First, sorry for the delay. I am aware that this title is on the radar of several TBL followers. I had some hardcore weeks with tons of work and have some more pending, but now I have more free time, so I can dedicate the time that Solasta deserves for a preview.
The first time I saw something about Solasta was a coincidence, I was checking on the steam store for some turn-based RPGs, and Solasta’s demo was there. I installed it, I tried it, and I loved it, and since that moment the game has been on my list. When Marcello allowed me to review this title, I had zero doubts.
Solasta is an interesting D&D turn-based tactical RPG. I am not an expert on D&D, I played some tabletop games when I was younger, but my friends don’t like this stuff much. Regarding video games, I played some titles like Neverwinter Nightmares and Baldur’s Gate when I was younger, and they were some of my favorite games. Then more recently, I’ve played some games like Sword Coast: Legends, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, or Pillars of Eternity, among others. I think that we are at a better time to play this genre, thanks to the higher availability. After this nostalgic speech, let’s get to the topic, the things that Solasta has to offer.
In Solasta you can create your entire party. It is not a common feature in the current gaming era, but I love this option. You can develop your four characters, or use the prebuilt ones. At the start, you will choose their race and aspect. Then, his/her background, his/her class, and his/her abilities. You can even select their personality and behavior for determining situations. You can make them as unique as you like. Every race and class gives you some advantages. You can distribute your character’s stats too or let the dices decide for you. Also, when you level up, some classes learn specializations. For example, you can add magic attacks to your warrior or you can specialize your ranger on ranged attacks.
The battles in Solasta are turn-based. At the start of every fight, allies and enemies roll their dice, and the obtained values create the combat turn order. You have the classic grid to move your party, also you can cover them with different scenario elements. You can take two actions per turn unless you use some special commands which consume both. For example, when you move near an enemy, he will take an attack of opportunity (the same applies to your allies when the enemies move). You can avoid these attacks with the disengage command, but this command consumes the entire turn. There are other commands like raising your evasion for a turn, dash to move twice, or you can kick your enemies or scenario objects to push them. If you are in a high place and your enemy is on the edge of the precipice, you can kick him to cause him to fall, and he will receive some damage (as before, the same can happen to your party). You can push objects to make them fall, which can cause damage if there are units where they land.
In Solasta, the terrain is an important battle factor. Aside from what’s already been mentioned, you can surprise your enemies, which will make them lose their first turn. Also, the enemy can surprise your party. This will probably happen to you during the map journeys where you set camp every night, and the enemies love to attack you when you are sleeping. Some enemies will have the ability to fly or to hang from a place, stuff that you can do with the help of a mage. The scenario altitude has a role in battles as well. For example, if you put an archer at a higher elevation, he will cause higher damage. Like a good D&D game, the dices will have their influence. When you attack the enemy, or he attacks you, the dices will roll, determining how much damage you will cause. Sometimes the attacks will even fail. This is applicable for causing status ailments too. When an enemy dies, he will leave some loot behind, which you can pick up after finishing the battle. On this aspect, there is a curiosity too, as if you use hand axes you can throw them to the enemies, but you don’t lose them, they are recoverable as part of the loot.
All classes, but especially mages and clerics, have special skills that are usable a limited number of times. These skills include the powerful spells of mages and clerics, among others (other classes have skills with limited uses too). But don’t worry, they have the basic spells, the cantrips, which can be used infinitely. To recover other skills you will have to perform a long rest, available at some points of the dungeons and on the map (and of course in the city tavern). This limitation will be less when they level up, allowing them to use these skills more times.
Exploring the world of Solasta
Solasta starts in the tavern of Caer Flyen, where a group of adventurers is talking about some recent stories. These stories are the tutorial, which is very useful to start playing this title. After it, you will meet the council, the Principality government, and you will receive your first mission, but it won’t be as simple that it seems. The story goes great as you advance through it, you will see new events, missions, and unknowns to discover.
To move from the city to other places, you will use the map, where you can set at which speed do you want to do your journey: fast, normal, and slow. A faster journey will take fewer days and will consume fewer rations, you will need 4 per day, but don’t worry, you can buy enough at the city or obtain some as loot, but you will have a higher probability of suffering random encounters and being surprised by them. A slower journey is the opposite, it means less random encounters and the chance to surprise your enemies, but you will consume more rations. Normal is the equilibrium between both options. During the journey, you will have a journey log, which shows random actions of your characters. For example, my ranger obtained extra food rations from some trees, my warrior was sharpening her sword and my dwarf was playing the flute. You won’t see any of these options but it is a nice sensation to know that your party is alive during travel.
Travelling will cause fatigue in your party, which gives penalties. They will take a long rest every night by default if there are enough food rations, but if there aren’t, it will be a problem. This rest will restore the special skills uses employed in battle, so if you’re going to fight and then you are going to rest, you can attack with all your abilities because you will recover all your health and skill uses. During the dungeons’ exploration, you can perform two types of rests. The long rest, like on the map, but this is limited to determined points indicated with a bonfire (no, this is not Dark Souls) and the short rest, which you can take at any place without enemies, but it will be less effective than a long rest. However, it is a useful resource after a hard battle.
Exploring and battling in the different dungeons will reward you with loot. Among the common loot, like weapons or gold, you will obtain some special artifacts, which you can sell to different factions in the city. Every group has a shop, and as your relationship progresses, they will have a larger selection of available items and better prices. You can level up your relation with several factions at the same time. However, this system needs to be polished, and the devs confirmed that they will upgrade it.
What to expect
Solasta: Crown of the Magister looks very promising, and the devs are very active in the forums, where they listen to the community feedback. The next update announced at this moment is the winter patch, which includes:
- A new area and its set of quests, taking place after the Necromancy Main Quest
- The inclusion of the Scavenger System – no more lugging around all the junk you see lying around
- New combat features, such as hiding during combat and applying Poison onto your weapon
- More customization options in Character Creation, and a bit of plastic surgery on some faces
- Inventory and Shopping improvements
Then, in the long term, new campaigns will come. Nowadays, the only content available is the Crown of The Magister, and they are going to expand it. We will probably see a graphics upgrade, additional customization options for your party, and more. Also, the devs listen to the community feedback, so probably some changes will come from this way. The game shows a lot of potentials, and I enjoyed it a lot, so let’s see what the future holds.