Operencia: The Stolen Sun Review

Operencia: The Stolen Sun is a representative of a fairly rare genre of dungeon crawler with a first-person view. The dawn of this genre came in the mid-eighties with the series of games of ‘’Might and Magic’’ and ‘’Wizardry’’. There are almost no such games now. More precisely, this is the situation in the West. In the Asian region, on the contrary, there is a boom in such projects, even for the ‘’Wizardry’’ series, games from the Japanese were released relatively recently. But they have their own, Asian, and often Japanese specifics, with kawaii girls. From Western studios, decent projects of this level almost do not come out, the last was ‘’The Bard’s Tale IV’’, and before that the ‘’Legend of Grimrock’’ series.

The rest of the time in this genre is ruled by Asiatic and collected on the knee of India-projects. We can not say that all of them are bad, sometimes there are quite good ones among them. ‘’Operencia’’ belongs to the latter category. It can not be called a project from a big famous studio, as the same ‘’The Bard’s Tale IV’’. The game was developed by Zen Studios, best known for the pinball simulator series of the same name. But unlike other companies, it is not afraid to experiment and release unusual projects in different genres. Moreover, the game is not a supernova, in fact, it was released last year on Xbox One and PC, exclusively for the Epic Games store, and only a year later it reached other sites and platforms. Here you can thank players on PC and Xbox for the beta test, because since the original release of the game has significantly changed for the better.

The action takes place in the magical land of Operation, which was created by the developers based on the mythology of Central Europe. In the prologue, which is here and training, you will play for king Attila and his wife Rika. Together, they close the portal to the underworld and save the middle world — Operation — from being captured by hordes of dark creatures.

The prologue introduces you to the basics of the game, explains the key mechanics, including those used to solve various puzzles, and also shows the main technical problem – graphic. The floating resolution is very noticeable here, sometimes the picture becomes too blurry, especially in battles when you or your opponent use particularly colorful magic when playing in stationary mode. However, in portable mode, this feature is almost not observed, and in general, the game looks much nicer in it.

At the end of the prologue, you are given the opportunity to create your own character and start the game for your hero – so to speak, from a clean slate, to start a completely different story that takes place several decades after the portal is closed.

As mentioned above, ‘’Operencia: The Stolen Sun’’ is a typical dungeon crawler. You wander through the game world, gradually drawing a map. When creating a character, you can choose several difficulty settings. For example, you can disable automatic map building, or make sure that the fires that treat you and allow you to be saved are fewer. You look at the world from the first person. Despite the fact that the movement is carried out on the cells, the camera rotates freely, so that you can look not only forward, but also on the sides.

Unlike many similar projects, battles with enemies are not random. You can always see your opponents and if you want to avoid some battles, or vice versa, attack them from the back to get a minor bonus at the beginning of the battle.

The battles themselves are typical of the genre – they are step-by-step. Each of your characters will have their own turn, in which they can use different types of attacks or skills. Enemies, as expected, are located on two lines. To attack opponents on the second line, you will have to use long-range attacks, or magic. During the battle, you will get experience, which is used to upgrade your heroes. Each character has a fairly extensive development tree. Take a break from the battles and explore the dungeons in search of treasures, your group will be able to near the fires, which are scattered in large numbers throughout the levels. During this rest, you will be able to cure the fighters, buy equipment from a trader, chat with the heroes to learn their history, and prepare medicines – this is responsible for a separate mini-game, simple, but adds variety to the gameplay.

This gameplay, of course, will not be to everyone’s liking. If you are used to more dynamic and fast role – playing games, just those that are now filled with the market — you will be bored here. The gameplay is too measured, the battles are too slow, and the puzzles are too complex. The game is a typical representative of this slightly forgotten subgenre of role-playing games. Fans of the direction will be able to please with an interesting storyline, really well-made dungeons, an exciting atmosphere and an adequate balance between battles, puzzles and treasure hunting. Plus, the atmosphere of the world itself is very good – as mentioned above, the mythology of Central Europe, or rather Hungarian folklore, is taken as a basis here. It is very interesting to see how the developers used such insignificant elements from it and developed them into quite significant parts of the world.

In general, these small details that slip through the dialogues help the game a lot. A little spoils the impression of voice-over, some actors are frankly hacky, but this is compensated by a huge number of funny jokes and dialogues between the characters during the passage. In this regard, the game is very similar to ‘’The Bard’s Tale’’ series, which also had a very good atmosphere. The advantage is a fairly high-quality test localization, while it is worth noting that the language changes within the game, and you can switch to English at any time.

Various puzzles also add to the atmosphere and beauty of the world. They are not all complex, but they are diverse. Unlike many similar projects, the developers decided not to limit themselves to standard puzzles, such as «find the key» or «push the lever at the other end of the map.» You will have to use various tools, solve small mathematical and technical problems. So sometimes you will have to take a pencil and notepad to figure out how to solve a particular problem.

In graphic terms, there is not much to find fault with the game, except for the soap image during battles, which was mentioned at the very beginning. Otherwise, the game looks very good visually. All the enemies are perfectly animated and contain a lot of details. They are not just dummies who stand and wait – no, they move as if they are alive, attack differently, and react differently to your various attacks. All sorts of magic is also made colorful, especially mass, which illuminates the effects of the entire screen. In general, the battles here are quite meaty. And very often they require a tactical approach, when you need to take a pause, think, look, count, and only then continue the battle. This is especially true during battles against numerous bosses and mini-bosses.

As a result: ‘’Operencia: The Stolen Sun’’ is an example of a strong, good game that can give twenty or thirty pleasant hours. This is a good game that I fully recommend.

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13.7.2020