City of the Shroud Review

City of the Shroud comes to us from Abyssal Arts as their first full-fledged game in the indie game market. It claims to be a story driven game that uses a strategic combo-based battle system whos story will span over four chapters. The first of these chapters rrelease on August 9th for everyone to sink their teeth into.  Let’s dig a little deeper, this is our City of the Shroud review.

There are quite a few things thrown into the mix that is City of the Shroud. let’s talk about the story first since it’s doing a few interesting things. While the notion of a chapter based storyline that gets released over time is nothing new to the gaming world. What Abyssal Arts is attempting to do here is a little different. They are seeking for the story to be a living episodic campaign where every player’s action impacts the world, changing how the story unfolds in the next chapter for everyone.  In the short time spent playing the game, the biggest thing you notice is that Iskendrun is a city divided. There are several factions within all seeking your attention and help, like the City Guard or the Rebels. Help one and in doing so you may anger one or more of the other factions. This plays out in quests where you are giving options to sometimes say certain things or chose to not even do the quest. All these factions vying for power in a city that is in turmoil leads to interesting choices and the possibility of a great developing story.  While the whole idea of having the community influence how the next chapter comes to be is an interesting idea, the flaw comes from at its heart City of the Shroud is more of a single player story driven game. And for those who may seek to replay the game looking for an alternate ending having sided with different factions, that will never be. The main characters help to support the story, with some good writing.

Now it’s time to dig into the real meat and potatoes of City of the Shroud, the combat. You’ll be doing a fair amount of fighting, either through some quests or choosing the random battle option hoping to get some rewards or through online multiplayer combat.  At its heart, it’s supposed to be a real-time grid-based strategy game that uses a combo system to enhance what choices there are to the player during combat. You have several classes like the Brute or the Duelist with base stats and base attacks, adding combo links to that character add in the fun where you could spend AP (action points) to chain normal moves like a fast attack into a flying kick move that damages the enemy and pushes them back one square. You can have a team of four on the field all with the goal of destroying the other team while being aware of positioning, how much AP you have and what combos you have. Some classes are weaker to certain attacks, etc., thus making how you position your team important throughout the fight.  It is a very basic and understandable system once you understand it, but it can become very complicated and adds strongly to the strategy side of things.  There were a few times that the combat was frustrating, but overall it feels solid and helps to carry the game. You also have the option of pausing combat instead of going with complete real time.

The art for City of the Shroud is quite good. Ranging from nicely done class models that have a little bit of customization to them, to a beautifully done city background that feels fresh. Add to that the hand-drawn character faces whenever you talk to someone and it helps to give the game its own feel and look. Overall the story as it stands now feels of a good quality with a combat system that carries the game well. If you're a fan of this type of game I'd recommend checking it out or if you're just curious to see what happens when the story becomes influenced by the whole community.
  • Well written story
  • Solid diverse combat
  • Good art style
  • Chapter based story that will not be complete until later
  • Community influencing how the next chapter unfolds
  • Several images are reused for various minor characters
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