Ok, so there’s lots to love about The Mage’s Tale on PSVR. But no game is without flaws – there are some things that we didn’t like for sure. Let’s take a look.
1) The controls are frustrating
Oh my God, the controls! I cannot express how much they drove me crazy. The trouble starts right off the bat, as the game requires you to use 2 Move controllers. Yep, The Mage’s Tale is “one of those” PSVR games that forces you to use Sony’s irritating dedicated VR wand-controller thingies. Honestly, for many players this alone will be a deal-breaker and I cannot say I blame them. All the usual issues with the Move are present here, including imprecise detection which is a huge problem when you’re aiming your ranged fireballs at moving enemies. Turning is not smooth, and involves jerking awkwardly around by clicking your move in a nausea-inducing spin; you can pause and change the settings (which is great), but the game’s designers have added a feature whereby you have to drink a potion to do anything, like continue. It’s kinda cute at first, extremely irritating after that.
2) The visuals could be better
Ok, I said above that the production values in The Mage’s Tale are pretty great, and that includes the art direction. But honestly, the actual visuals – the surfaces, the details and so on – could use a bit of work. Move up close to a wall, or even another character, and you’ll see some crude, pixellated renderings that take you out of the immersive experience at times. And it’s no secret that the PSVR’s resolution is not among the industry leaders, with a screen door effect that takes away from the realism without a doubt. Heck, that technical compromise is why it’s so affordable, after all. As with any PSVR game, The Mage’s Tale requires you to ignore the finer visual flaws and focus on the bigger picture for full enjoyment. If you’re expecting a high-end graphical experience, the PSVR version of The Mage’s Tale might disappoint you.
3) It’s dark
Now, when I say it is dark, I don’t mean that it has serious, mature subject matter (if anything it feels like it was aimed at a younger audience). No, The Mage’s Tale is literally very dark – as in, it’s damn hard to see at times. I get it, you’re in a dungeon, or a magic cave, and you can’t expect to have full LED overhead lighting everywhere you go. But there were times where I couldn’t make out what I was looking at, and combined with the aforementioned lack of acuity, gameplay was hindered at times. Enemies that were far away were often just a small dark point ahead of me, and a lot of the environmental details were obscured by the oppressive darkness. This is one time where the developers might have sacrificed a bit of the immersive realism in favor of a more practical consideration – a few more torches on the walls would greatly help this game out.
Well, there you have it – those are the 3 things we loved about The Mage’s Tale, and the 3 things we definitely didn’t love. Make no mistake though, this is a great VR experience — a full, well-designed RPG that happens to be in full 360-degree, 3D format. There’s over 10 hours of fun in the campaign alone, and you get the Horde mode on top of that. Provided you have 2 PlayStation Move controllers, you’re in for a fantasy-themed treat!