Skald: Against the Black Priory: the proven prologue of an old-fashioned RPG

Skald: Against the Black Priory: the proven prologue of an old-fashioned RPG


If there is one fact that makes the contemporaneity of video games interesting it is not so much the race for technology, but the fact that it has reached a point where it can be safely rejected. Alongside the standard productions of the industry, dozens of different trends live, often characterized by a kind of idiosyncrasy for modernity as such, with the continuous search for classic experiences, that are able to update the past, read by many in a mythical key. A scenario so multifaceted and so full of references, flashbacks and celebrations certainly admits a greater possibility of daring, with products that seem to have no market, but which nevertheless reach their own niche. They may not enrich the developers, but they are solid starting points for establishing a dialogue with the community.

We then tried Skald: Against the Black Priory, more precisely the free prologue, with the spirit of the antique dealers who respectfully search for objects of the past to sell in their shops, with the result of having understood above all that such a title can only make sense today.

A blast from the past

The game has a very classic feel The spirit of Skald: Against the Black Priory is that of ancient RPGs . Looking at it, Ultima immediately comes to mind, but also Knights of Legend, SSI RPGs and many other similar titles released in the 80s and early 90s. In fact, starting the game of Scape-IT AS does not come to mind a single reference, but an entire era, which is the strength of certain productions, which aim to evoke a certain past, not only of individual works.

The game world framed from above and divided into low resolution boxes, the main screen occupied in part by the portraits of the party members, in part by the main map and in part by the various function keys, cannot what to immediately breach those who lived through that era, who find themselves kidnapped to click on the boxes to indicate where to go to the party and to enjoy a semi-textual interface (manageable by mouse) that they like without even knowing the reason . Of course, everything can be rejected, but that is not the point.

Skald: Against the Black Priory tells the story of an expedition, led by the hero or heroine protagonist, sent by a noble to seek the missing daughter, left home voluntarily for obscure reasons. In the prologue of the game, freely downloadable, we found the first two hours of gameplay, made of exploration and lots of dialogue. The demo version stops short before the outbreak of an important event, at least in appearance, but allows you to study the game system and verify its functioning, waiting for the final version which should bring many improvements and several changes.

Skald: Against the Black Priory: where to download the prologue

The prologue of Skald: Against the Black Priory is free to play by anyone. You can download it on Steam or from GOG. The release of the final version is scheduled for 2022, on a date yet to be decided.


The encounters are underlined by pleasant illustrations in pixel art. Anyway, explore the little world of Skald's prologue: Against the Black Priory gives its satisfaction. At the beginning of the adventure it is possible to choose one of four classes (warrior, mage, rogue and cleric) and customize it by assigning points to the usual attributes (strength, intelligence and so on). In the final version there should be many more options to this effect and it is hoped that the chosen class will have a more decisive impact on the gameplay. Having chosen the gender and the portrait of our avatar, it's time to leave. The action begins on a ship that inevitably sinks under the attack of a giant sprawling monster. Finished at sea, the player-created hero awakens on a large island filled with hostile factions and unspeakable dangers, including hounds, giant crabs and bandits.

The game is divided into two main sections: the general map, the one that allows you to explore the island, and the individual places, which can be accessed from the general map. In the prologue we were able to visit a handful of them: a lighthouse, a beach where some of the castaways found refuge, a refugee camp and a small city, the latter only partially accessible.

The general feeling is that of the classics of the genre. In addition to the enemies, there are many characters to talk to, through a multiple choice dialogue system, to obtain information and missions. Some are also recruitable for the party, which must be increased as soon as possible given the ruthlessness of the enemies. The management of the characters in relation to the game world is interesting: each step taken (read: each square traveled) marks the passage of a minute of game time, which involves not only the alternation between day and night, therefore the different lighting of the maps, but also greater fatigue for the party, with related malus. To go back to giving their best, each member must be made to rest and eat something. A hungry character will not be able to heal himself from his wounds and will have penalties in combat. Also in this sense, the reference to old role-playing games is very strong, with the need to find food rations and manage travel taking into account these micro-management elements.

Combat system

The prologue offers a couple of hours of play The prologue does not really allow you to delve too deeply into the combat system and the role of the companions. Each of them seems to be well characterized and seems to have its objectives, but we will see in the final version how these will be developed and what weight they will have in the gameplay. Speaking of actual combat, the prologue system appears very simple: the clashes take place directly in the game world and are based on a turn-based model in which the units involved act one at a time using their abilities. For example, our thief has shown that she has a good initial advantage over unwitting enemies, which she often managed to attack from behind causing great damage. In reality we don't know to what extent it makes sense to touch the subject, as the developers have promised a complete overhaul of the system for the final version, so as to make it more tactical. As it stands now, in fact, it is very bland and consists of clicking on the opponent hoping that he will die before the hero.

Every party character seems to have his or her motivations We are not dealing with an action RPG, but the many fights in the prologue didn't seem all that deep. Of course they are heavily influenced by the equipment of the characters and their number, but this, as they say, is the basis of the genre and if we want it is also a problem, compared to what could be the expectations of potential buyers, in particular that to have a greater weight in the clashes with their own decisions. We will see in the final version and with a full party if everything is improved and expanded, as we hope.

There are still many elements of Skald: Against the Black Priory that must be verified. In general, we liked the prologue, for what it offers, but it also showed us some ingenuity, which the development team will inevitably have to solve if it wants to launch an excellent title on the market. In particular it is hoped that the combat system will be overhauled to become deeper and give the player's choices more weight.


Really old school Game system looks interesting The day and night cycle seems to be used well DOUBTS Some uncertainty about progression Combat system Have you noticed any errors?

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