2017 - TBD
Welcome to the island of Tanzia, a place considered uncultured by many, however the inhabitants here actually have quite the history of magic. In Tanzia, you play the role of a young shaman, a descendent of a great warrior of the Akazi people who vanquished evil and saved the world from the Skeleton King. I’m Weise, aka Thomas, and this is my first impressions review of Tanzia, a RPG by Arcanity inc coming to Steam in 2017.
The story of Tanzia, is you are a descendant of a mighty warrior who saved the island from the evil Skeleton King many years ago. Now that you’ve grown up, you must master the shaman ways of Arcanity, which is basically magical spells, to once again save the island from this evil skeleton king. With a team that has worked on titles such as EverQuest, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, Command and Conquer, and many other AAA games, I expected greatness, and honestly, I have to say the team has delivered thus far.
My version of the game is still in beta, and many things were placeholders or still need to be worked on, but what I saw was a great back story with lore, purpose, well-rounded characters, and some great voice acting during the cut-scenes.
Tanzia is very much an old-school style Action-RPG. You spend your time with quests running from one area to another, killing random mobs along the way to hit the counter of collecting x items from y mob, or talking to this NPC just to run back to the original NPC. It really reminded me of early-vanilla World of Warcraft, which was kind of nostalgic, but as a gamer I’ve kind of evolved my interests and personally, am a little tired of this style. This doesn’t mean that Tanzia is wrong or a bad game for doing this, but for me personally, I didn’t care for the amount of running around I had to do.
Tanzia does try to mitigate some of these issues though with a fast travel mechanic, speed potions, and frequent save areas. You can save at various totems that also allow you to heal and regenerate your mana. Unfortunately, the developers decided they did not want to allow you to regen any health or mana when you are away from a totem. This means you literally need to either run back to a totem every time you finish off a few enemies in combat, or you need to carry a LOT of mana and health potions.
I asked the developers about this choice and if they would be implementing passive regen, as we see in almost every other RPG, and they said they made the choice so that there is tension in venturing away from the save totems. Personally, I did not like this mechanic. It was a hassle for me to run back to a totem every time, though I can see what the vision of the developer was.
Really, outside of these things, the game plays like many other RPGs. You travel in a somewhat linear story-line with some side quests in each area. You kill the mob, collect the items, turn in the quests, gain XP and visit trainers to learn new spells, buy new gear, and restock your potions. There is a minimal crafting system to allow you to brew your own potions, and a socketing system to modify your gear. It was enjoyable, but again, for me I’ve evolved a little in this genre and the nostalgia wasn’t enough for me to completely love this style. However, this is my personal opinion and I know a lot of RPG fans will really enjoy the gameplay here.
Visually the game is beautiful. The graphics are not completely modern, but they remind me of an early World of Warcraft style with some comic-book influence. The cutscenes include some FANTASTIC artwork that I absolutely loved. The world is still a work in progress, but I found the water effects to be simply gorgeous, and when I casted any spell, the particle effects are beautiful and really were kind of fun as well.
I personally didn’t have any issue here with the graphics, the gameplay was smooth, and I never saw any stuttering or performance issues even while kiting multiple mobs to group them up for a giant fireball kill.
Moving into audio, the game has some great things going for it. Tanzia’s voice acting in the cutscenes is pretty spectacular. Something about it really spoke to me and felt real for the world and theme within the game, and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, as of the build I played there was no voice acting within the gameplay itself. The quest givers all have text dialogue, and some of it was quite lengthy to read. This isn’t really a big deal outside of me turning into a lazy gamer that is used to voice acting everywhere in larger titles, so don’t take it as a negative but more of a point of interest to discuss.
The soundtrack of the game is pleasant as well. As you move into each new area, a new background track will play and each have some uniqueness to them that really stood out to me. There was some time that I felt the audio died out, like maybe I was in an area too long and the track didn’t repeat, but this is an issue with the beta build and I was told the audio queues and triggers are not all fully implemented yet at this time.
When discussing replay-ability, I think it would be more fair in this case to discuss the length of time you can expect to play this game. Obviously, the game doesn’t have too wide of a player base yet since it is not complete, but the developers are expecting 8 to 10 hours of gameplay for the entire main questline, depending on how much you know about where to go and if you take your time with side quests and such.
The price is still to be determined, so I can’t speak too much on the value you get out of that gameplay, but I know as far as replay-ability, I think once I finish the storyline I’ll be done. From what I’ve seen so far, there isn’t anything specific that will have me come back to the game after I beat it, but I’d be curious to see if the developers add anything in the future to allow for multiple play-throughs or something like that.
Overall, Tanzia seems to be the typical Action-RPG. For me, as someone that is not as big of a fan of Action-RPG’s anymore as I used to be, I found some nostalgia in the title, but the stereotypical running from NPC to NPC for the various quest items was a tad tedious. The inability to regen mana or health unless you are in the aura of a totem was a pain point, though I understand the developers’ desire to cause you to be more cautious and feel the tension of engaging large groups without rest in between. The game was originally set to come out late 2016, but has been delayed to come out some time this year and I really hope there are some improvements in these few areas that I had concerns with.
Outside of those, the gameplay is smooth, the visuals are amazing, and the voice-acting (when present) is wonderful. I truly do think the team at Arcanity Inc is on the right track here and there will be an audience who will enjoy their game quite a bit. I’ve been Weise, aka Thomas, thanks again for watching my first impressions review of Tanzia.
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