Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark Review
Today we’ll look at a turn-based tactical game named Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a nice game made by just two people.
The game is inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics.
You start out with a few specific characters that are important to the story. Just like in FF Tactics, those characters have their own unique classes and you will complete the team by growing other non-story characters.
The class system is extremely flexible. It’s my favorite part of the game.
So the way it works is that each character has one main class, one subclass, four passives, and one counter. You select things from any unlocked class. The only exception is that two passives related to the main class are mandatory.
This allows for incredible possibilities.
For example, let’s say you want to play a barbarian. You select the Reaver as your main class; that’s a class that uses axes, aggressive melee skills and passives that increase its damage.
For the third passive, you select an Assassin passive that allows dual-wielding. You’ve now got one ax in each hand. And for the fourth passive, you select a Duelist passive that adds life stealing to normal attacks.
And then, you complete the character with the Counterattack counter so he attacks with both life-stealing axes when hit, and say Alchemystic for the subclass to cast buffs before getting in melee range.
That’s a pretty cool character.
Or maybe you’d prefer a ranger with a bow, that can regenerate and bite enemies if they get too close? Here’s a ranger werewolf.
There is an infinity of possibilities like that and I think if you like experimenting, you’re definitely going to love the way classes work in this game. You’re free to get really creative.
The game encourages you to experiment with many classes as mastering a class unlocks a permanent stats bonus that stays active.
For example, mastering this class gives a permanent 3 speed, 1% evasion, and 2% crit chance bonuses for the rest of the game.
If you like grinding and min-maxing your characters, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time mastering classes.
Next, we’ll talk about the turn-based tactical battles.
I thought the maps and the combat were well designed, but once I got about halfway through the story, the battles started to feel repetitive. In most of them, you start on one side, the enemy team starts on the opposite side and the story tends to repeat itself. The battles rarely feel unique.
There are exceptions of course.
This battle where the party starts completely surrounded forced me to rethink my team and to use characters that had been sitting on the bench for a very long time. I would have liked to see more unique encounters like that.
There is a gameplay element that forces you to mix things up and that I thought was very original and clever. Each time a character falls in battle, he receives an injury. Those injuries stack and lower your character stats.
Anadine is extremely strong at single target damage and I tend to bring her to all battles. But the only way to remove her injuries is to place her on the bench and use a replacement character for a few battles.
One injury is healed per battle a character doesn’t participate in. So you have to change your team composition from time to time and it is in your interest not to die too often.
Other than that, I quite enjoyed the gathering/crafting system. I also thought the visuals and music were very good. Finally, I didn’t find the story engaging but I think that might only be personal preference.
- + Very similar to Final Fantasy Tactics
- + Tons of classes, skills, and items that allow creative builds
- + Good variety of enemies and terrains
- - Story is a bit bland
- - Battles feel repetitive
- 7.5 / 10