D&D General Solasta: Crown of the Magister Offers A Hidden Fifth Edition Computer Gem

solastacotm-goblins-fight.png

Seven years in, one would think there would be an official Fifth Edition video game by now.

There are plenty of ways to play D&D electronically, such as the upcoming Dark Alliance action brawler or mobile versions of classics like Baldur’s Gate. Computer versions have yet to completely scratch the itch of playing a game with a Dungeon Master who can react to unexpected plans and adjust storylines on the fly. But they can still tell great stories and help out the dry periods when you can’t get a group together for whatever logistical reason.

Solasta: Crown of the Magister seeks out the audience looking for a computer RPG that uses the 5e rules set to tell its story. Kickstarted in 2019, it recently came out of Early Steam access looking to hook people who love D&D 5e and either can’t get enough or can’t get any. They sent me a code to try out the game after I covered it for a previous article. And while there’s some rough stuff going on, the underlying experience was engaging.

The game uses the 5e OGL as the basis for its game engine. Anyone familiar with 5e will know how combat works and those who don’t will learn soon after an amusing tutorial level where members of your party are telling tales of their adventures about how they got to the tavern. Unfortunately, this also means the game is restricted to the content available in the OGL, which means six base classes and humans, elves, dwarves and halflings as character options. There are some unique choices like snow dwarves or marsh halflings, but the options are far more limited than the standard Player’s Handbook.

The game also is rough technically. The character models are not great up close, load times can be a bit long and there are occasional sound glitches. The voice acting ranges from bad to decent with everyone speaking in an accent best described as a solid Ren Faire English. An official D&D game would have a lot more polish in these areas and it can be a little distracting sometimes during cutscenes or other non-combat moments.

The combat, however, is great. Not only does it run on a smooth version of the 5e engine but the set piece battles offer great variety. There’s a vertical aspect to the dungeons that’s really stunning and it opens up encounters in a way that rarely happens in tabletop grid combats. The game encourages exploration and tactical thinking in a way that makes fights more dramatic than they would be with a more grind-focused setup. The game wants you to fly and rain down spells or find that rock that you can push down on some zombies. Dungeon Masters looking to make their home game battles more dynamic should take note.

Another dynamic element is the party construction. Rather than a main character and sidekicks, the dialogue choices come from the entire party. Their personality traits affect the choices but it’s fun talking with quest giving NPCs as a group rather than a main character. It made me feel a little like a film director choosing when my sarcastic fighter would say something or my noble paladin would step in to smooth over negotiations.

The game is also expanding. It plans on adding some classes as well as setting up a Dungeon Master mode where players can create and upload new campaigns beyond the first. As a nice touch the game offers notes on skill choices that won’t turn up often in the main campaign but might still be useful in future content.

Fans of 5e looking for battle action and a decent high fantasy storyline on their PC should check out Solasta: Crown of the Magister.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Rob Wieland

Rob Wieland


log in or register to remove this ad

Dausuul

Legend
I think Solasta is best described as 2021's Neverwinter Nights. The engine is great and its dungeon creator mode offers a lot of soon-to-be-tapped potential. However the campaign that's actually included with the game is a bit of an afterthought quality-wise, not "bad" but nowhere near what you'd be expecting if you're used to classics like BG2, Kingmaker, Pillars, etc.
Hmm. In that case I might buy it. Try it out, see how it plays, give the studio a little revenue so they can make 2022's "Shadows of Undrentide" and 2023's "Hordes of the Underdark." :)
 



GreyLord

Legend
I think it's a great game. It may not look like the latest Assassin's Creed, but I still find the graphics nice to look at.

I'm not sure about others experiences with it, but I have found that it doesn't have many bugs on my mid-grade gaming laptop (1060 Nvidia, 8 GB), though it may get buggy on lower end laptops or desktops (Intel chipsets, etc).

This game hews the closests to a 5e gaming experience one can get presently, far closer than any of the competitors games I've played.
 


Is it less buggy? Oh yeah, way less than 2077 was at launch. Is it pretty buggy and clunky and incomplete? Also yes.
People have unreasonable expectations. Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 where riddled with bugs at launch. Planescape: Torment even worse. A PC game is an incredibly complex piece of code, especially when you are using tools you didn't create yourself. Unless you have an army of full time paid beta testers (like Blizzard uses) there is no chance of finding them all before launch.
 
Last edited:

Azzy

KMF DM
People have unreasonable expectations. Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 where riddled with bugs at launch. Planescape: Torment even worse. A PC game is an incredibly complex piece of code, especially when you are using tools you didn't create yourself. Unless you have an army of full time paid beta testers (like Blizzard uses) there is no chance of finding them all before launch.
It's also worth noting that this is Tactical Adventures' freshman effort. Things can only get better from here.
 

My 5 year old somewhat gaming related laptop does have issues sometimes with the game. Im 6-7 hours in and enjoy it so far. No glaring issues that detract while I’m playing it. my 40 year old self isn’t as committed at playing for hours like my 20 year old self on Planescape and other RPG games from the time frame so it may take me a while before I get to the ending…maybe they will have some DLC by the time I get there!
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
Loved it, got a little uppity with the occasional bug (the only one that got me angry was sneakily starting a fight, finishing it, and then getting popped directly into dialogue with an NPC not on the screen beforehand), wish it was longer.

Absolutely going to email these people about...things.
 

Aaron L

Hero
I just might have to pick this up before long, but as for now I have been playing BattleTech basically non-stop almost every day since I got it and all the DLC content this past December. Good grief is that game fantastic, a dream come true for anyone who has wanted a good tabletop BattleTech experience on their computer. I just create random new merc companies all the time to try out different character combinations; I know it's basically just a wargame, but it has RPG elements with the MechWarrior skill progression and I always roleplay through it, making business decisions based on my character's background and House allegiance.

Federated Suns forever!
 

People have unreasonable expectations. Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 where riddled with bugs at launch. Planescape: Torment even worse. A PC game is an incredibly complex piece of code, especially when you are using tools you didn't create yourself. Unless you have an army of full time paid beta testers (like Blizzard uses) there is no chance of finding them all before launch.
No, "people" do not.

BG1/2 and PST are games from the late 1990s. This is 2021. Bugs are a hell of a lot easier to find - especially if you do early-access-ish stuff (but the systems for finding them are lightyears ahead of what they once were).

BG1/2 and PST were also nowhere near as buggy as quite a number of recent releases, and a lot of games that get released with serious bugs now, it's not that the devs don't know they're there, it's that they want to put the game out there and making money. That was the case with both Cyberpunk 2077 and Pathfinder: Kingmaker. The devs were extremely well away that they were riddled with bugs (and, 2077's case, hysterical glitches). With PF:KM the bugs were absolutely game-breaking (which was mostly not the case with 2077, though it did have a couple). PF:KM is the buggiest released game I've ever played in 35 years of gaming. I've literally played alphas which were 50x more stable and bug-free than PF:KM was on its 1.0 release.

Solasta isn't particularly horrific bug-wise. It's about average. I wouldn't put it as one of the primary problems with the game.

The primary problems are:

A) Half-finished or poorly implemented gameplay ideas get put centre-stage, like wall-walking monsters being big, but also not working right, or the entire largely-pointless faction system.

B) Incomplete set of classes and pretty random decisions on how to do subclasses which lead to some fairly odd balance (and really stuff Fighters).

C) Dull, linear, and uninvolving storyline (budget isn't a reason for this - low-budget games can be fantastic here) - combined with pretty dodgy voice acting (it'd be fairer to say it's incredibly variable - you'll just get the odd well-delivered line immediately followed by a completely clunky one). The dialogue also feels translated, and not perfectly so.

D) Extremely weak visual design (this has nothing to do with budget - far cheaper games have looked far better).

Despite that, it's not a terrible game or anything. It's just profoundly 7/10, in an era when even indies produce 9/10 CRPGs from time to time.

I am interested to see if they do well enough to do a sequel. If they do, and learn from their mistakes (which won't happen if fans insist mistakes aren't mistakes), maybe we'll see the same sort of improvement we did between Shadowrun Returns and Dragonfall and Hong Kong. Returns was pretty bad, like 6/10 on a good day. Dragonfall and Hong Kong were both either 9/10 or close to it.
 

This is 2021. Bugs are a hell of a lot easier to find
No, they aint. Tools have got better, but the code has become more complex, and the machines it is expected to run on more diverse.
especially if you do early-access-ish stuff
Early access is only as good at the number of people who sign up, and the number of hours they put in. It in no way substitutes for full time paid beta testers, which where way out of Solasta's budget range. Solasta did early access to raise the funds it needed to push it over the finish line, the amount of testing it generated was insignificant.
BG1/2 and PST were also nowhere near as buggy as quite a number of recent releases
Rose-tinted nostalgia spectacles. PST launched with a memory leak that would slow your computer to a halt if you played for more than about an hour. And that's even before the potentially game breaking quest bugs. It was pretty much on a par with Cyberpunk 2077 (on PC) - which is why the game made a loss, despite its fundamental awesomeness*.

* PST that is, even without the bugs Cyberpunk 2077 is nothing more than a reskin of Witcher 3 with less attractive scenery.
 
Last edited:

dalisprime

Explorer
Rose-tinted nostalgia spectacles. PST launched with a memory leak that would slow your computer to a halt if you played for more than about an hour. And that's even before the potentially game breaking quest bugs. It was pretty much on a par with Cyberpunk 2077 (on PC) - which is why the game made a loss, despite its fundamental awesomeness*.
Memory leaks were a pretty frequent bug in various pieces of software back in the day IIRC, that said I never ran into that particular issue with PST. Both BG and PST had a couple quest trigger bugs but nothing that I couldn't resolve by replaying a section of the game. Solasta is reportedly overheating people's hardware, has progress halting bugs AND loads of issues besides those. The infinity engine RPGs you mention were nowhere near as bad. The only game black isle released during that time that was as woefully unfinished was Lionheart and that's because they were literally forced to release it in unfinished state.
Solasta would have benefitted from a longer early access - it's not like the bug reports are scarce and the plot is just filled with dangling threads (a pretty big NPC foreshadowing their final engagement in incoming events only to never show up again, the aforementioned factions, etc.). There is zero justification for releasing it in the current state. The fact that a community made hotfix exists while the game is still being patched and developed (sorcerer DLC) speaks volumes about the game's state.
 

PST launched with a memory leak that would slow your computer to a halt if you played for more than about an hour.
Making ridiculous exaggerations up would work a lot better on someone who wasn't there at the time, mate lol. I played PST and never saw that issue, so it certainly wasn't widespread or maybe it just didn't do that to machines which weren't barely running it anyway. As @dalisprime notes, memory leaks had been routine issues since the mid-90s, and indeed continued to be in the '00s.
* PST that is, even without the bugs Cyberpunk 2077 is nothing more than a reskin of Witcher 3 with less attractive scenery.
Again, bizarro-world opinions that make zero sense and don't remotely reflect the game for better or worse, not helping your case given I've played Cyberpunk 2077. It shares very little with Witcher 3 beyond a largely superfluous open world and excessive production values.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Making ridiculous exaggerations up would work a lot better on someone who wasn't there at the time, mate lol. I played PST and never saw that issue, so it certainly wasn't widespread or maybe it just didn't do that to machines which weren't barely running it anyway. As @dalisprime notes, memory leaks had been routine issues since the mid-90s, and indeed continued to be in the '00s.

Again, bizarro-world opinions that make zero sense and don't remotely reflect the game for better or worse, not helping your case given I've played Cyberpunk 2077. It shares very little with Witcher 3 beyond a largely superfluous open world and excessive production values.
I don't have a problem with someone saying Solasta is a 7/10.

That's not a bad score. I'm good with it.

I think people have different opinions and different things they rate in different ways which make us value different things in games.

Sometimes it deals with the setups we have in running the games.

Take Cyberpunk for example. The BIGGEST bug they had was that they listed lower requirements for running it than it actually needed. This led to multiple problems on computers, and even worse on Playstation 4s and xbox ones. The game couldn't even RUN much of the time on what they said were the minimum to medium required specs for the game!

It had other bugs, but that was probably the worst that it had. A similar thing probably goes for other games as well, Solasta included.

I really actually haven't had any really bad bugs (or many bugs at all, in fact, almost none that I can recall) on my medium range gaming laptop. However, for other setups they may have difficulties (I also have a Radeon, so it's not that causing the problems either I don't believe, I think A LOT of the bugs pop up for those who are trying it at low specs though).

But, I don't think the bugs are that big of a factor for you either as you rated it a 7/10. I think it's more the story and characterizations as well as graphics if I understand right...and with what you've stated, 7/10 is pretty good score overall with all things considered.

My personal preference has it rated higher (but I think I valued different things in the game). A LOT of it is because of how it is so close to 5e rules, closer than the BG series was to D&D, or any of the infinity engines were to the D&D rules they ran. I love that you can see the rolls and the math follows closely to what we see with 5e. For me, that's fabulous and one BIG reason I love it so much. It's the closest thing you can get to D&D 5e on a computer without a group or tabletop. It's a different thing to value on my part than yours.

I think 7/10 is more than fair on your part though and I understand at least some of where you are coming from.

For example, I really wish there were more than 6 classes to choose from. I can live with the racial choices, though more would be nice (as it is based on the SRD, they could have included more, but making the character models for those races may have taken a lot more resources they could have spent elsewhere). I really want more classes though. If there's one BIG detractor, it probably would be that.

My personal choice would be to rate it as a 9/10 game right now...BUT that is because of personal favortism towards D&D and how this game runs it.

I'd say if one doesn't have the computer to run it (I'd suggest at least recommended and higher rather than the minimum specs) I'd say this WOULD be one they probably wouldn't want to get. I'd also say if they are looking for something that exactly mirrors 5e, this is not going to be what they want (and no CRPG has ever really mirrored D&D rules exactly, so that's a hard limit to match). If they are looking for a deep story line which has massive involvement, this may also not be their cup of tea. I agree with you, that the story is not the strongest of storylines I've ever played through in an RPG.

But I still love the game thus far.
 

J-H

Hero
What character level does it go up to?
Are the magic items and lore interesting and engaging (like Baldur's Gate II) or boring and all samey (like NWN)?
 

GreyLord

Legend
What character level does it go up to?
Are the magic items and lore interesting and engaging (like Baldur's Gate II) or boring and all samey (like NWN)?

I believe the max level at this time is 10th level.

I was not one that really paid much attention to the histories and writings of Magic Items in Baldur's Gate, but overall, Solasta has more generic Magic items from what I recall of the elaborate histories written up for some of the BG magic items.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
What character level does it go up to?
10th.

Are the magic items and lore interesting and engaging (like Baldur's Gate II) or boring and all samey (like NWN)?
Most magic items are straight from the SRD, but they do attach some lore to the original stuff. There is quite a bit of lore about the setting, its history, the races, etc. strewn throughout the game from character creation through actual play. How interesting or not it is is entirely subjective, but I'd venture to say that there are both parts that are engaging as well as parts that aren't so much. I'd say more, but some of it includes spoilers.
 

Haven't encountered many bugs, overheating, or other issues. I'm playing on a laptop. The only bug I've encountered which I couldn't solve with a quick save/reload is the summon monster bug, where they stay forever if you leave a map. But I've used this to decorate my fortress with spiders and crap. :cool:

The story is... functional. Just somewhere in the middle. It gives you justification to adventure into dark caverns, and some background fluff, but it's nothing awe inspiring. The main voice actors are pretty good. The NPCs can be hit or miss.

The camera is my big gripe. You can learn how to keep it from spazzing out, but I wish it didn't spazz out in the first place.

The comparison to Shadowrun Returns is right on the money. This is a good Proof of Concept, and I want to see more in the future.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top