1428: Shadows over Silesia – Demo Impressions

1428: Shadows over Silesia is an indie top-down RPG made by the developer team KUBI games. Team, as in solo developer, but I’m not sure. Anyway, this demo that lasted about an hour was a true roller-coaster. It started great with a fantastic introduction to the setting, then my interest dipped when I was thrown into the linear world. But I stuck to it in hopes that it turns around, and the game suddenly popped back up into high excitement level when I reached the cave/dungeon. Man, it sure was a wild one-hour ride!

The story takes place in Bohemia in the medieval ages, and everyone that has played Kingdom Come: Deliverance will recognize a lot of names and places mentioned, even historical events, perhaps. In the demo, you play as a Hussite named Hynek, and the game starts right in the middle of the Silesian campaign. Your initial orders are to create general mischief and plunder, but here in the center of everything something weird happens, and the world suddenly turns very dark and mysterious.

Rats, we’re rats; we’re the rats

The gameplay consists of you riding on horseback, at least in the beginning, to extremely awkward controls. The game is also at this point very linear, which had me going from one area to the next to listen to exposition. And this is why my initial impression sank after the strong intro segment. The awful controls in combination with the weird camera system almost also had me quit out of frustration, but thankfully, when you are allowed to dismount your horse, walking turns into an easier affair. Combat also felt odd as hell in the beginning, again the fault of the camera. It felt like Exanima’s real-time combat system, but much more fiddly. Luckily, I stuck to it, and when I finally got to where the game shines – the caves, the combat turned out to be fun and challenging. And above all, the story becomes incredibly interesting.

Combat is extremely deadly, and facing off with more than one or two at the same time spells death. One cut takes a good chunk out of your health, and blocking seems to deplete your stamina very quickly. It seems, again like Exanima, avoidance is your best friend when in melee. After a few tries, I got the hang of it, and it turned into a really fun combat system. Fast, deadly, with a high deal of tension! Especially when you are faced with more than you can handle, and have to use the environment to survive.

Love the names

Graphically, it doesn’t look like much, very basic models with not much texturing, and I found the nature areas lacking, but once again, when I reached the cave system the graphics changed to something that worked well. The lighting system from torches looked very impressive and atmospheric, and darkness, at least on my monitor felt truly dark. A torch was required to see anything at all. It was great for the good old immersion, and at this point in the game the mystery was tightening, which together with the more open-ended exploration part of the demo I think came together wonderfully.

So, yeah, the cave/dungeon saved the demo for me. From being a bit disappointed to wish-listening the game on Steam in eager anticipation for the full release – which from the writing of this post is six weeks.

And not to forget, the music was pleasant too, and all the dialogues were voiced over, and I think the voices fit the characters well.

Thanks for reading.

/Thomas


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