Masquerada: Songs and Shadows (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Masquerada is set in a Renaissance world full of political and social strife, sort of like Game of Thrones.  Except here, the cause for all the conflict comes from special masks that give the wearer magic powers.  These masks kind of look like those Phantom of the Opera masks, or the snooty rich people party masks, or the one Robin wears.  Well, you get the idea.  But when the wearer of one of these masks dies, the mask disappears forever.  Now the number of these masks is dwindling, and a civil war has broken out for control of the remaining masks.  You play as a detective set out in a missing person case amidst this backdrop, but soon you’ll be caught up in the mystery of the masks in this downloadable RPG for PS4, Xbox One, and PC (reviewed on PS4 here).

You view the action in a top-down isometric view as you walk around talking to people, gathering clues, and fighting bad guys.  A PR rep I talked to at PAX South said it was like a linear Baldur’s Gate.  While I’ve never played Baldur’s Gate before, I can definitely say the game is very linear.  While that does cut down on the side quests and optional grinding, it also means goals and objectives are very clear.  It also allows the developers to focus on the story, which is very deep.

Battles play out in real time.  You can walk in any direction and change your battle stance, and hold down the R2 button to continuously attack with your weapon.  You can switch characters at any time, too.  Characters you don’t control will fight automatically.  Use the face buttons to activate your mask skills.  When you gain enough experience, you can learn new skills with your masks via a skill tree, and you can choose which element your mask will take.  In this way, no two masks will be exactly alike.

Characters are fully voiced and while the graphics aren’t eye popping, they are very crisp and clear.  Even though the game itself wasn’t really my cup of tea, if you enjoy story driven RPGs with a deep plot and gameplay reminiscent of computer games from the late 90’s-early 2000’s, you may want to check it out anyway.

Kid Factor:

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Violence, Blood, Mild Language, and Use of Tobacco.  You do fight people with swords and magic, and small bits of blood can be seen around defeated enemies and still screen show people getting pierced by magic and whatnot.  There are a few ‘damns’ in the text, and some people smoke pipes.  But the complicated storyline with its serious overtones is the best reason why this game is best for older players.

One Response to “Masquerada: Songs and Shadows (PS4, Xbox One, PC)”

  1. Neat! I like this style of game.

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