Imagine a world where magic exists. No, I am not referring to card tricks and mirrors, but one where the spells of the elements can be cast to help destroy the evil that lurks and attacks. A world where in order to become a Mage, you have to learn and be willing to be taught. Would you do what you could to help protect the one who is teaching and how far would you be willing to be tested in order to reach that next level? It’s always good to use your imagination. But does a place like this really exist and does Developer inXile Entertainment actually hold the key to the adventure that you may seek? Let’s find out with The Mage’s Tale for PlayStation VR.
The Mage’s Tale is first and foremost a dungeon crawler that puts you playing as an apprentice and witnesses the evilness and corrupted wizard Gaufroi kidnap your master, Mage Alguin. So that leaves just you and Crux to try and defeat the hordes of evil and try to rescue Mage Alguin.
One thing about Crux is even though he may seem to be bothered and annoyed by me, I believe down in my soul that he blames me for what has happened to Mage Alguin and now seems to be filled with this guilt that is eating him up inside that he has to help you or he may know what truly might become his fate. I cannot confirm this feeling I have, but there is just something that I can’t shake.
Now before you set off on your adventure, you will want to make sure that both of your Move controllers are fully charged. You see, The Mage’s Tale is not a typical journey you will be taken. You are the apprentice of the great Mage Alguin and if there is one thing about great Mages is they sometimes want to have their apprentices get their hands dirty with some spells.
Now, these are not just some spells you see, these are the elements and each element has its own unique feel and touch to the situation. You have fire where you can throw fireballs, you have Ice where you can throw an ice-like javelin and freeze the enemies, you have Electricity (which may be my favorite) that can send an electric shock and when you get multiple enemies nearby, it can be some real fun, and you have Wind, that can send enemy backward or depending on the height, can send them to the ground below.
But the sense of accomplishment would not feel like it should if everything was just automatically available. There will be times where you will need to go back to the workshop in order to do some crafting after collecting ingredients. Sure a simple press of a button could teleport us there, but what inXile Entertainment decided to do is make it where you have to hold your hands up in the air like you are in a church choir praying as you are singing and honestly, I love it.
There are quite a few puzzles here that are not too difficult but will require a little thinking and don’t give Crux a hard time. He means well and has some pretty good advice on what you or both of you should probably be doing next. And once you get to the next step and the rooms have this scale to really show your size in comparison really shows that is capable in Virtual Reality.
But of course moving around, being able to upgrade your abilities, crafting, discovering chests and health potions that you can drink while also trying to avoid some dangerous traps and trying to figure out the puzzles is great and all, but what I really enjoyed beside the discovery is the battle that The Mage’s Tale puts you in. And not just with an enemy or two, it’s when you have multiple enemies going on at the same time as they are attacking you from all angles with some with their swords and shields to others that may be shooting arrows at you from different directions that you need to move out of the way and dodge while trying to throw your spells. Just don’t forget to do what I did and that is remembering you do have shields that you can use to help protect yourself from the enemies around you.
Let’s talk about sound. From the moment you start The Mage’s Tale to throwing spells to even the loading of the next scene, you are immersed in these sounds that put into this world. The music that is selected has this Celtic tone and vibe that gets you in the mood for a journey. Arrows flying by your ears sound like you would expect. The fire gives you a sense that it’s around you and everything is just rounded with the 3D audio.
Let’s talk about the visuals. From the moment is first saw Mage Alguin to moving around in the dungeon, I could tell a lot of time and heart was put into the visuals. Some who may have a PS4 Pro may have hoped for a little more. But there is good news and that a patch is coming and if inXile Entertainment does with the patch what they did for the gameplay, sound, and already good visuals, I can only imagine what will come.
There are just a few things that I would love to see such as dual-wielding of the spells. Being able to have double electricity or even throw double fireballs would be awesome. I would also love to see future content to explore in. There is just something so immersive here that it really is a joy to be a part of. But when you add in everything, at least for me, The Mage’s Tale gives you the complete dungeon crawler adventure experience.
Part of the experience in life is the destination it leads you to. It can take us to some dead ends and it can make us face the unknown along the way, but if you still have that fire burning inside, that purpose to keep going on, and that passion in your heart, then maybe just maybe, the journey is well worth the travel.