Like most RPGs, Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled
takes place in a world very different from our own, Bel Lenora. In this place, everyone can use magic, everyone that is except one villain some years ago. He was defeated, but he made the people believe that anyone who can't use magic is going to be as evil as he was. Unfortunately for our young hero Kairu, he was also born without the ability to use magic. Even though he was taken in by a very powerful and respected man, the Duke of Avery, he is still treated like an outcast by everyone else.
I really felt quite bad for Kairu, especially at the beginning of the game. His teachers, fellow students, even the maids in his own house are horribly rude to him due to his "condition" as they call it. Kairu has a long way to go to overcome the adversity of just being alive. Luckily, he is a very positive character who is determined to prove he's a good guy. Kairu's step-sister, Aurora, is also a wonderful companion for him. She treats him like he's a normal person and stands by him always. She's also quite a good fighter! As Kairu and Aurora go through the many places, Kairu will gain new allies. There are 8 total characters that you can play as. You can only have a certain amount of them in your party at once though, so you'll need to figure out who works best with who and when to use each of them.
The gameplay in Black Sigil reminds me very much of the original Suikoden games. You have a world map on your top screen. The villages/dungeons are marked on it. While wandering around the world map between these places, you will have random monster encounters. Actually, it is a relatively high rate of encounters. When you only have one character, they will seem to drag on due to the attack timer, but you can escape them if you want by holding down (B). Just be warned that you will most likely be attacked once before you get away. The battles are a timed turn basis. By that I mean that it does not alternate with you attacking once and the monsters attacking once. Instead, you have a timer. You attack when that timer is full. Until it fills up, you can't attack again. With only one character, it'll feel like you're standing around a lot, but once you get at least 2, it'll start to feel more like an action RPG.
You'll need to talk to all the various characters you meet to find out what they know. Some of them will be part of the main story and tell you where you need to go next. Some of them are part of side quests, however. These aren't necessary to do, but I think they make the game more fun. I never feel I've completed a game without doing all the side quests. Make sure to talk to everyone, sometimes more than once, just to find out where all you need to go. One thing though, make sure to remember what they say. Sometimes when they repeat it, they don't give you the exact same information. I got lost a few times because I forgot the full information and couldn't figure out where to go. A journal of quests, or at least important information like where to go next, would really have been helpful!