Solasta Crown of the Magister is one of those games where you can safely lock the doors, windows and switch off your phone and dive deep into a fantasy world often better than our own.
Using the official Dungeons & Dragons ruleset (disclaimer: D&D is way over my head, so you’ll have to forgive me for bastardising it through my ignorance), this is a feature-rich game with plenty of side quests that’ll tickle your fancy.
In this Early Access model, there’s 10 hours gameplay, I guess if you follow the rules (not D&D) and steam through it. I savoured the experience, clocking in a few more hours than that – mostly because I didn’t understand all the mechanics.
Solasta Crown of the Magister Early Access Review
Like any good RPG, there’s a character selection screen, much like Baldur’s Gate 3, only you can create a complete team to play with, and Tactical Adventures encourages it. Having spent ages on my character, it made sense to use the computer-generated party.
As for me, I was able to create a race, skillset, class – all those sorts of attributes you would expect and more. There was quite a lot to read through and consider, but nothing overwhelming. The time spent was mostly juggling what kind of build to go for. I opted for a half-elf rogue.
When you’ve selected your party, you’ll switch to a little prologue of sorts where the team have assembled to meet someone who has a job for them. Before this, they had all been on their mini-adventure, and through flashback, and a pretty cheeky way to conduct a tutorial, you play each story, getting a teaser of skills and ability.
Solasta Crown of the Magister is a little bit on the swift side when it comes to combat, as although this was a tutorial, I was getting one-hit-kills both ways, and this continued through the game. Not that you need this pointer, but you can’t steam through this – strategy is paramount.
P-a-r-t-y – Coz I Gotta
After the ‘cast introduction’, you and your party head out to meet with the Legacy Council that has a job for you. Here you’ll get a little bit of lore and understand that this is going to be a game where factions play an essential role. Coincidentally, completing this short meeting triggers the level up system which can only be carried out at a rest point.
I’ll inevitably refer to Baldur’s Gate 3 quite a bit, since they are quite similar, and it’s fresh in my mind. Moving your party (and individuals) feels much more natural in Solasta Crown of the Magister. If you press tab, the camera will automatically follow the character highlighted – which is great when moving around large spaces.
Equally, the zoom function with the mouse wheel was something I regularly used in close quarters, and even when exploring interiors, the scene will slowly cut away so you can see behind objects. This makes navigation comfortable and being able to plan your attacks.
There are a few occasions where you might not be able to find a point of interest, but tinkering with camera angles and zooming will often reveal a path you may have overlooked. As for the character, inventory, spells and quest menus. , they’re all very clear, intuitive and in no way verbose for the sake of it, unlike me.
Strike A Pose(r)
There’s something about Solasta Crown of the Magister that feels very nostalgic – perhaps some of the older Baldur’s Gate adventures or similar. The menus and UI displays a lot of information, but it’s never intrusive, and dare I say, I felt it held the advantage over Baldur’s Gate 3 for a better experience.
The gameplay and story are all engaging and the quests apt for your level and all. There’s a variety of play styles available based on class, race, and the interactions you can have – which I would assume will be different for everybody as the options feel limitless.
My ‘beef’ with the game is it felt a little dated in the presentation. Perhaps appealing to a particular niche in my comparison, the character models reminded me of the software Poser. They felt quite generic and the animation on their faces a little archaic. By no means does it break the game, but it does break the escapism now and again.
The rest of the world, environments and lighting effects are excellent. I whacked up my settings to embrace it and was not disappointed, though my current setup meant that it was sputtering like an asthmatic ant, dropping the settings down were still great. It was just the models I didn’t particularly like.
Slave To The Realm
With the excellent soundtrack and landscapes that are begging to be explored Solasta Crown of the Magister is a dangerous game as it’s so easy to deep dive with it. I’ve never played a D&D or Games Workshop type game in my life, but if this is the experience, I can understand the appeal.
Currently in Early Access, there will bound to be some areas needing ironing out. Other than the character models (and the occasional voice acting) being a bit naff in places, that’s down to my preference and not a slur on this current build.
As it stands, I’d definitely recommend Solasta Crown of the Magister if RPG’s are your thing and you also have a bit of Pentium 2 heritage, as this is a nice little flashback to the 90s style adventures, only with a lot more polish and opportunities for a custom adventure.
Go to the Steam page for more details to get the Early Access or add to your wishlist, when you’re looking to free up some time to play.