Mage's Initiation




Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   Himalaya Studios

Publisher:    Himalaya Studios

Released:   January 30, 2019              

Requirements (minimum):


  • OS: Windows XP or higher 
  • Processor: Pentium or higher
  • Memory: 64 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 640x400 32-bit color, 700 MHz
  • DirectX: Version 8.0
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: All DirectX-compatible sound cards



By flotsam


Mage's Initiation

Himalaya Studios

If you are a fan of the Sierra questing type of games (Hero’s Quest/Quest for Glory perhaps being the best example), while there are imperfections it is hard to imagine you won’t find a lot to like here.

It isn’t a remake, so don’t expect one, but nor is it just a homage or inspired by. A replica is probably the best description, not one that I came up with but which fits well.

None of that matters of course if Sierra passed you by, and if it did, this a nice glimpse into one type of their output.

It is worth stating up front that there is combat, but it is also worth stating that much of it can be avoided. You can run away, or, as a result of a patch following feedback to the makers, slide the difficulty level to the easiest setting, which removes everything except the boss battles. It means you won’t get the booty dropped by vanquished foes, but makes it almost a “pure” adventure.

Whilst on combat, given you play as a Mage it is all about spells. No choosing warrior here and whacking opponents with a crowbar/sword/mega-mace. You start with two spells, one offensive and one defensive, and you can gain more as you go. I did find when played through on the easy setting that I didn’t need much more than the initial offensive spell, nor so far on the next setting, albeit the spell is utilised multiple times as fast as I can cast it. Using that spell also doesn’t drain mana, as every other spell does, so it almost begs that you do it that way. Boss battles required a bit more, but this aspect is a tad one dimensional, and therefore a little disappointing, at least at the levels on which I have played/am playing.

You play as D’Arc, a young man who has come of age and can now leave his training (and his life inside the Mage’s Tower) and become a fully fledged mage. Three trials lie before him, but before setting forth he must align with one of the four elements. The Masters in the Hallowed Hall will assist, but the choice will ultimately be yours. It primarily determines the types of spells you will learn through the game, and as a result, the way the various conundrums might be solved. I went forth as an Air mage.

Like an RPG, you can earn experience points, collect and sell items, drink healing and restorative potions, and enhance your statistics. It is RPG-lite though, so don’t worry that you won’t be able to sort through how to accumulate points or what to do with them. Doing the necessary things to move through the game will deliver points, and there are only a small number of attributes to increase, and doing so had limited impact at the levels I played at. Even increasing my health had little real impact, as it doesn’t regenerate other than with potions, and these are few to find and expensive to buy. I had limited health through most of the game, so increasing its capacity mattered little. Nor did it matter much, a product largely of the way the combat worked.

The autosaves before moments of possible peril helped as well.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy the fact that this side of the game was present. It added another layer to my 15 hours or so of playtime.

So too did the fetching and carrying. There was a lot of this, fetches within fetches even, so be prepared for some traipsing. D’Arc doesn’t hurry terribly well either, so it can take some time. You might want also to map some areas, being a little maze-like.

Be prepared to chat a lot as well. Numerous topics and a large number of characters mean there is much to say and hear. It provides detail, assistance and other things to do, and almost all of it is well voiced. D’Arc is unfortunately a mixed bag, being too stilted in his delivery, most notably in his musings.

An obvious highlight is the visual world, sumptuous and detailed. There is an intricacy in the design that belies its low res style, and I never tired of it, whether it be closed quarters inside or expansive areas outside. I wasn’t though a fan of the cut scene animation style, finding them comparatively grating, but they are limited. The music stays in the background, pleasant and never overwhelming, and there are quiet places as well.

You can choose between three different user interfaces to interact with the world, and movement is point and click, with WASD available in combat. Puzzles and conundrums abound, and I rarely thought it was unfair. You can tweak settings, including spell sparkles which will further assist. The inventory and the various settings are just a click away. Save at will, although as mentioned it autosaves when it should. D’arc will also tell you if you try to have him do something probably fatal (and you can make him do it anyway which can bring about a rather humorous result).

There appears to be much that isn’t compulsory and that remains to be experienced, and the different elemental alignment (and some voluntary activity that brings about) lends itself to playing through again. There are many reasons to come back, and despite some negatives I liked it a lot.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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