Chronicles of Inotia: Legend of Feanor has been praised as a great RPG, but after playing it quite a bit, we have found little merit to these claims. If you can recall the review on The Quest we did recently, we thought that it struggled in graphics but excelled in role-playing gameplay. Well, Chronicles is the exact opposite, and we expected a little more in the way of depth.
Chronicles begins with an introduction cinematic that betrays its linear plot, involving a strapping blonde hero wielding a sword and shield fighting an evil dragon. As the game begins, it brings you to a character creation screen (which really is nothing more than a choice of difficulty between normal and hard) and then a roll for stats. You are Feanor the hero, and you have no choice in the matter. The only control you have over character customization is setting the four statistics, which are strength, dexterity, constitution, and agility. You can keep rolling until you chance upon unrealistically good stats.
The game begins as you spawn from the sky, and enter a town with no more explanation. One of the game’s most noticeable drawbacks is that it has a modest ‘˜help’ section at best, and a surprising amount of the game is left for you to puzzle out on your own. Even the stats are abbreviated, meaning only people familiar with this type of game can know that ‘˜CON’ means constitution from the start. This seems nothing but lazy to us, and we find it inexcusable for a developer charging this price.
The basic gameplay consists of tapping on the screen to carry out different actions, from moving to attacking, with the only icons being your skills, the potion icon, and your face with health and experience meters below it. The latter opens the menus, which gives you access to your status, item, skill, quest, and system menus. The item menu shows you your tiny knapsack, which only has nine spaces in it, but you can pick up another bag later in the game. The skill menu shows you the total of four skills you can have, not all of which are available at once, and their progression. The quest screen looks like it was put together in MS Word; it keeps your quests, but never updates them. System is just the usual stuff, except it lacks the ability to load a game, and the save option only allows for one save.
The game is played in a third-person perspective, allowing you to easily see the field of battle and the beautifully stylized graphics. The game world is comprised of separate fields connected by portals. Each field has a theme (e.g. elf forest, orc camp, etc.), as well as two portals–one to enter, one to exit.
The enemies spawn endlessly, which brings us to the combat system. To attack an enemy, you just tap the enemy and watch the battle commence, assuming the targeting doesn’t fail, as it is apt to. You have very little say in how the battle commences, because when you tap the enemy, Feanor just starts hacking away at it until someone dies. The four skill buttons enable special attacks, but otherwise you just have to steer him around the field and fight the endless spawning enemies, watching your experience rise and your health dwindle. Oh, and you just tap the potion icon to gain all of your life back miraculously. It’s very tedious.
As we said earlier, the game’s seriously lacking in role-playing features. There are merchants in tents spread across the world, but the only way you interact with them is to pick up and drop items on their carpet. According to the developer, different merchants come at different times, yet the problem is that there is no conceivable way of tracking time, nor is there any way to tell merchants apart from each other, which translates to randomly generated stock and prices.
Other than that, you can talk to people around the world (though we have found very few friendly NPCs) and possibly gain quests from them, even if they just involve hacking your way through more enemies than you can count to get a few items. For your part, you play a mostly mute character, coming out of your shell every once in a while to say one or two lines. A unique feature is the pet system, in which you have a pet who lives… in your stats menu, and gains experience from certain items you can pick up, and then levels and gives bonuses to your own stats. But the pet doesn’t fight alongside you, so it almost seems like a wasted feature.
All in all, we were very disappointed with this game. Chronicles puts on a great facade of being a promising RPG, but it is really a disconnected and tedious hack n’ slash, with graphics being its only saving grace. The role-playing isn’t thorough in the slightest, and while the price is much more palatable on sale at $4.99 than the usual $7.99, we still didn’t get our money’s worth. If you really like hack n’ slash gameplay, it might be worth a shot, but RPG fans should avoid it.