. That's right, there are no classes to chose from, you just… start.

In the tutorial you get to chose your path, which follows a particular virtue, and basically means you'll get extra points in certain abilities. For example, the trial is limited to the Path of Love, which will give you starting points in archery and subterfuge skills.

Nevertheless, you can forget those skills and train others at any time, there are no restrictions on what you want to be: a merchant warrior, a bard who enjoys fishing and tailoring, a mage with healing and blacksmithing skills...

Your imagination is the limit, and that's what a sandbox game means.


The beauty of this game, and what makes it so unique, is that there is no handholding. Like, at all. You start in the middle of a burning town, and you have to escape. In your way you find some people that ask for your help, like a lost girl and a survivor that is also trying to flee, but there are no arrows to point your objective or anything like that. They're just all like "OMG LET'S GET OUT OF HERE" but they barely tell you where to go.

After finishing this part, you get some introduction story about you and your role in New Britannia, and land in a refugee camp. Now, you're free to do whatever you want. The NPCs don't have the usual exclamation mark above their heads, instead you have to talk to them and figure out their needs. That's right, you talk to people, in a very Ultima fashion: you can ask for a name, job, or help, among many other options which change depending on the person you're talking to. If you tell them "my name is x", they will greet you by your name in following conversations. Needless to say, it adds to a lot of immersion and, strangely, fun.

"Finally, the camp", the Avatar exclaimed, surrounded

by the menacing shadows of the night...

Another thing that is awesome, at least for me, is that some of the few quests that you can find aren't quite self-explanatory. For example, I found a guard alongside a river which asked me to found her missing partner, telling me that "he ran through the southern road". That's it, that's all the information I had, so I started to inspect the road with no success.

After a while I found a strange trail of blood which led into the mountains. A clue, maybe? I followed it until I reached the dead body of the guard, clutching a note with his hand. After reading it, I finally confirmed that the deceased was indeed the guard's partner, so I returned to her with the grim news. There was no fighting involved, no information, no arrows to point me the way… and it felt incredible.

Another example: during my travels, I ended up in a strange village assaulted by the undead. After taking down some of them, a bunch of cultists showed up. It was a hard battle, but eventually they were all dead. Suddenly the leader appeared and started to fight me, but he was no match for my power. It wasn't until he died that a new task showed up in my log, inviting me to talk to the captain of the guard to report her of my deed. So, in short: your usual "kill x monsters" quest showed up after I completed it, with no indication at all that existed in the first place.

While I still have a couple more things to talk about, I don't want to make this too long, so stay tuned for the conclusion of this article in the following days.

Shroud of the Avatar   sandbox   free trial  

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