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Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark finally, fantastically and tactically exits early acccess

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark may not be the greatest strategy RPG in the world (I’ve not played enough make that call), but developers 6 Eyes Studio have produced a fine tribute. Leaving early access today after an active year of tweaking, tuning and adding new missions, it’s a strategy RPG in the style of Final Fantasy Tactics, probably my favourite game in its genre. That means turn-based high-fantasy stabbery, looting and levelling, with a heavy focus on positioning, complex terrain and even more complex character builds. See the launch trailer below, or snag a demo here.

As with Final Fantasy Tactics, the game is a mostly-linear progression of tough scripted story missions, with a handful of lead characters backed up by user-created generic troops. If the loot and experience from following the main plot isn’t enough, you can go off the beaten path and do side-quests, potentially out-levelling the enemy with enough grinding. There’s a lot of room for expression, with over thirty classes and multiple builds for each. Seeing all those stats and options makes my brain itch at the min-maxing possibilities. Who remembers FFT’s number-abusing Calculator class?

One thing I am impressed with, from the few hours I’ve played, is the game’s granular difficulty settings. Rather than just pick from easy or hard modes, you have a handful of pre-sets and nine different sliders. Want more tactically complex enemies, but lower stats on them overall? Sure. No penalty for party members getting knocked out, but balanced out by enemies being more aggressive in their revival of their own team? That’s possible. You can even increase level scaling, if you want room to min-max and play with builds without outgrowing the missions. There’s a lot here I like the look of, and I’m hoping to find the time to dig deeper.

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is out now on Steam, Humble and GOG for £20.39/€21.24/$25.49. You can snag the free demo (recently updated) on Game Jolt here. It’s published by 1c Company.

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Dominic Tarason

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