Video games based on TV shows and movies are generally expected to be subpar so let's see how The Dark Crystal SRPG fares.
Right off the bat, allow me to say that I know nothing about The Dark Crystal film and I don't subscribe to Netflix. However, I'm a huge fan of SRPGs so I wanted to give The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics a try. Its opening hours actually left me feeling quite disappointed as it starts very slowly and only features basic battles. That being said, my disappointment gradually turned to delight as I unwrapped more of what it has to offer. So, if you decide to play it then keep in mind that it takes quite a while to open up and grow on you so don't expect it to be an immediately gratifying experience. Specifically, once you get past the opening hours and let it marinate, you'll discover a lot of variety and rewarding character customization options that the genre frequently fails to implement.
As far as I know, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics ties in with the streaming series of the same name minus the Tactics part. You play as a ragtag group of elf-like Gelflings and their chums on your quest to unite the clans and put an end to the dastardly Skeksis' reign. Of course, a lot of this went over my head but I did appreciate the writing and I enjoy the unique character designs. Speaking of which, the visuals are lovely complete with smooth animations and detailed battle maps. The music that plays throughout mostly consists of gentle orchestral arrangements that fit the dark fantasy vibe beautifully. On the other hand, I found the lack of in-game voice acting to be rather disappointing, especially considering the fact that this game is brought to you by the deep-pocketed Netflix itself.
The core gameplay in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is what you'd expect from a turn-based strategy RPG with grid battle maps. Whereas most games in the genre merely task you with taking out your opponents, I was impressed with how much variety there is here. For example, you may have to pull a bunch of levers or guide your party to a particular area to win. There are even battles that change the goal halfway through. Plus, the battle maps themselves feature a surprising amount of variety such as ones with hazardous terrain that you can push enemies onto, boulders that you can roll, and wind gusts that may harm your party if you're not careful.
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Speaking of variety, customizing your party is quite open-ended as it allows you to configure a wide variety of party builds which may help you get a leg up while facing off against particularly tough foes. Namely, changing characters' jobs and swapping out their abilities allows you to completely alter their play-style. Considering you get 14 playable characters to mess around with, you can set up an innumerable amount of party combinations. For example, placing a Stone Warden in front will help with defense while Trackers can deal ranged damage from behind and a carefully-placed Adept can offer some handy buffs to allies and debuffs to enemies. With 12 jobs total and the fact that you can assign secondary jobs to characters, you can spend a long time merely setting up your party in interesting ways.
On the downside, grinding in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics can get extremely tedious. First, the amount of currency that you receive from story battles is mere pennies while optional encounters will award you with a substantial chunk of change. The thing is, these optional battles are almost always dead easy so you simply have to go through the motions over and over again if you want to amass a wealth of pearls. It doesn't help that the equipment is super-expensive and basically necessary to make a strong party.
Its beginning hours may not be exciting but once things start to open up, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics becomes a fantastic SRPG that allows for a great deal of party customization and offers plenty of varied battle scenarios.
- + Solid SRPG gameplay with a fantastic amount of variety in its battles
- + Lovely graphics and orchestral music
- + Jobs and abilities allow for nifty builds
- - Takes a while to get interesting
- - No in-game voice acting
- - Grinding is tedious and lacks challenge