E3 2019: Trials of Fire PreviewDon't miss this brand new spin on tactical RPG gameplay!06.25.19 - 1:29 PM
With terms like Roguelike, card-based, and tabletop haplessly tossed about the RPG genre, it can seem quite impossible to bring truly innovative or original concepts to the table. Where Trials of Fire stands apart is in its dedication to form and delivery. Through the passion of its developer, Whatboy Games, it's easy to see how this has become such a polished presentation which is intriguing in idea and execution.
As an Early Access title on Steam, Trials of Fire has maintained an outstanding review score, and upon further examination of what the game has on offer, it's not hard to understand why. While not story driven, the underlying concept behind this top-down, strategic, deck-building RPG delivers narrative and lore to those interested enough to delve deeper, while also presenting an opportunity for fans to experience their very own Dungeons & Dragons-inspired fantasy story; forging the words of their ever-changing quest on each line rather than living out the well-documented adventures of yore.
Card-based combat in Trials of Fire requires an intricate understanding of the game's mechanics, but it also remains simple enough to be accessible to players of all skill levels. Players consume cards from their hand to bolster their team, creating a balancing act of risk and reward which requires the utmost tactical precision. Evaluating each available action on the battlefield allows players to determine the usefulness of each card in their possession on a situational basis, which in turn drives these exciting clashes. Additionally, understanding the available skills and attacks of each class in your employ is absolutely necessary for escaping treacherous traps, bloody battles, and more.
Progression takes place both in battles and on the procedurally generated, tile-based overworld. The overworld map features fixed geography with randomly generated encounter and event spaces, which requires players to take careful stock of their constantly diminishing stamina, food supply, and ultimately the wellbeing of characters in the face of the constant threat of permadeath.
Stumbling upon illuminated event spaces while traversing the overworld map, players are presented with unique quest opportunities. The outcomes of these quests are randomly generated and can offer up tremendous rewards, or leave party members bruised and broken with detriment cards sneakily seated in the player's deck to prove it.
Party members evolve alongside the deck, with players given the opportunity to trade in old cards for new ones. Tweaking deck decisions can add stat boosts and more, offering laser-focused loadouts for agility and movement or packed full of powerful attack commands.
More than anything, Trials of Fire is about balance. Balancing decisions, cards, upgrades, and battle tactics will prove crucial to survival in this dark fantasy world crawling with dangers and death.