The role-playing game franchise has existed for decades, spawning off pen-and-paper predecessors like Dungeons & Dragons. One of the most iconic series of the early RPG pioneers is Bard’s Tale, known for its variety of playable characters, innovative use of animated character portraits, and the first title to ever introduce the idea of the bard as a combat character. Over three decades later inXile has released The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep as an intended successor to the original series. With its devious dungeons, relentless puzzles, and hidden treasures The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep does an outstanding job of capturing what made the original Bard’s Tale such a captivating experience and here are five reasons that you should be playing it right now!
1: Creative and challenging puzzles: Each new area offers a different type of puzzle to solve, providing a variety of unique challenges. The game even comes with a printable code wheel that is used to interact with various shrines throughout the game. These shrines are scattered throughout the world and provide different rewards after using the code wheel to offer the right items. There are even artifact weapons with puzzles and riddles built into them, only unlocking their full potential once solved.
2: Variety of classes to play and a party of up to six members at once: With four different races, four base classes, and 21 different subclasses to choose from there are a huge number of ways to play through the game. Each character has a different voiced dialogue with one another, creating a memorable party regardless of the roster.
3: The combat is dynamic and engaging: The Bard’s Tale IV uses a turn-based combat on two 2×4 grids facing each other. The grid system provides opportunities to have both enemies and allies dance around the battlefield. There is no need for a cookie cutter build to best clear the game, as the combat is set up so that characters can provide opportunities for each other. The team of six really feels like a team working together and not just a bunch of people swinging weapons together.
4: A beautifully crafted world using vibrant scenery, a captivating Gaelic soundtrack, and over 350 fully-voiced characters all contribute to making the adventure feel truly epic: A great deal of love went into Bard’s Tale IV which is evident from the depth that went into making the game feel alive.
5: There is a plan for continued support and new Legacy mode: Many games struggle on their first couple days of release and Bard’s Tale IV was no exception to that. The difference is that inExile Entertainment has already enacted a roadmap and fixed several issues. There is still more ahead, but inExile has been very vocal about the community’s primary concerns and how they plan to address these. Patches have already been released fixing several issues that were discovered and more is on the way. One of these big changes is the addition of a Legacy mode which is intended to change the experience to be closer to that of the older Bard’s Tale titles.
6: The bonus sixth reason is one that will only make sense once you have started playing, but the biggest challenge Barrows Deep has to offer is finding out how to be good enough for the soup.