Masquerada: Songs and Shadows (Xbox One) Review

By Izzy Lichi 31.08.2017

Review for Masquerada: Songs and Shadows on Xbox One

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a real-time strategy RPG where magic, blades, and masks come as a trinity of elegance. A vibrant story filled with charming and threatening characters that will join and challenge a twenty-hour story of lore packed with European influential locations. While filled with reading and world building, something is surely missing from Masquerada: Songs and Shadows.

Protagonist Cicero Gavar finds his way back home to the city of Ombre, where he must solve a local case of people that have gone missing. Not long after he begins, Ciero will find himself getting involved with the worst nightmares resulted by dark politics. As the story progresses, It becomes very noticeable how incredibly deep the lore is. Every screen that is traversed has "lore spots" that can be investigated and will follow nearly a full page of information about towns, jobs in the city, rumours, or even stories about a particular individual.

Exploring however, is a sad man's hope. Not much can ever be found, as an inventory system is completely absent from the game. Loot is completely non-existent, and seldom will there be battles aside from scripted events. Linearity is the very word that torments Masquerada: Songs and Shadows, but not just in story progression - in combat progression, as well.

Screenshot for Masquerada: Songs and Shadows on Xbox One

Combat is an enjoyable feature… when it actually happens. While most of the combat is done through holding down a button to perform auto attacks, special skills commonly involve placement and careful planning. Some battles can appear overwhelming when squads of foes fill the screen, causing an all-out skirmish with the heroes, but keeping a calm focus and utilising skills to their full potential will always guarantee an otherwise swift victory.

Switching between characters in combat is very useful, as well, when needing to decide when their special abilities can be used at their optimum opportunities. Although not too crucial, it is still fun to see a carefully planned combat strategy come to fruition. Sadly, combat can become completely trivial by simply sliding down the difficulty at any given time in the game's options menu, eliminating any hope of enjoying a combat-fulfilling experience.

Without a doubt, Masquerada: Songs and Shadows' strongest asset is the voice acting. Absolutely stellar performances from not just the hero, but nonessential characters and essential ones alike. The visuals, as well, hold a very strong presence from start to finish; during combat, all actions are very well animated, and not once will there be clipping or glitching. Incredible work was applied in the performance and presentation, while clearly the overall experience of the gameplay was the trade-off.

Screenshot for Masquerada: Songs and Shadows on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows doubles down hard on building a world of enlightening lore, but forgets to do the same for the combat and gameplay, giving the game more of a visual novel impression, which will leave a lot of players wanting if not a fan of the mentioned niche genre. While the combat system itself is far from disappointing, item drops or a more in-depth system of building heroes' combat capability would have greatly benefited the game's non-storytelling-related content, or lack thereof. The linearity of the adventure really feels noticeable and begs to be somewhat more open-ended to allow the wonderfully voice-acted characters to breathe in the very deep lore that is found in nearly every corner of the beautifully crafted visuals.

Developer

Witching Hour

Publisher

Ysbryd

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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