Every once in a while, comes an RPG so rich in detail and full of lore. But rarely does it want to get you sucked in to said lore. Developers Witching Hour Studios creates a unique story with Venetian masks taking centre stage, but is Masquerada: Songs and Shadows it just a gimmick?
You play as a variety of characters, switching between them in battle, but the main focus is on protagonist Cicero Gavar in a fictional renaissance Venetian world. The masks that they wear, provide powers to the wearer based on the usual elements of Fire, Water, Earth and Air. However, when the wearer of the mask dies, so does the mask itself, making these masks a rare and valuable item for the residents of this world.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is an isometric linear RPG where you get to choose the style of combat you prefer. Like to pause for tactics and think about your next move, or would you rather just go all in attacking the enemies and performing spells without time to think? Either way, this is an intriguing approach to combat as it appeals to a variety of different RPG lovers. The only downside is that either way, there is usually a lot happening on screen, making it difficult at times to follow your character. More often than not, this will stop the flow of your combat as you try to switch between characters, leaving you confused for a few seconds as to where your characters are. With so much happening on the screen at a given time, you’ll probably spend most of your time sticking with the main character, unless the story requires otherwise.
As you progress, you’ll gain experience to level up your skill tree, unlock new masks which provide you with various buffs and upgrades and learn more about the world this is set in. As with most RPG’s, there is always lore hidden away, and this is no stranger. In fact, in a rare case, we found ourselves wanting to know the backstory of not only these characters, but the world itself. For an RPG, the length it will take you to complete is relatively short, clocking in around 15-20 hours, even with searching every nook and cranny, but don’t let that deter you away from this title, as it’s pretty much quality over quantity with Masquerada.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a fine example of how a story should be told. It goes to show that any setting conjured up can have its story told well when the effort is put in, however this title is let down by what seems to be never-ending loading screens that frequently takes you out of the immersion.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is available to download from the Xbox Store, priced at £15.99.
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A gorgeous and detailed RPG adventure focusing on a fictional Venetian universe, with a choice in combat according to your preferred approach makes this a versatile title. Short in length, but certainly makes up for in storytelling.