And while Aidyn Chronicles
tries--it really does--it never quite gets off the ground, and the game ends up being way too tedious to really get into unless you absolutely must
play it through all the way. Even then, bugs and other irritations may drive you to distraction. Deep down there's a few neat ideas, but they're covered in so much cruft it's not really worth getting to them.
The story is actually quite solid, so I won't ruin it for you. It starts off as a simple 'rescue quest', as Alaron goes out into the woods to try and find a villager who has disappeared, and the king calls out pretty much everyone in existence to find Alaron. Of course, there is evil afoot, and soon enough the main character is poisoned and trying to find a cure. The story is actually quite intruiging, and may be enough to keep goading you on to play.
Like most RPGs, there are two major parts to the game. You wander around a gigantic world in full 3D, exploring, finding treasure, talking to NPCs, and in general interacting with the environment. When you get into a hostile encounter, the game kicks into a battle mode, where you control your characters separately and duke it out with the foes.
The exploratory mode is impressive in its scale--Aidyn Chronicles' world is undoubtedly one of the largest I've ever seen in a game like this. But everything feels so empty. There are houses with no one inside of them, hundreds of rooms of buildings that contain nothing but furniture (and sometimes not even that), and almost not enough hidden treasure to make it worth exploring. It's somewhat depressing, to be honest--it's obvious that H2O had some truly grand plans as to the level of immersivity of the game, but it just never gets there. There are some cool holdovers, however, such as the year-cycle of days and nights, complete with weather. This is the sort of thing games have been needing for a while.
The battle mode is another beast entirely. It uses a system very similar to that of Quest 64--a ring circles the current character, and they move within the ring and end their turn with attacking, casting a spell, using an item, or doing nothing. It's turn-based, a neat idea, and way, way too slow in execution. When the battles are one-on-one it's quite manageable, but when you get to the point where there are four on your side and just as many on the other, the battles take too much time to make it worth doing. The problem is that avoiding them is oftentimes impossible, due to the inability to see much of anything in the game until you're right on top of it. Argh.
There are some cool systems in the game--the experience model is nice, and the ability to train from masters at a reduced experience cost is a nice touch, reminiscent of computer RPGs. But when you have to spend hours wading through battles and exploring empty rooms, it's hard to get to the good bits.