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October 12, 2004
The Bard's Tale - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
25/2/2005THQinXile1$99.95

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The man, he's on fire!
Originally this game was to be published in PAL territories by Acclaim. Following their demise the release was up in the air, but only for a very short time as THQ snapped up the rights in very brisk time indeed, and given the quality of this third person RPG there was no question as to why. The developers inXile are headed by Brian Fargo, creator of games such as Fallout and Baldur's Gate, two of the most respected games in recent years. If this game can match the quality of those then PAL RPG gamers will be well served this Christmas.

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They're some big dogs.
The Bard's Tale is based on the storied land of the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland - the inspiration for the classic fantasy worlds. Forget the quest to save the world, our hero is interested in just two things…coin and cleavage. Play the role of the Bard as he gets swept up in a harrowing adventure that proves too much for countless chosen one but hopefully not for you. One of the most impressive aspects of this title is its openness. You won't be forced down a narrow story path, but rather can choose which quests you decide to partake in.

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Future Gamez on Friday nights!
During the game you will enter many converstaions and it's your choice, be nice, or be a prick. The developers are promising that decisions will impact on the game, perhaps not until 10 hours after the event. For instance, if you become friends with someone early in the game they may in turn assist you much later on. Conversly if you blow someone off, they may come back at you with much more malice at a later time. Something which can't be conveyed in a previw such as this is the humour in this game, it's terrific. Just see the screenshot to the right here to see what I mean - and even that isn't a good example!

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They be some big bastards!
While playing The Bard's Tale you will be able to develop your combat party by summoning a group of eccentrics and misfits to do your bidding - sixteen summoned creatures in all.

Driven by the next generation of Snowblind Studio's Everquest: Champions of Norrath Engine it is evident that this game has some impressive graphics with a wide range of environments. The sound is littered with original music (with singing), birds, animals, rustling trees, waving grass and trickling water, that immerse the player deep into the Bard's world.

The Bard's Tale is certainly shaping up as a title which RPG lovers will have to check out. The solid graphics, open gameplay and great sense of humour should be enough to keep you coming back for much more. Expect a release in February 2005.