I am not one generally for dark, scary games … not at all really, but Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon is an interesting one that surprisingly keeps me wanting more. Tainted Grail is a new early access first-person RPG on Steam, developed by Questline and published by Awakened Realms. The game’s unique story and world has been created by bringing together the legends of King Arthur and Celtic mythology. It’s not all cupcakes and fairy dust like the traditional story of King Arthur … noooo … it’s more darkness, blood and death.
With a story along the same vein as King Arthur: Knight’s Tale, King Arthur is dead and has been for a long time. A plague is wreaking havoc across the land and spreading Wyrdness; which is a mysterious fog that deforms anything that encounter it. You as the player are rescued by a mysterious stranger who wants you to find out what is causing the lands and its people to fall into chaos; and kill the one who is behind it. There are multiple factions working against each other to take control and rule over all the people.
Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon is an open world RPG where you can explore at your own place around a very dark and evil land. It gives you quests to complete and glorious loot to turn you into a bigger badass. Also, the choices you make within the game will affect the story as you go along. You could make a choice to turn you into the hero or the destroyer of the land.
As with a lot of RPGs, you get to make your character into a unique tool of destruction. You can develop into a heavy armour tank that wields a mighty two-handed battle axe to slay your enemies, or you could focus on wearing light armour and throw spells at incoming enemies. As always, the choice is yours which is a great aspect of any game. Creating the character how you want and not off some pre-determined character that you may or may not connect with as you play through the game makes the experience so much more enjoyable.
There are several proficiencies that you can focus on such as sneak, alchemy, magic, evasion, one handed and handcrafting. Each can help you create a unique character build that suits your play style through the world of Avalon. In-game inventory is an easy enough system to manage. Clicking on a box will open a secondary pop-up screen that shows all the items you have collected for that category. You can also create different loadouts with different weapons and spells to use which is handy. As you go through the game you can loot pretty much anything that isn’t nailed down and stuff it into your backpack. I wouldn’t expect anything less in an RPG. But mind how much you put in as there are limits to how much you can pick up.
Combat is the one thing I find in this game to be a little underwhelming. It feels very awkward and unbalanced. You could swing at your enemy and say to yourself, “That’s a good hit”, but it does nothing. Then the enemy comes at you and tears half your health away. It doesn’t feel dynamic but more like you are fighting in quicksand. The AI needs work, and the battle animations seem a bit average compared to other games in its genre.
Currently there is a small part of the map to explore with one chapter of the story to work through. Developers say it’s about 10 – 15 hours of gameplay to get through at this stage. There will be further chapters and areas that will open as the developers progress through to get the game towards full release. Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon is currently in early access and does lack polish in certain areas. The developers have been open and upfront with that messaging so it’s not something that will blindside you when you get into the game.
So far from my experience in game there have been some great story elements that kept me interested in finding out more. The story and world created from twisting the two elements is fascinating. Where the game is now might not be at a standard that people will want to play and put the time into, but I feel as though this one will stand up as a quality game in the future once all its pieces are in place.