The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes Review
The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes is based off the popular German tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) that’s akin to Dungeons & Dragons. I only recently learned about the series a few months back as it had just received an English translation in 2016 thanks to its successful Kickstarter campaign. Plus, I got the opportunity to review the Aventuria Almanac which led me head first into a rabbit hole into the world and lore of Aventuria.
I carried that excitement with me when I realized I was also going to review their newest digital addition to The Dark Eye family “The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes” a PC game available on Steam. Beginning with the character creation screen it was pretty basic by today’s standards, but I was not going to let that deter me as I was still able to create a dwarf wandering word. I also thought the character creation screen had a neat addition in that you had to pick your character’s backstory. This can be important throughout the game as Book of Heroes rewards you for playing your character the way they should be played. Since I picked a background as a mercenary the game would reward me with extra Ability Points (AP) after every mission for slaying a certain amount of enemies. Shortly after that, however, my excitement for the game slowly died as the repetitive nature of these kinds of games can get really grindy.
The Dark Eye: Book of Heroes plays very similarly to the plethora of RPG’s available today. Go to the notice board, pick your quest, click on the enemy, wait for your character to attack, see the result, rinse and repeat. The fact that it lacked an open world environment to explore was very disappointing and made me lose the immersion that I love to experience in video games. The map (among many things) felt especially clunky. I had to quit a mission because it felt like I was going in circles as there were little to no landmarks that stand out to give you a sense of direction as everything looks very generic. The attacks in general felt too slow and I think maybe speeding up the animations/timers may help the game feel slightly less grindy.
I will say that I loved being able to see your die rolls for every action you took. This little feature gave me the feeling that I was playing on a tabletop, but ultimately they were not very important to have on a game that auto-attacks and has the friendly AI units exploring and triggering battles on their own. I feel that a mechanic like this may have been better translated into a tactics turn-based system to give players more of a tabletop feel. Another feature I thought was unique was the “rest” mechanic. I liked being able to just rest instead of having to go through healing potions as most games have you do. Just make sure you try and rest near a campsite lest you don’t mind being attacked upon waking. The game is also slightly more fun to play in a group as everyone in control typically knows what they’re doing, so you don’t have to worry about managing other characters too much. Even so, it did little to add to the game’s replayability.
If you’re a fan of The Dark Eye RPG you may want to check this game out to see what little Easter eggs you may find scattered throughout the world and maybe bring a character you’ve created in your RPG sessions to life. Don’t forget to bring a friend as the game is a little more exciting when playing with people as opposed to the system’s AI. As mentioned Book of Heroes has some unique features that may merit a curious mind to play it, but ultimately it’s nothing new in a world inundated with RPG’s that have stood the test of time.
Final Score: 8/10