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The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut tries to puzzle it out again on August 27th

A strong encore performance?

Whatever your feelings on The Bard's Tale IV: Barrow's Deep (and opinions were all over the place), you can't deny that InXile's puzzle-heavy RPG could have used a couple more months in the oven. Probably for the best, then, that they're relaunching it next month. Due on August 27th (and as a free upgrade to anyone with the original release), the Director's Cut was once known as the v2.0 update, an overhaul that they've been teasing for a while, but seems to have grown beyond their original plans. Below, a trailer showing off the more polished (but still offbeat) puzzle RPG.

The Director's Cut version will add a new late-game chapter for high-level characters to flex on, and the rest of the game sounds bulked up a bit in most regards. They've done a lot of work on the UI, added more character creation options and added full gamepad support, which I think might fit the game nicely. InXile boast of "thousands of fixes and improvements". I believe them - they've done similar re-releases to this before. The Director's Cut version of Wasteland 2 was a significant improvement over the original, too. Personally, I just want more clever puzzle-dungeons.

While closer to its source than that rubbish 'comedy' hack n' slasher bearing the Bard's Tale name from 2004, the fourth game was still a distant cousin to the genre-defining RPGs that inspired it. With small-scale battles, an offbeat script and puzzle-heavy dungeons that felt a bit like a mix of Legend Of Grimrock meets The Witness, a lot of old-school fans ended up bouncing off the game. Still, it found some fans, even if it took a few patches until it found its own place. Perhaps with this new version launching on multiple platforms, it'll find an entirely new audience.

The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut launches across Steam, GOG and the Windows Store on August 27th, and will be a free upgrade for existing owners and £25/€35/$35 otherwise. It'll also be arriving on Microsoft's PC Game Pass subscription, so if you don't own it, that's one way to try it cheap. You can see a little more on its official page here.

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Dominic Tarason


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