REVIEW : Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards (PC)
It’s no secret that isometric action RPGs are a popular game genre. Many gamers and contemporary developers have devoted countless hours to the category’s king, Diablo; therefore, the appearance of new games inspired by this should come as no surprise. Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is Digiart Interactive’s debut release. It attempts to provide us with a similar experience in an original world, that of the 16th century and the South American Inca and conquistadores.
The game begins with a reasonably detailed plot. Aluna, the heroine we’ll be tackling, is a young woman. Aluna is a demigod, the child of Pachamama, the Earth Goddess, and a Spaniard who came to the New World. When Aluna was a youngster, the forces of Evil assaulted her, and Pachamama sacrificed herself to defend her, causing her magical amulet to shatter.
Aluna has one of these parts, and as a result, her strength and overall combat ability have grown. However, when an ancient evil threatens the world and seeks the remaining pieces, Aluna takes action. The game does not contain side quests, but all of the primary searches are based on a simple but not disappointing storyline that gradually advances the protagonist’s story.
The tale, based on comics, does not win any awards for quality, but it accomplishes the job, and its comic origins are also shown by the well-designed comic panels that serve as cut scenes. The designers promise that the game will immerse us in the culture and mythology of the Incas. Still, the truth is that, aside from the unquestionably pleasant mood of the title and the appearance of various gods and monsters, the player will not learn much about these people. Perhaps a codex would be more helpful in this regard.
From the first seconds, the gameplay betrays its inspirations. So we’re in an isometric setting with a basic yet powerful strike at our disposal. The simple assault is the only way to restore our energy, which is required to use all of our other abilities. Unfortunately, there is no character creation, and only one class is available while levelling up is done automatically. The only thing we can choose is which skill to learn at each level.
There are three skill trees, one for melee fighting, one for ranged combat, and one for magic. As a result, any parameterization of our character is primarily determined by the path we take and the way we wish to play. This will also affect the goods we will equip Aluna with, as they should improve the method we have selected to shed the weight of our growth.
The settings are significant, but they are primarily linear, with little change in our path, which usually leads to a chest. The title and our progress are saved when we open the chests.
The title’s increased difficulty is a crucial aspect. There are four difficulty levels: story, easy, standard, and complex. We chose regular, but in the process, we discovered that the task is quite tricky, and we were murdered at least three times as many times. Good management of our skills and, especially, our equipment is critical and far more critical than the initial run of Diablo 3.
Fortunately, the talents are easily respected, so we may alter them if we notice that a specific one isn’t helping us much. At the same time, the necessary equipment can be found in the chests listed above or via dealers. The loot is always close to the heroine’s level, which is unusual given that simple mobs rarely toss loot and that elite adversaries do. Even stranger, some bosses don’t throw objects!
Enemies have a wide range of design variations, although they are just reskinned versions of the same opponents. Furthermore, they possess the same abilities as the protagonist.
The bosses are all quite challenging; they require strategy and sometimes a little luck, and the last three, in particular, will put all players to the test since they can kill us with two blows. It’s no accident that while we had focused on equipment that boosted our melee damage throughout the game, in them, we shifted strategies and dramatically increased our defence while throwing our damage to have a chance against them.
In general, loot is regarded as good in many circumstances; it is also affected by real historical weapons. As previously stated, its critical relevance in the gameplay boosts its value dramatically. In terms of duration, the titles lasted approximately 8 hours.
We were pleased with the artwork for the title. The world and the characters are well-conceived, and they adequately capture the unique mood of South America, as previously stated. The settings are varied and do not become monotonous. Unfortunately, the rich visual effect hurts the rest of the technical area, and the framerate suffers from many ups and downs, at least in the Switch version we tested. Perhaps things are better on other platforms.
We found the loading times to be longer than we would have liked, and there were also crashes in the console menu. Unfortunately, a crash happened right after we fired an exceptionally challenging employer, and it cost us dearly in terms of peace of mind. The sound includes some melodic elements, nothing spectacular but appropriate for the style and season. What sticks out is the protagonist’s excellent voice-over, performed by actress Paula Garces.