Story - 80%
Graphics - 73%
Audio - 65%
Gameplay - 80%
Replayability - 70%
Games like Fell seal and Final Fantasy Tactics are probably the closest I’ll ever get to playing tabletop RPG games.
I admire the customization options, strategy approaches, a vast array of characters and roles.
Tactical RPG’s are very accessible in the sense that, you can quickly learn what you need to do simply by playing, and Digital TRPG’s do that extremely well.
I Often found myself playing FS:AM Even via steam link on a tablet while I was in bed – Something you can’t do with a traditional tabletop game.
Playing Fell seal arbiters mark is very reminiscent of older TRPG’s Such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre, you know them extremely well but probably haven’t played in a while. Developed by the two-person studio, 6 Eyes Studio, the team clearly were inspired by TRPG classics like Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre when creating their latest game. While fell seal doesn’t go toe to toe with those absolute classics, the game definitely stands out amongst modern TRPG’s
FS:AM is the usual good vs evil fight, but with plot twists within that keeps it from being plain and predictable. Centuries ago, a brutal beast of destruction came into the land of Teora — wreaking havoc left and right. But then, a crew of seven heroes stepped in, defeated the beast, and thus became the first Immortals. Since trying to prevent another end-of-the-world catastrophe isn’t easy, the Immortals started the Council who are responsible for making sure mass destruction doesn’t happen, yet again. To help the Council out, the Immortals rely upon mortal agents known as Arbiters to maintain law and order, to protect the land from any danger, and to even take the spot of an Immortal that steps down. However, one Arbiter discovers that her very own group she loyally follows is changing… for the worst. This is where you come in as you take control of the do-gooder Arbiter, Kyrie. Kyrie, along with her fellow Arbiter friends, feel iffy about the latest Arbiter candidate to take on the Marked Pilgrimage to be the next Immortal. Due to their concerns, Kyrie and her crew decide to investigate the internal corruption happening within the Council in hopes to prevent the system and the world around them from being ruined.
The story itself is well-told and gripping in the sense of there’s never a moment that feels off or unnecessary.
The story constantly had my attention, and I kept wanting to see what happens along Kyrie’s Adventure. Continuing the story, FS:AM has a main cast of characters that consists of three characters: Kyrie, a loyal and honourable Arbiter, Reiner, a sly jokester Arbiter, and Anadine, an Arbiter apprentice that’s under the wing of Kyrie.
In the beginning, the characters don’t seem to have much of a deeper personality, rather one dimensional if I may, however saying this, the further I played the deeper into each of the characters you get and do start to take a liking to them. For anyone more interested in the characters and their development, there are optional side quests which do give you more of an in-depth look at the individual characters.
It is worth noting that FS:AM has no voice-over dialogue for any of the characters at all, all dialogue is text-based, this does make the game feel a little less immersive, FFTactics was the same way, of course, But, the text dialogue itself is very decent having deep and light-hearted/humoured conversations.
The main component of FS:AM that will ultimately draw new and players of TRPG’s alike, is the customization-friendly, and enjoyable gameplay it offers. In addition to the main cast of characters that need to be in your party, players can create and get customizable characters that fall under a specific class. There are a total of 30 classes in the game, from the knight class to a plague doctor class and even a few hidden ones like the Werewolf class.
What I found incredibly interesting though was the character creation options in FS:AM players could freely customize their characters with a wide variety of options from eye colour to hair to even their outfits and accessories. With regards to combat, the battles consist of defeating all of the enemy troops as player use their turns to make their way to strike each enemy down. Depending on a character’s stats, the character can move a certain number of spaces and attack or use abilities in specific ways which lead up to the player to make strategic decisions on the time and place to focus on attacking, defending, buffing, or healing for each turn.
Players only have a set number of items to use in battle, so they can’t rely on having 99+ potions to help them out, and there’s an injury system where if a character falls in battle, they suffer an injury that deals -10% hit to their stats that can only be recovered by not having the character in the next battle. The impressive level of strategy in FS:AM’s combat makes for engaging and enjoyable battles that’ll keep players on edge at all times. Victory in battles is dependent on a player’s skill and strategy which lead to players truly being invested and immersed in FS:AM. For players that truly want the best party imaginable, or need to simply level up, maps can be replayed so grinding through additional battles is an option. The only downfall with battles, however, is that players can’t rotate the camera at all.
Considering the fact that accessibility has been a hot topic lately in gaming FS:AM has variable difficulty settings. There’s the usual easy to very hard pre-sets we all know about, but players can also edit specific gameplay mechanics like enemy level scaling and even the injury system overall to truly get the experience that they want.
With regards to the graphics, it uses a hand-drawn art style for in-game graphics with pixelated Chibi style character designs and classical painting style portraits. The animations are good, the characters movements and actions are extremely stiff in general, but other animations, like the higher level spell animations, are incredibly well designed.
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a great nostalgic TRPG that fans of classic TRPGs, like Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre, will enjoy. With its extensive customization options and turn-based combat, anyone that enjoys TRPG’s or would like to get into them should definitely consider FE:AM.