Review: Tales Of Vogar – Lost Descendants – Tales And Tribulations

There’s something about following The Hero’s Journey in games that excites me. Maybe it’s the trials and tribulations, the inevitable setbacks, and the epic comebacks that, in the end, make the journey worth it. It had been a while since I’d played something like that, and I suddenly decided to begin my search to find one to play. But then Tales of Vogar – Lost Descendents showed up, and I didn’t have to look any further. Tales of Vogar, published and developed by just one man, Torsten Scholze, is an adventurous RPG with a great storyline and characters, a somewhat frustrating battle system, and a soundtrack you won’t ever forget.

In Tales of Vogar, we follow three characters on their epic journey to take back the kingdom of Vogar which has been lost to its new tyrannical ruler. There’s Ascan, our main character, and a magic-user who wakes up with memory loss. There’s Jane, a healer who helps Ascan sneak into her village, only for them to be caught and imprisoned soon after. Then there’s Glenn, a quick-on-his-feet sword-wielder who reveals that he’s Ascan’s brother and that they’re the lost princes of Vogar, and helps them both escape, thus beginning their journey to take back what’s rightfully theirs.

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The world map that you’ll be seeing again and again

There is a lot to like about Tales of Vogar, and one of the first things I noticed was the graphics. It has the style of some of the older RPG games, and it’s a nostalgic one that I really enjoy. The environments are full and the lighting is gorgeous. Speaking of environments, the world is lively, even when you least expect it to be, and I never got tired of traveling from place to place to see what each area had to offer. The overarching world map is fun and interactive, and I would have liked it if the areas were interactive too. There are a lot of items scattered throughout the world, but sadly, you can’t really do much with them unless you’re meant to—there weren’t many descriptions in sight. The character portraits are beautifully drawn, though there were some areas, specifically at the fishing port, where multiple NPCs had the exact same portraits. It was enough to make me tilt my head, but not enough to bother me, especially since we were never in one place for too long. The dialogue was okay, and while it never felt too dramatic, underwhelming, or unnecessary, it did read quite awkwardly more often than it didn’t.

Then there’s the music, which is absolutely epic. I found myself sitting back and just enjoying it from the very beginning. Somehow each track would always get better the more I listened to it. I think half of my playtime was me just bopping my head to the beats. Even when things were slowed down and the mood turned somber, the music was still so pretty to listen to. It never failed to add to the atmosphere of every scene, and I honestly believe that the soundtrack might have been my favorite part. (Editor’s Note: the soundtrack for Tales of Vogar was arranged by Japanese composer and producer YouFulca, which the developer asked to be properly credited)

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There are also a few mini games towards the end, that I honestly wish I got to see more of in the beginning. There are some stealth missions, which, if you fail too many times you’re given the option to skip. There’s also a point where you learn how to ride your horse by doing quick-time events with the arrow keys. Since there weren’t any mini games up until that point, it took me by surprise, but it was a welcome change of pace, and one I would have liked to see more of.

Now, I have to talk about the aspect that really hurt my experience: the battles. Tales of Vogar has a turn-based combat system that’s easy to figure out. Each of our playable characters has three options: basic attacks, special attacks that consume MP, and a third choice which, depending on who they are, will restore some MP or give them a special status effect. In the top right corner, we see the order in which our team and the enemies will attack. We also choose everyone’s move at the beginning of each turn, so after choices are made, there’s no going back no matter what happens before their turn arrives.

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It’s easy to die in Tales of Vogar, and while that’s not inherently a bad thing, it became quite frustrating. Whenever there’s more than one enemy (and thankfully the most I had to deal with at once was three), even while having three characters on your side, the enemies can quickly overwhelm you and take you down no problem. Like I mentioned, there are three actions for you to choose from, and I can easily say that one of them may as well not be there. The regular attacks don’t do nearly as much damage as the enemies, so sometimes using a regular attack instead of a skill will be the difference between life and death.

 That being said, you have to get lucky. In Tales of Vogar, I couldn’t really strategize. The enemies were more often than not the ones going first, and it all depended on who they attacked, and sometimes, whether I could guess who Jane should heal. There was one particular enemy where it was impossible to win because of the confusion ailment that wouldn’t let me do anything until I died. It became tiring, and when I finally did beat the boss, I didn’t feel much joy, rather than “finally, it’s over.”

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The environments are pretty cool

You might be saying, “Inanna, just go level up your characters and come back to fight them when you’re stronger!” and I would have loved to, except…you can’t. There are only a set number of enemies that spawn, and even then, these enemies scale up with you. So there’s no grinding levels to make life easier. Usually I would love that, because grinding is my enemy, but in this case, it’s something I think I would have preferred. There’s also not much upgrading to do weapon or armor-wise, which was a bit of a disappointment, as that’s one of my favorite things to do in games like these.

Tales of Vogar is a great game, and the passion that went into each soundtrack, each area, each quest, and each character will not go unnoticed. For the first third of this game, I had an amazing time making my way through the storyline and meeting side characters I knew I’d fall in love with, but it’s near the end that my enjoyment turned a little sour. Still, despite my frustrations, Tales Of Vogar – Lost Descendants was worth pushing through those final battles and making my way to its glorious end.

Inanna played Tales Of Vogar – Lost Descendants on PC with her own copy.

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