Half Action, Half RPG, Half-Baked!!!
Just recently had I taken a renewed interest in role playing games and I can't say I was welcomed warmly by Bethesda's newest Elder Scroll Legend, Battlespire. There were a few miniscule technical aspects of the production that weren't half-bad, but the rest of the game was plain and simply AWFUL! After all the hype about Daggerfall, I must say I was disappointed in such an inconsistent company. To my surprise, I soon learned Bethesda has had an interesting record of great titles and total flops. This game is definitely not one of the acclaimed titles.
Battlespire had very little to offer the gamer other than more action than a regular RPG. However, even the action was completely negated with a horrible semi-3D engine plagued by bugs, glitches and lots and lots of clipping errors.
Battlespire was meant to be the opposite of Daggerfall in many ways. Instead of having an endless number of options and adventures, Battlespire is stricly linear, concentrating on a certain area with a certain plot to follow. The theory was to make up for this lack of freedom with more action.
Unfortunately, Bethesda failed. Graphics are the worst aspect of the game. I know better than to say graphics are what make an RPG, however, this game combined role-playing with action, and it was a total disappointment of how poorly the game ran (even on my new PII 300). The graphics are VERY outdated and embarrassingly choppy (Duke Nukem looks 100 times better). Ultima Online is a 2D game, and is sill much better looking than Battlespire!
Sound effects and music are the only decent parts about this game (besides the female selection screen in the beginning) [Ed. Note: Pig!]. The music set the tone of the game well, and the effects were fitting to both the environment and the music. Even though these areas weren't half-bad, you can hardly appreciate them when most of the rest of the game bites.
As far as the character development and game dynamics, Battlespire does meet the standards of an average RPG. For the most part, the setup was similar to Daggerfall. The main difference between Battlespire and most other RPGs is its poor effort in trying to combine too much strategy and character development with too much action. The first few levels are extremely difficult especially since your character is so unskilled at the beginning, and you basically are left to start the level over 300 times until you finally orient yourself around the clumsy interface and huge pixels!
Since the graphics suck, the action isn't even nearly as satisfying as Quake 2 or Blood. I'm not saying it was a bad idea, but Bethesda's attempt was a failure mainly because of the graphics engine, lack of 3D support, and failure to make an easier interface to fight with! Had they given those three aspects better consideration before releasing this half-baked sequel, Battlespire would have had much more potential as an original combination title.
Unfortunately, this was not the case, and it shows. I think someone had too many bills to pay and they needed to get this one out on time. We know they're capable of better work.
The multi-player games were an even bigger disappointment. I thought the addition of different players would bring in more options and bigger adventures. Unfortunately, the only thing they have to offer is more action, and less RPG stuff! Battlespire essentially turns into a bad, cooperative, 1st person fighting game.
In conclusion... I wouldn't recommend Battlespire to anyone. Overall, the game is poorly produced and is in need of a complete reconstruction starting with the graphics engine! The beginning is frustrating and the action, unrewarding. My final word: if you want a REAL multiplayer role-playing game, buy Ultima Online, and if you want a good action game, buy Quake 2! If you're looking for a good combination of the two, keep looking.