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Swords & Sandals 4 Game

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Swords and Sandals 4: Tavern Quests - A watering down of a once ferociously entertaining warrior game

Got a thirst for all things Gladiatorial? Swords and Sandals 4 has your back, though perhaps not as much as the previous three titles. Taking a board game-like format, Swords and Sandals 4 takes you on a battling journey of the different kind wrought with drawbacks but still maintaining a few of the great things that makes the series so appealing in the first place.

A Quest for War

If you didn’t know from the various movie-based depictions of Gladiatorial combat and ancient Roman practices, it really isn’t that much of an easy life being a gladiator. This is more true if you look at the life of the gladiator that is the central character of the Swords and Sandals series of Roman The Abbey Game. For three games now he has been pitted against the most brutal and terrifying of opponents, starting off with little more than a rusty knife and the support of absolutely no one in particular. Working his way up through the ranks, our gladiator managed to earn a reputation for himself in the past, but in Swords and Sandals 4: Tavern Quests, we must begin all over again in securing our position as the best gladiator in the land, but in a decidedly different format this time around.

Bored or Board Games?

What was once a straightforward one vs. one battle game that involved relentless battle after relentless battle has become somewhat of an oddity in the sense that the main crux of this game is that you now play as a minimum of two gladiators that enter into a board game within a tavern, being shrunk down and making your way through the board game land. This is an unusual twist on the classic Swords and Sandals style that to this day I am unwilling to accept because it takes away somewhat from the silly and fairly raw nature of the previous three games.

Of course, you still get to select your gladiator, editing his appearance and adding to his vital statistics such as strength and stamina in order to make him stronger over time, after which you get to pick which land you will be venturing through in board-game style, unlocking some of the more advanced levels when your gladiator levels up later in the game.

Gameplay literally consists of rolling a dice in the corner by clicking on it, with the number that appears signifying the number of spaces that you will move down the tiles that litter the ground. Along your way you will encounter places such as the local village shop where you can buy items for your gladiator such as weapons, armour, magic spells, or helmets and shields. Weapons range from the classic short sword to more elaborate tools like a scimitar or a trident, each costing increasing quantities of gold and requiring you to be at a minimum level for you gladiator before you are able to purchase them. Firebolts and molten death are among the spells that you can also purchase to be cast during battles, which are scarcer in this game than one would like.

Battle Happy

Battles still take place in the same manner as before, maintaining the relatively raw feeling of the series, with contextual menu buttons appearing around your gladiator depending on his position relative to his opponent. When next to your foe, you can choose from a variety of attacks such as quick, normal, or strong, with each of these attacks having different chances of hitting your opponents based on the stats of your gladiator at the time. Not all that much has changed in terms of the battle mechanics themselves, though this is a favourable inclusion since change for this series has almost always resulted in a detrimental effect to the enjoyment of it. There are some mini games to distract you from the main quest, though these aren’t particularly enjoyable or very original at all.

In all, Swords and Sandals has come a long way from the original game, but not necessarily in a positive way. There are more weapons available than in previous iterations of the game, but the board game format may be a little too unusual and unbearably slow as well. The graphics also haven’t improved very much since the previous game, and though they are meant to be somewhat raw and amateur-looking in appearance, the poor physics during the battles feel less purposeful and more a complete accident that developers 3RD Sense were hoping to get away with. The classic Swords and Sandals fun is most definitely still there but has been diluted to an extent that makes it a little less enjoyable. Better luck next time, 3rd Sense.

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