SANDS OF SALZAAR
Sands of Salzaar attracts primarily with its concept: it mixes oriental flavor (the game is made in China, and the action takes place in the desert), a classic RPG with dialogues between partners and moral dilemmas, as well as strategic elements on the global map in the spirit of Mount & Blade – there are battles of entire armies, and the storming of cities. In words, it sounds, you see, seductive, but how is it implemented in practice?
To the desert with your cockroaches
First of all, we select the mode (story campaign or sandbox), as well as the main character or heroine. Five beauties and beauties are available (the art here is very nice, with a touch of anime, but quite elegant), and each with its own past and its own specialization.
The picture is not that very beautiful, but stylish and expressive.
There is a bounty hunter, a shaman, a knight, a witch and a spiritual mage (Spiritmancer). The latter is the easiest to play for – he starts the passage in the campaign with a skilled assassin partner and is able to learn almost all skills and talents. But, for example, a bounty hunter is not capable of magic, but he starts the game in the company of two brothers at once. The most difficult passage for the witch, relying on control over the enemies, and for the knight, who is generally on the run – every faction in the world of Sands of Salzaar has a warrant for his arrest, he is pursued from the very beginning, and he cannot calmly like the rest heroes visiting cities.
All as a choice.
Each character, as I said, has his own past behind him – a line of a personal quest is connected with this. For example, a shaman (or shaman), who travels with animals and is able to turn himself into a wolf, then into a spider, then into an eagle, is trying to remember his past, where he was the leader of the Black Legion and fought the curse that killed many of his associates. (or rather turned them into monsters). And the witch, who ran away from her teacher and was declared a traitor, wants to become the strongest of her kind and is looking for a worthy opponent.
You choose the name of the character yourself, so my eastern shaman from the desert turned into Katya.
In addition to personal stories, there is a storyline common to all, revolving around a catastrophic war for the world that happened in the past, and another threat in the present – it is about the invasion of fiery demons, ifrits, into this desert. There are important artifacts, dangerous rituals, ancient curses, runaway princesses, gates to another dimension, and everything that you yourself know very well from a bunch of similar stories. Nevertheless, many story quests turned out to be quite interesting – for example, you need to travel through flashbacks, see other characters as small, in childhood, experience shocks with them and even fight in memories. In addition, from time to time you have to make important decisions, and what kind of ending you get depends on your actions.
There is a lot of text here, but the Russian language is not yet supported. Although thanks for the intelligible English – not all Chinese games can boast of this.
Life is in full swing. In real time
However, in any case, the gameplay itself comes first in Sands of Salzaar. Its basis is the movement of the squad of the main character or heroine on the map, on which there are a lot of interesting things: cities, towns, mines, dungeons, bandit camps, monster lairs, merchants, and so on. Plus robbers, monsters, beasts, cultists, rebels who invariably ask you for money, quest characters, monoliths, ruins, statues where you can be blessed or tested by a boss fight. And, of course, all sorts of herbs, ore, wood and other resources are scattered everywhere.
It’s going to take a lot of travel around the world. Well, at least you can buy a horse, which increases the speed of movement.
And most importantly, life is in full swing on the map – at the same time with you, many other characters with their troops travel on it on business, including even local governors and sultans, caravans rush along the routes, representatives of certain factions fight each other, armies besiege cities where you are on a quest. At the bottom of the screen, you constantly see news about what is happening, who made up with whom or, on the contrary, became enemies, where new goods appeared, and so on.
And you can always join this life – try to rob a caravan, attack a detachment of a local merchant or join the battle, taking one of the sides.
Here we accidentally met the Sultan with his retinue. Attack?
Although you can just chat, find out news and rumors, ask for help or offer your own. In cities, you are allowed to hire warriors to your squad, trade, craft consumables, take part in fist fights, take a quest from a local leader. Finally, just visit the tavern, flirt with the waitress and have a drink, putting down for your entire army. You can also meet other heroes there and try to make friends with them by inviting them to your squad.