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Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark

Posted by GG Goblin On May - 20 - 2019

Tactical RPG goodness.

Tactical RPGs are no where near as plentiful as regular RPGs, so when one comes along, especially one that does as many things right as 6 Eyes Studio’s Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, it is a time for celebration.

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Okay, so the title may not be as memorable as some of the big hitters in the tactical RPG genre, but outside of this Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark starts doing things right from the very beginning, and this all starts with a surprisingly involving story.

Set in a fantasy world, law and order is provided by a council of almost immortal beings and their police force known as Arbiters. These guys are charged with wandering the world and keeping people in line. Under the council of immortals, the world has been peaceful for some time, but it seems that the Arbiters have become a little lazy. In the beginning, the player takes control of a small group of Arbiters who just so happen to witness an obnoxious noble killing someone in broad daylight. The group take the noble to the nearby town to face justice. However, this is not meant to be as a member of the council is standing down, giving rise to a pilgrimage of sorts by potential replacements. It just so happens that the obnoxious noble is one of those potential replacements, and as such is classed as being above the law.

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This all happens in the early moments of the game, and sets up the rest of what turns out to be a really interesting story. The writing here is brilliant, and will pull the player in surprisingly quickly. Much of this is down to the personalities of the various characters and how well built they are. The main characters all manage to grow as the game progresses, and even the side characters bring personality where needed. Above all, they feel realistic as much as they can in a fantasy game anyway.

Things keep on going right when it comes to the actual gameplay. The players will move their team across a large overworld map, moving from one node to the next. Most nodes will involve some kind of battle, and these nodes can be revisited further down the line for more random battles if the player needs to do some grinding. Occasionally, the player will land on a settlement node which can offer access to various buildings. Visiting the guild will allow the player to hire some more members for their team, and more on that in a minute. Of course, there are also stores where the player can buy or sell equipment.

Players start the game with a small team of standard classes, such as mercenary and scoundrel, and can quickly visit the guild to hire a magic user and healer. At the guild, players are able to hire as many extra characters as they can afford, and are able to increase their starting level for some additional coin. These characters are completely customisable, and players are able to choose classes from whatever they have unlocked. To start with, the choice is small, but new classes are unlocked steadily, resulting in quite a huge number of different job types for the characters. Their individuality increases when it comes to assigning them with secondary classes, allowing for all manner of different combinations, from a healing scoundrel to a magic user with a bow.

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As characters are involved in battles, they will be able to level up their different classes to unlock new abilities and become more powerful. From the team management screen, the player is able to access the characters ability trees and unlock the new skills. They can also from here change classes if they wish, and equip new weapons or equipment, which can be found during battles or bought from shops. There is also the chance to craft certain items using resources collected after battle.

Battles take place on isometric grid-covered maps, and are nicely varied. The battles take place across different levels, and there are features that make them more interesting, such as areas to climb, portals and even treasure chests to empty during battle. It’s all fairly straight forward, with each character taking their turn to move and act, be it using a skill, attacking with an equipped weapon, or using an item. There are also contextual commands that come up from time to time. No matter how many characters the player has in their team, they can only take a certain number into battle. When a character gets killed in battle, it is not the end as the character will be back and ready to fight next time, but they will suffer with an injury. The injured character will have to skip a battle in order to properly heal, so it is always worth having plenty of back up characters to step in while they heal. The battles can take quite a long time to complete, but are generally not too difficult.

Visually, Fell Seal has taken an interesting route. While varied and very nice looking, the sprites do feel as though they have come straight out of a mobile game. The environments are more impressive and give the game a certain character, but I am just not sold on the sprites. Not that this makes any difference to the quality of the game, just my own personal preference.

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Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is an outstanding tactical RPG that pretty much does everything right. The gameplay is enjoyable, the customisation is almost limitless, and the story is engaging. Fans of Final Fantasy Tactics and other such games should pick up Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark right now and bring some justice.




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