Requital Review (PC)

Requital is a wholly forgettable game. So much so that when I checked the web sites of the publisher, Akella software, and the game developer, Primal software, I was unable to find any mention of the game much less patches for the silly and obvious bugs that riddle the game.

Requital claims to be a free form RPG, but reduced to its simplest form Requital is mostly a simulation of playing fetch. Usually you have to fetch the whats-it for someone, but occasionally the whats-it is a whos-it for varieties sake. In any case you slaughter everything between where you start the quest and where you finish it unless they are merchants, then you sell the hundreds of items you have looted. There is no subtlety to the game play at all, rather it's over the top kill everything and rescue the helpless quest givers. It takes this concept to such an extreme that at times I couldn't decided if this was supposed to be funny or if it was taking itself seriously.

Wolfhound the Barbarian!

Bosses are load bearing AND explosive.

The game is visually very pretty with excellent pallet choices and artwork. Day/night cycles give gorgeous sunsets and sunrises changing the colors of everything you see. The game world is completely three dimensional and you view your character from a third person chase camera view throughout the entire game. Many cut scenes are written into the plot, and they are all rendered using the game engine and set into a letterbox view. Unfortunately, you are strictly limited on where you can wander in these beautiful databases. Most of your travels are along pathways between villages and quest sites. There are some areas of the game where you can wander off-road but they are few and far between, and there is no reward for free form exploring. Requital is a straightforward quest on rails with the player character - who is usually, but not always, called Wolfhound - lead from quest to quest as if by a ring in his nose, or the bat on his shoulder. I never believed in Wolfhounds motivation for undertaking the overarching story quest and it's best to just forget all that and treat the game as a chance to swing a sword, or axe, or stick, or dagger, or cudgel, or bow or one of the other many weapons you can collect. The fights usually result in messy puddles of blood so if graphic violence bothers you be sure to give this game a miss.

Disengaging your brain when playing Requital is extremely advised since the game presents many puzzling design choices. The first bit of bizarreness was the install that ran an install program from the DVD that installed to a 1 GB install folder that ran an install program to install a 1 GB game folder. Puzzled yet? Wait, you will be. As you play you gain points and bonus point points. Points can be used to level up traditional RPG type skills like strength and constitution and speed. Bonus point points can be used to purchase special attacks and character improvements. You gain points and bonus point points by gaining levels, and by gaining close in levels, and by gaining hand to hand levels, and by gaining ranged levels. The design team should have bought a thesaurus.

The coveted UnitName armor.
Bad guys. Now with convenient labels.

Other silly design choices include the aforementioned day/night cycles, as they have no effect on the game other than to make things hard to see at night. Villagers and bad guys alike don't care what the sun is doing. The camera always swings around to chase your character anytime he moves which causes fights with multiple opponents to become a chance to practice your cursing as you struggle to target the next opponent instead of moving. I died and reloaded in many fights because of this problem. And finally the game has a penchant for playing soft jazz and gentle piano solos throughout. Personally, I don't make a connection between the berserker type warrior bent on bloody vengeance for his decimated clan and soft jazz music, but maybe that's just me.

I found a few bugs in the program as well, although nothing that was a game killer. The introduction splash screen never displayed for me. It took clicking my mouse button to get the black display to change to the main menu page. Many items in the game world are named and described by programmer tags like UnitName.Armor_BodyM_02.Short.Itigul. I always wanted a UnitName armor. The game also locked up on me twice during game play forcing me to quit the program using the windows Task Manager. On one quest to translate what some vital runes said, I succeeded the quest in spite of never telling me what the translation was.

The game dialog was clearly localized into English by non-native English speakers. There are multiple odd word choices and extremely stilted sentence construction. While it's technically accurate the odd phrasings and word usage breaks any suspension of disbelief you might have worked up. One of the funniest parts of the game, I'm sure unintentionally, is the voice acting. In addition to the voice acting rarely matching the displayed dialog almost all of the voices sound echoed and strange as if they turned their restroom into the recording studio for a day. I was half expecting to hear a flush in the background. The voice acting is uniformly lacking in emotion, treating the price of healing potions with just as much drama as the threat imposed by the evil cult you discover is behind all the woe in poor Wolfhounds life.

Got weapons?
Massage your medkit to heal quicker.

Opponent AI is very weak and their stupidity can often be used against them by drawing off single and pair opponents out of a pack to slaughter while the rest of them stand a few feet away watching with disinterest. There are multiple side quests that should improve the feeling of openness in the game but fail to achieve this because of their silliness. For example, get the flowers for the one guy so he can propose to his girlfriend. Dude, get your own flowers already, plus how are you going to commit to a marriage if you can't commit to picking some flowers? I felt like lecturing him instead of helping. You do have the options of telling any quest giver No but there is no reward for the player other than feeling like a big mean bully for doing so. There is no moral ambiguity in the game and no consequences to any of your actions other than what is scripted into the main plot.

The primary appeal of this game is the visual style but that advantage is quickly overcome as the game design choices, bugs and uninspired and repetitive game play is revealed. I expect that soon, just like the developer and the publisher, I'll never mention this game again.

Top gaming moment: The moment I laughed out loud because I could have sworn that Wolfhounds pet bat was cawing like a crow.

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