Review: A Bastard’s Tale (PS4)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV
Title: A Bastard’s Tale
Format: PSN (102.7 MB)
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: No Pest Production
Developer: Jens Kolhammar
Original MSRP: $4.99 (US), €5.99 (EU), £4.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

So let me start by saying the title of this game refers to a person born of unmarried parents, an illegitimate child. It is not in reference to the more distasteful connotation referring to a despicable and unpleasant person. At least that is what the developer probably said when it was put through certification.

Gameplay:
The knight you control plods along toward the right of the area at an agonizingly slow pace. Upon confronting a person or thing, he must block strikes and when an opening appears, strike back. Then he continues on the journey until another attacker blocks the path. That’s pretty much it.

After a few hits, the knight is dead and you have to restart. Some of the backgrounds may change but the amount of fun you have does not. You end up repeating the same thing over and over until you get it right. You trudge along the same path to fight the same enemies.

You can attack left, right, and up. To block you press the same button along with R2. This is not as precise as you would expect in a game of this nature and there have been many times where my knight did not block, instead he took a swing.

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A few times that unintended swing paid off and I killed the person but more often than not, the silly knight got hurt. Most enemies only need one hit to finish them off, at least in the early levels. One grey haired fool takes a single feeble swing and scarpers in the other direction. A block is all that is needed to fend off his pitchfork.

After some luck and practice, you will face the dark knight at the end of the first level. You can just about grab a health potion that lays yards in front of the walking enemy. A quick roll backward by pressing Cross and pushing back on the left stick should be enough to keep you out of harm’s way.

… endlessly walk and sometimes block, followed by some killing, and even more walking …
The dark knight will continually attack when you get close enough and so you must block and strike back between blows until one of you is dead. The dead one will usually be you until luck or sheer determination sees you into level two.

Then you do the same thing but with mostly different enemies. Each death sends you back to the start of the level and you repeat the same laborious process all over again, until you either succeed or learn to despise the infuriating game.

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If you get bored of the slow walking, occasional blocking, and killing, you can always play the other mode. It’s called The Endless Fighter and you’ll have to endlessly walk and sometimes block, followed by some killing, and even more walking.

Instead of a graceful transition to the next level in the endless mode, I was surprised to see it change as if I just altered the television channel. In mid-strike against three charging bulls, the entire scene flickered to the next area.

… it just compounds the irritation levels …
Your character, the slow walking knight, must have been a very naughty boy because even the cattle hate him. A few at a time will charge toward the shiny idiot and you will have to quickly attack.

If you miss, they plough into the knight, knocking him off balance and allowing any following to do the same without a chance of reprisal. Not only that, they run back the other way and do it all over again.

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Visuals:
The retro look of a bland and uninspired Atari ST game makes this one even more difficult than it should be. With the moves of the pixelated attackers hard to make out and the hit detection feeling less than perfect, it just compounds the irritation levels.

Audio:
A dull and monotonous tune plays in a never-ending loop. With no way of adjusting it so you can just hear the dreary sound effects, clashes of metal against wood, or sometimes metal against metal, you just have to mute the television or rip your ears off.

… painfully agonizing gameplay …
Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
From the childish and pointless name to the dull and painfully agonizing gameplay, I struggle to see why anyone would like this game. If you are after unapologetic punishment then you might find a slither of entertainment here. At least the price is fairly reasonable.

Score:
4.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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