Note: This preview was written after spending time playing the European release version of Silver.
While Infogrames positions Silver as a role-playing game, it in fact falls closer to the tradition of European action-adventures. Imagine a less-eccentric Relentless: Twinsen's Adventure or a slightly more-complex Ecstatica. Silver does share some similarities to console role-playing games - it is visually reminiscent of Final Fantasy VII - but on the whole it promises to be a very action-oriented, story-driven game.
An evil sorcerer named Silver rules the world of Jarrah. To find a bride, Silver has sent his minions (lead by a warrior named Fuge) to kidnap the women of a small forest town. It is here that the game begins. David, our hero, must save his wife, Jennifer, from Silver's clutches. His journey begins with his grandfather, a warrior who trains David in the ways of combat. As he searches for a way to defeat Silver, David will meet up with numerous other warriors and learn the ways of magic.
The world of Jarrah is brought to life by a great deal of voice acting. Every character speaks, and the voice-overs are generally good. There is also an option for text, but, oddly, you cannot have both text and voice on simultaneously. Hopefully, this will be rectified in the US release of the game.
Visually, Silver is reminiscent of both Final Fantasy VII and Relentless. It has the same cartoonish quality, featuring cute characters holding big swords. The graphics are a mix of prerendered backgrounds with 3D models. Unlike games such as Ecstatica, the attempt at a "cinematic" camera is a bit more restrained. While the perspective does shift, there are no dramatic changes, so you'll never find your view suddenly blocked by David's back.
This restrained camera should help to make combat more manageable than in previous games of the sort. Which is good: There is a great deal of combat in Silver. It is in its combat system that Silver shows the most originality. It is neither straightforward Diablo-esque hack-and-slash nor the tactical combat found in many role-playing games. Instead, Silver uses a hybrid system that is pretty unique. It's real-time and mostly consists of mouse clicking. What makes it different, however, is that various mouse movements will cause David (or whatever character you are controlling) to perform different moves. For instance, a click and a forward motion makes your character lunge, while a click and a movement to the right will make the character swipe.
While much of the combat is done with an increasingly powerful selection of melee weapons, ranged weapons are also available, including slings and bows. David will also have access to magic. After consulting an oracle, David learns that the only way to defeat Silver is to collect eight orbs of power. Each of the orbs has a distinct magic power (fire, ice, acid, earth, lightning, light, time, and life), and as he collects the orbs, the corresponding magic will be added to his arsenal. As he uses magic, the orbs gain experience and go up levels, making the spells more powerful.
The characters in your party will gain levels as well, though the process is somewhat invisible in the European release (something that the developers plan to rectify for the US version). The party system is relatively simple. As David meets those who are sympathetic to his cause, he can choose whether or not to join with them. The party can only consist of three members at a time, and you can control and equip any party member as you see fit.
Silver has been out in Europe for several months, but many changes are promised for the US version. For one, the somewhat frustrating save system is going to be revamped. Just how it will be changed is unclear, but the current system only lets you save at certain points, and even then only once at each locale. Also, the developers are planning to add an automatic pause when you change items during combat, getting rid of the current need for frantic clicking to switch weapons or use a potion.
All in all, Silver seems to be a solid hybrid of traditional action-adventuring and simplistic role-playing elements. It will be released this October in the United States.
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