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The Chosen: Well of Souls

Score: 70%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Meridian4
Developer: Rebelmind
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

In my opinion, there simply aren't enough games like Diablo. One may come out every few years, but for fans of the genre there simply aren't enough. The Chosen: Well of Souls does a decent job of giving hack-n-slash fans what they want in a game, but at the same time, it makes a number of seemingly small mistakes that sink the experience.

Though you wouldn't know it by looking at the system requirements, The Chosen is a pretty game. The technical side isn't extraordinary by any means, yet it manages to keep pace with other games in the genre. This is primarily due to the game's artistic style - which is one of those areas I feel is always overlooked when it comes to visuals. The only downside to the whole experience is the camera work, which is an odd problem to have since the game is viewed mostly from an overhead view. Generally you can get a good, playable view, though it will sometimes get caught up on objects in the level or lag behind just enough to be noticeable.

Sound is not one of The Chosen's strong suits. Sound effects are decent and the soundtrack isn't all that bad. The voice acting, however, is bad enough to challenge the original Resident Evil. Both the writing and acting are incredibly stiff. The good part is that there isn't a whole lot of it during the game, though you will have to sit through the narrator at times.


The Chosen: Well of Souls begins with you choosing one of three classes: Warrior, Hunter or Monk. From here, you enter a world that is overrun by demons. After one of the night guards nearly kills you (by accident, of course), he takes you to the Society of Alchemists, a group that needs your help to stop the demons, werewolves and other horror staples that are helping to make life uncomfortable. They soon point you in the direction of a sorcerer who has taken control of the Well of Souls. It is your job to seal it up before things get worse.

The Chosen doesn't veer too far off the path of other hack-n-slash RPGs. After receiving your mission from the Society, you are whisked off to a far away land where you need to accomplish your mission. Along the way, you'll fight hordes of enemies while acquiring loot, gold and experience. There's nothing wrong with the core experience, though gameplay is hampered by one little problem - instant teleportation. Part of the fun of Diablo, or really any game of this type, is their frantic, hectic nature. While it doesn't sound like fun, having to decide on which loot to keep and which to drop adds something to the experience. Then there's the limited number of "Home" spells; do I use it now, or do I save it? In The Chosen, both of these decisions are almost completely removed thanks to the ability to teleport back to the Society whenever you want. This removes all sense of danger from the game and, as a result, much of the fun.

Another problematic area is the Cauldron of Creation, which is the game's way of letting your repair items or lessen the rather steep usage requirements. While I really liked this idea when I first encountered it, I grew to hate it. I really like the concept, but what should be an interesting, useful tool for players is really nothing more than a money sink. The service costs way too much, especially for what you get in return.


As I mentioned earlier, the instant teleportation mechanic absolutely kills any sense of challenge or danger. Unless you run out of money for potions (probably because you were suckered into using the Cauldron) and end up playing things really close, you shouldn't have too much of a problem. You are usually joined by one of two pets, the ranged Neferkar or tank-like Golem, who will help keep enemies at bay as you dispatch them, though you'll need to keep an eye on their health as well and keep plenty of resurrection spells in stock just in case they die - giving you another reason to hold on to your money.

Most areas contain small puzzle elements and boss fights, neither of which are particularly difficult. The solution to puzzles is generally pretty obvious and boss fights can usually be won by clicking away at the enemy and downing health potions.

Game Mechanics:

The underlying mechanics of The Chosen: Well of Souls are rather simple. You run around areas clicking on enemies to attack. You can also equip a spell to your other mouse button and use it as another attack. Beyond that - well, that's really about all there is. Your character earns experience with every kill, eventually resulting in them leveling up. Once a character earns a new level, they are awarded points to boost their stats and the opportunity to acquire new skills. You can have three skills active at any time, most of which offer passive bonuses like increased gold or loot. One of the flaws with the system is that there is little room for personal customization. On the surface, it looks like any other skill system, though things never shake out in quite the same way. There's almost a feeling that you have to gain certain skills rather than going with skills that suit your personal preferences.

One neat addition is the option of putting items on hold in shops. There is always the chance of an item that you can really use showing up in a shop at a price you simply can't afford. Since items are randomly generated, there is also a chance that they will disappear the next time you visit. If you happen to have a little cash on you when you see the item, you can make a down payment and put it on layaway.

The Chosen: Well of Souls isn't an entirely terrible game. I would be lying if I said I didn't have any fun with it. At the same time, there isn't anything remarkable about the game either. The core gameplay is passable, but the new additions simply don't work. The unfortunate aspect is that both could easily work with some relatively minor tweaks. Still, for $20, The Chosen: Well of Souls isn't that bad of a time-waster for fans of the genre.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista; Pentium III 1.4 GHz; DirectX compatible 3D accelerator card (64MB+ RAM); 256 MB RAM; 600 MB hard drive space; 4x CD-ROM; Mouse & Keyboard

Test System:

Windows Vista; 1.6 GHz Dual-Core processor; 2 Gig RAM; DVD drive; 120 GB HDD; GeForce Go7600

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