The sweeping story of author Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga moved from fantasy novels to computer games in 1994 with the release of Betrayal at Krondor, a best-selling RPG from Sierra Online. Now the story continues with Return to Krondor, Betrayal's long-awaited sequel.
Set in Feist's world of Midkemia, Return to Krondor is the story of five adventurers: Squire James, a reformed thief; Jazhara, a Keshian sorceress; William ConDoin, son of the magician Pug; Brother Solon, a warrior-priest of Ishap and Kendaric, a reluctant wizard. You control the group in an effort to recover the legendary Tear of the Gods (a sacred relic of the Ishapian Church) before a band of ruthless pirates employed by a half-mad sorcerer can seize it for themselves.
The most notable difference between this sequel and its predecessor is the graphics. In Return to Krondor, the world of Midkemia and its inhabitants (more than 180 non-player characters) are beautifully rendered in true 3D with real-time lighting and incredible attention to detail. It's easily one of the most visually impressive computer RPGs I've ever seen.
Over the course of the game's 11 book-like chapters, you explore the dizzying heights of Krondor's Palace, the sewers beneath the city, a bizarre temple dedicated to a mysterious and ancient evil and much more. Unfortunately, that "much more," while impressive, is limited to a relatively small part of Midkemia which prevents you from ever feeling as though you're on a truly epic quest. It's more like an exciting side mission than a sweeping adventure.
That aside, the gameplay is excellent. There are enough variations in the spells, weapons and other supplies to keep experienced fans happy but not enough to overwhelm the newbie. Likewise, the turn-based combat system is easy to learn and enjoyable to play. And the twisting, turning plot offers plenty of exciting moments. There's also no need to be a Raymond Feist fan to enjoy the game. The story here is self-contained and enjoyable on its own merits.
One potential drawback is the surprisingly linear nature of the game. It's an advantage the first time through because it allows a tighter, more interesting storyline but, at the same time, limits its replay value. Once you've completed the quest, that's it. In a way, the game's a throwback to adventure games of old, sacrificing repeated playability for the experience of the here and now. It's like a good pulp novel that you read once, enjoy, then put away.
Return to Krondor doesn't raise the bar for RPGs or set a new standard for adventure yarns but it continually entertains and excites throughout its 11 chapters. And that alone is reason enough to give it a try.
Graphics: Easily one of the most visually impressive computer RPGs to date.
Sound: You'll never find less inspired voice acting.
Enjoyment: Classic RPG fare, well worth your time.
Replay Value: The plot's too linear to offer much replay value.
People who downloaded Return to Krondor have also downloaded:
Betrayal At Krondor, Betrayal in Antara, Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn, Realms of Arkania 3: Shadows over Riva, Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor, Icewind Dale, Seal of Evil
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