Watch our review of The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes!
Check out our review of The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes (Das Schwarze Auge: Book of Heroes)! We’ll tell you everything you need to know before you play this adaptation of the popular German pen and paper RPG!
Hey how’s it going guys! Welcome to our review of The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes, available on PC for 1 to 4 players. We’ll tell you everything you need to know before you play, but before I do make sure to hit subscribe and the notification bell for reviews, interviews, features and more. You’re not gonna want to miss it.
Many people have been picking up Dungeons and Dragons and other pen and paper role playing games while in lockdown. Looking to escape to a fantastical world far away from our own depressing reality. And who can blame them?
But although D&D is synonymous with the format in most English speaking countries, it isn’t the only big player in the game. The Dark Eye is Germany’s most popular role playing game, dating back to 1984 and outselling D&D there ever since. Thematically it’s pretty similar, taking place in the magical realm of Arkania where you and your party have to explore dungeons, slay mighty beasts and get royally smashed in the local tavern!
The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes is the latest attempt to adapt the property into video games. Developed by Random Potion and published by Wild River Games, it promises to bring all the magic and freedom of the tabletop game to the digital world.
I’ll admit when it comes to The Dark Eye, I came into this experience from a perspective of almost complete ignorance, but I was excited to see how the game could introduce me to the universe. But is The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes any good? Watch on, to find out.
Arguably the biggest strength of Book of Heroes is the incredible world building and sense of immersion that the series is known for, and specifically how they build in necessary game mechanics in a holistic way. For example, the tutorial guides can be found in a bookcase in The Black Boar Tavern – which serves as the hub of your adventure, and you build your character traits through picking tarot cards. These might seem like pretty throwaway features, but these little details help keep you in the mindset of your character, a vital thing in any RPG.
It also does a great job of introducing you to the world without having to have an extensive knowledge of the franchise. As it’s you who forges your own adventure, if anything I found it more exciting to discover things for the very first time. Sure some of the monsters are a little generic (even I could’ve thought of something better than naming a lizard that looks like a dragon a Dragonlizard), but it’s still great to explore a truly new world where you have no idea what’s around the next corner.
With that being said, a lot of detail has gone into making an authentic adaptation of the original world. Assets have been painstakingly recreated from original drawings, making it feel like the real Arkania.
But as I said, like any good role playing game, you’re as much responsible for building and exploring the world as the game creators. You pick from one of 4 races: elves, half-elves, dwarves and humans, and from there you can pick your subclass, stats and appearance. The game is definitely more skewed towards action, but there’s plenty of ways to approach obstacles from a more peaceful or clandestine perspective too. You’ll have 8 storylines to choose from, with crafting, looting and teamwork all vital for your success.
One thing the game does that I really like is, much like the likes of D&D, each character has their own motivations and backstory, meaning you might not all agree on the best course of action to take. Instead, you’ll have to work together and negotiate to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone. Or just betray everyone and follow your own selfish heart, you do you.
What else is exciting is that Book of Heroes currently only takes place in the middle region of Arkania, meaning there’s plenty of potential to expand the world with updated regions in future.
With that being said, I personally didn’t have the best time playing it. The problem is much like almost any pen and paper RPG, it’s no fun with just one person. Playing it in the early hours of launch day, and with none of my friends stupid enought to play a game in the middle of the night, it suffered from the lack of comraderie. As you’re making the story, there’s not enough for you to bounce off of by yourself.
What’s more, the fact most of the maps are procedurally generated is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it offers a constant sense of the unknown and in theory limitless replayability. On the other hand it does give the distinct feeling that there isn’t much in the way of a grand narrative design. I can imagine this wouldn’t be an issue with a party of friends to explore and build your own story with, but if anything I wish there was perhaps a more structured solo player mode that gave you more scripted moments to riff off of.
To wrap up, The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes is one of the most faithful adaptations of a pen and paper RPG I’ve found in video games. It offers a truly immersive, customisable experience in a decadently rich world. My only word of advice – for God’s sake, play with other people. The solo mode is so limited by comparison, and really does the overall game a disservice.
Buy what did you think of The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe for more videos every single week. See you next time!
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