A curse, an ancient city, a young and willing heroine involved in a story much larger than herself: these are the elements at the heart of Asterigo’s Curse of the Stars, the action role-playing game by Acme GamestudioChinese team in their first development experience.
However, the premise of Asterigos has been known since we made our attempt last week. Since we only had a small demo available at the time, we couldn’t delve much into what the game had to offer, but we ended up ending our adventure in the city of Aphes.
The final version allowed us to understand how much good and how much less sophistication this game that we remember will be available from October 11, 2022 for PC (via Steam), Xbox Series X | S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is available.
For all the details you just have to proceed to ours Review of Asterigo’s Curse of the Stars.
there story of Hilde, our protagonist, begins with being sent by the leader of the Northern Wind Legion, of which she is a member, to search for a team that has been missing for months. The final destination is Aphes, a city afflicted by a curse that has also struck the king of the Anbari Kingdom, of which the Legion is the elite guard.
there History of AphesHowever, it begins 1,000 years earlier because the curse has blocked the people of the city over time. Aphes is inspired by the city-states of ancient Greece, not only on a stylistic level with their temples and buildings, but also on a social level with a clear division between free men and slaves.
It’s not just a detail added to make the game world more believable, but one of the central themes of the adventure. In the game, the Asterigos is the curse around which the adventure revolves and which the characters want to break, but the central characters of the adventure will not only be able to talk about it freedom lost to this state of immortality, but also to the social freedom that Aphes does not grant to most of its residents.
Between magical speeches, rituals that turn people into monsters and mythological figures inspired by ancient Greece, the characters they will speak of salvation and independence. This includes, among other things, not only our allies, but also the antagonists, which throughout the adventure made it difficult for us to understand whether they were actually on the right side.
On average, to be honest, the writing quality isn’t always very high and some characters are a bit too basic, despite playing an important role in the adventure, but the two or three key characters for the story got enough care to keep the texture exciting to the end.
Even the game world It’s extremely neat and full of collectible narratives that tell subplots and reveal the backstory of Aphes. Accessing content like this takes a bit of dedication, as there’s a lot to read (more than we expected), but it can be worth it.
However, time is not just spent talking and quietly reading. Asterigo’s Curse of the Stars is an action role-playing game and primarily about fighting. As we told you in our tasting, Hilda has it all right away weapons (six in total) present in the game. He will only be able to get accessories that improve defense stats and, for the sake of the storyline, talismans that apply an element to our attacks. Weapons and elements can be upgraded with materials that are also useful for crafting the accessories mentioned above.
Always in conversation upgrades, Hilda has three stats (attack, life, power of special moves) and a series of skill trees linked to the different weapons she uses: the latter is the most important part for the development of the character. Abilities are divided into passive (which improve weapon abilities, sometimes changing available attacks as well) and active.
Hilda can use any abilities she unlocks even if she doesn’t have the attached weapon equipped. Do you use daggers but want to attack with a hammer skill? No problem. That expands the strategic opportunities and allows you to fight with the weapons we like the most and with any skill. In reality, however, it is difficult to complete more than two skill trees in the arc of the adventure, so you tend to prioritize those of the selected weapons in order to receive corresponding passive bonuses. Only by investing more time in leveling up and most importantly getting into the New Game + can you expand your skills and have a more versatile character.
In any case, abilities are powerful moves that can deal and create large amounts of damage Variety in the combat system. There are pure attack movements, but also skills that create temporary defenses, areas of influence that strengthen us, movements to stun enemies or maybe create gravity that attracts them. Different movements work well in combination.
Variety also comes from the base weapons. Each weapon has its own moves and perks, including a unique special move. Sword and shield allow you to parry damage, magical stirrup becomes a loaded sniper rifle, bracelets allow you to place mines, and so on. The combat system is particularly distinguished by these secondary skills, since the pure and simple melee combat is quite classic (not to say derivative). Attack, roll evasively, and flip enemies to gain positional advantages without too many surprises. Exploiting skills is therefore important not only to win more easily, but also to have more fun.
THE common enemies Unfortunately, they’re a bit simplistic in their attack routines and tend to be a little too slow to react early in combat, making them easy prey for our magic staff (our favorite weapon). On the contrary, the bosses are very interesting since they all have unique and fun mechanics that they can use to win. Another positive note is the design of the areas, all large and full of secondary sections and shortcuts to unlock: there isn’t that “connected world” depth of the best souls, but on average the areas are well done and often present some uniqueness of gameplay .
That combat system by Asterigos isn’t revolutionary, it’s just well made and it works. While the game takes limited inspiration from the world of souls, it also allows you to choose the level of difficulty: the normal level of difficulty is, in our opinion, perfectly balanced for such a demanding challenge that forces us not to attack with our heads down , but at the time itself never punitive.
With such difficulties and with very few deaths, we hired 20 hours and a little more to complete the plotby completing just a few side missions. The latter are perhaps the weakest element of the pack, since most of the time they require us to go back and forth to deliver items to secondary characters. We’ll be able to get rewards and learn more about the game world, but they’re pretty boring gameplay. Finally, to extend longevity, there’s a whole bunch of endgame bosses that unlock if you get there before the final fight. We can return to the game world to find and defeat them all. Considering that there is good reason for a second game, the longevity of Asterigos is more than excellent, even considering the cheap price.
As anticipated in advance, what we can confirm was a representative technical level of the last game, Asterigos features a simple cartoon style. The environments are varied, not always very detailed, but still pleasant. There are some limitations to loading points between maps with severe frame rate drops, but it’s just a moment in non-combat moments so you can get over it.
However, the English dubbing of the characters wasn’t always a feast for us, while the soundtrack sounds unimpressed. The game has all texts in Italian.
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