WarTales has a long but promising road ahead of it.
Recently, mercenary management games are leaning towards the strategy side in tactical role-playing. Future strategy games are beginning to reflect the impact of the Mount and Blade series and Overhype Studios’ smash hit Battle Brothers. Shiro Games’ WarTales, another long and engaging game about the life of a mercenary, looks like it will join its core inspirations.
WarTales is an action-based tactical mercenary management game. It takes place in a low fantasy, medieval-inspired world. The game’s goal is to control a budding company of mercenaries by moving around a map, exploring new locations, learning crafting recipes, and engaging in tactical battles. Although the ultimate goal is to build a well-respected mercenary firm that will be remembered for many years, the actual game is unclear.
WarTales is the middle ground between Mount and Blade and Battle Brothers, the two main pillars of mercenary game design. It focuses on tactical combat and lethal action while the former focus. WarTales is known for its strategic flexibility and ability to interact with the outside world. This is done by the developers using a character profession system, moderate interactivity with quest givers and villagers, and a comprehensive crafting system.
The crafting system and professions allow the player to use their characters in activities other than combat. This includes crafting or harvesting minigames as well as using loot of different types to equip the company. Although the minigames aren’t very original and maybe too simple for some, the fact that the characters play a crucial role in developing the mercenary firm as a whole is a sign of how the game could grow. Selling is more than just fighting.
Although the interaction with the villagers and people of WarTales is not at the level of a full-blown role-playing game, it’s still enough to allow for simple binary choices that can help its reputation. This allows the player to make more moral choices about how they approach the development of their for-hire organization. While anyone’s decision may have a limited impact on the world, it is still promising to see a dynamic world.
WarTales’ most exciting aspects are its character progression system and the combat. All recruitable companions are assigned to a specific class. This is in contrast to the open approach to character development found in Skyrim and Battle Brothers. Players have unprecedented control over their characters and flexibility. Although this may seem more restrictive in character design and progression, there is still enough variety and depth to allow for experimentation and effective theorycrafting.
Combat is where character classes shine and the quality of the game can really shine. In my first two engagements, I was not impressed with the combat’s dynamic and flow. It seemed like low-level character classes had little to do but move forward and hit opponents harder than they were getting hit back.
As characters gained more skills and experience, combat became more interesting. The party had more to do, and each fight presented unique challenges. Combat is enjoyable, but combat can be improved by balancing and pacing throughout the game. This will make combat engaging and fun regardless of your character level.
WarTales has a lot of technical and presentation issues that can cause annoyance to the game’s fascinating elements. They have a lot of work ahead of them.
WarTales isn’t always stable. I had a few crashes with quest progression. There are also bugs in the game, such as characters who die in combat returning to their company but then losing function. This could also be because I took a prisoner during the same fight. The dead character might have been treated as the prisoner.
WarTales’ biggest problem from a presentation perspective is its lack of brightness and gamma control. This wouldn’t normally be a problem if WarTales’ world and art direction provided enough color and brightness to make it easy to read the map. The overall brightness of the game’s world and art direction can dim to the point where it becomes difficult to read text or dialogue when you enter locations, engage in activities, or interact with other people.
The gameplay experience is hampered by technical jankiness and graphic issues. These missing elements and systems hamper WarTales’ strategic map pacing and make exploration and company management more difficult than necessary.