Tales of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Seasons of the Wolf strays even further from the visual novel path than Loren the Amazon Princess did and feels like a full-fledged role playing game. It still has great characters and an engrossing story, but you’ll be spending more time doing quests and less time romancing party members. Cranking up the difficulty setting also provides a much bigger challenge this time round. Since this game is not a sequel to Loren and only set in the same fantasy world you don’t need any prior knowledge to jump in and enjoy it. Don’t take our word for it though, check out the demo for yourself.

Gameplay: The game is more of a role playing title than a visual novel, but remains very engrossing.

Graphics: Beautiful artwork, varied locations and great character designs.

Sound: No speech, but some good music

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Tales of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf

Developer: Winter Wolves | Publisher: Winter Wolves | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / Adventure / RPG | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

With the release of Loren The Amazon Princess last year Winter Wolves proved that they are capable of more than just visual novels. While the game still played out in similar fashion to a VN the added role playing elements made a big difference. Tales of Aravorn: Seasons of the Wolf takes things a step further by increasing the role playing elements and toning down the visual novel side of things. While this might be disappointing to fans expecting the same style as Loren it definitely makes the game more appealing to role playing fans.

SOTW stars Shea and Althea, twin Snow Elves from the ice-shrouded village of Ninim. You can choose which one of the siblings is your primary character, but the other one will still be part of the story as one of your party members. Your main character can be a ranger, hunter or druid and you get to assign one of the remaining classes to the other sibling as well. Along the way you will encounter six other characters that get caught up in the story and join your party. The cast is not as large as the one in Loren and there are only four romance options (two for each character), but SOTW still managed to captivate me right to the end.

The game is spread across four distinct acts, each set during a different season and while things start off rather sedately in Ninim it doesn’t stay that way for long. I really enjoyed the story of SOTW and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I can say that it had fewer clichés than Loren and there are more than a few twists that caught me by surprise. Although set in the same world as Loren you don’t need to know anything about the Amazon princess and her adventures as there is no overlap in the story. The events in the first and second act in particular are very good with only the third act losing some focus. The final act also ended quicker than what I would have liked, but overall the story is really solid and I ended up completing every side quest just to learn more about the characters.

The visuals in SOTW are very similar to Loren, but boasts a couple of neat improvements. The most obvious new addition is the isometric tileset maps that allow you to travel between points of interest. These maps pack a lot of detail and really provide the game with a unique style that sets it further apart from the visual novel genre. The artwork for the characters is also very good and represent their personalities well despite there not being any animations in the game.

I really liked the fact that the characters actually wore different outfits depending on the season and their location. Overall the characters didn’t feel as memorable to me as the ones in Loren, but they are still very good.

The game features plenty of locations, ranging from snowy forests and scorching deserts all the way to the high seas. The background visuals, although regularly recycled for some locations, are fairly decent and there appeared to be a lot more of them than there was in Loren. You’ll encounter plenty of creatures to fight in SOTW and while I really liked some of their designs a few of them did look a little out of place to me because of the style in which they were drawn. While not bad, some of the enemy sprites just looked different from the regular character sprites which takes a while to get used to. It doesn’t detract from the game in any way, but it is rather noticeable.

I really liked the SOTW interface which feels like an improvement over Loren. Items such weapons and armor are the same as in Loren which makes sense as the game is set in the same fantasy world. However, there is more variety when it comes to item stats and the item distribution is also more random. Battles scenes have been altered and is now viewed from left to right instead of top to bottom as in Loren. You have two rows of up to three characters in battle which is played out in turn based fashion. The order of attack is displayed on the side of the screen which makes it easy to plan ahead and use the abilities of your party members to their fullest. The streamlined interface also makes it easy to compare equipment and you can immediately spot if an item is better than what you already have equipped. Everything in SOTW is mouse controlled and easy to navigate.

The SOTW soundtrack is very good and while I still prefer the music in Loren I was very impressed with most of the tracks in this game as well. There are a few occasions where the music would just stop instead of looping which leaves you playing in absolute silence which feels a bit weird the first few times it happens. In addition, there is still no voice acting, but since there is so much dialogue between characters this really isn’t an issue. I personally prefer reading over listening to voice actors in these types of games in any case as it is much faster, but I know that many folks prefer things the other way round. There are a couple of voice snippets that play during battles, but since you have so many encounters they do end up getting repetitive. The sound effects are decent, but not really outstanding in any way.

Despite the similarities between Loren and SOTW the gameplay is sufficiently different that it doesn’t feel like a rehash. I was worried that shifting the focus more towards role playing would detract from the story, but ended up just as engrossed as I was with Loren. This is mostly due to the interesting characters and story. The story is more about characters finding their place in the world and figuring out who to trust instead of some epic, world-saving adventure. Thanks to the quips and jokes between characters the game also has a very lighthearted atmosphere despite touching on some serous topics. When it comes to its fantasy setting SOTW is more “The Princess Bride” than “Game of Thrones” and there is nothing wrong with that.

It took me about twenty hours to complete SOTW and do all the quests, including the optional ones, but thanks to the different endings and achievements that actually require some work there is still some replay value. The final chapter felt a bit rushed, but everything still wrapped up nicely and overall I really enjoyed the game. If you are tired of all the “dark fantasy role playing games” and want something a little more lighthearted, then SOTW is a great choice. The good news is that there is a demo available from the Winter Wolves website, so give it a spin to see for yourself what the game has to offer.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX or OpenGL compatible card
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS 10.4
  • Processor: 1Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
  • Processor: 1 Ghz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space

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2 Comments

  1. RKRick January 17, 2015
    Reply

    Too rich for my blood, but will snag it when the price drops.

  2. Clegend94 January 17, 2015
    Reply

    Gotta say the price is also a bit steep for me but the game does look nice.

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