Wartales - Review @ PC Gamer
PC Gamer reviewed the tactical RPG Wartales:
Turn a bunch of generic mercenaries into your absolute best buds.
Like a battle-hardened mercenary roped into another foolish adventure, Wartales hides its colourful inner life behind a grim, inscrutable visage. This player-driven RPG presents with a muted aesthetic, lacks a typical central storyline, and isn't defined by any single feature. It's a game that rebuffs your initial advances with a grunt, because it knows you'll be feeding the crows before the week's out.
Survive long enough to penetrate that tough exterior, however, and you'll discover a game built from a thousand little ideas. These ideas accrue over time into a journey that feels unique to you. It isn't as strange as Kenshi or as spectacular as Mount & Blade, but it makes up for that in how personally attached you become to the party you create.
There are gaps in Wartales' well-worn chainmail. The game's structure necessitates a lot of backtracking, especially in the early stages. You'll frequently need to return to villages to hand in contracts, buy food and other equipment, or sell items to lighten your inventory. It's also possible to get bogged down in a loop of only earning enough money to cover your basic costs, making it hard to push farther out to new areas. While I wouldn't describe Wartales as a tedious game, there are times when it can move frustratingly slowly.
More broadly, compared to, say, Divinity, the world itself is not especially characterful. Once you've explored a couple of regions, the format according to which those regions are built pokes through, dampening some of the magic. And while the quests and dialogues are capably written, I'd struggle to tell you the names of any characters I interacted with outside of my own party.
That said, the mercs who you recruit, train, eat with, sleep with, explore with, and fight alongside will be burned into your brain forever. Wartales may not be the flashiest or most accessible game around, but persistence will enrich you with the most valuable currency any game can provide: memories.
Score 83/100 - Don't be fooled by its drab exterior, Wartales is a deep and richly rewarding exercise in party creation.