Diabloid meets Dark Souls. Sands of Aura Review

A story about a budding hero in an unusual, beautiful world. Spoiler-free review. Early Access.

Logo.

The game is announced for the Windows platform.

THE PLOT

Very briefly and without spoilers, there is vanishingly little water in the world of Talamel. And our hero wishes to join the Order of the Last Knights.

The game has quite a lot of communication with NPCs, various little stories, dialogues, situations, notes, memorable places (usually revealing bits of lore). And the main quest (although it is not finished) does not fail. The plot is very decent.

It's beautiful.

GAMEPLAY

The gameplay is a simple-to-control third-person view story slasher (above).

We choose a character's appearance and the adventure begins.

Creating a character.

In this game, our main activity will be to explore the world, made in the form of large enough levels and spaces.

The world map. It is not completely open.

I'll tell you right away about the souls mechanics that are implemented here. When killing mobs, we collect coins. If our hero dies, there is one chance to collect them from the place of death, with all enemies (except the bosses) are revived.

There are healers-bells, which work the same way as Estus's flasks - regenerate on rest and have a limited number of charges between rests.

Weapons and equipment can be improved and created in the forge using coins (analog of souls) and special ingredients, of which there are very few.

There are places to rest - the bells (they also play the role of checkpoints when leaving the game), next to where we are revived when dying, where we replenish the supply of healing bells and restore health. After resting, as I wrote above - all ordinary enemies are revived.

Bell.

Combat skills of the hero are represented by very standard actions: strike, block, magic attack, special attack. Our fighter can accelerate, jump, dodge (you can't spam him).

Opponents are quite strong, there are bosses. They attack predictably, but here some of the hero's clumsiness comes into play, which gives the enemies a good chance to win. Our fighter is dexterous, but, for example, standing sideways he won't do any damage to the enemy, which the latter will use immediately.

Another one of our weaknesses is the fact that the enemies are very fast, persistently pursuing the hero. For example, if you need urgent medical treatment - you'll have to choose the right moment to do it, otherwise you'll get more damage.

Boss.

In the game you can get equipment, as well as items to improve it. Gems and runes are used to equip sockets on things, giving them bonuses. Moreover, an old gem or rune will be irretrievably lost.

Towns, villages, and points of interest are separated by large, beautiful expanses of sand, on which we can travel in a pretty boat. This, you might say, is a separate pleasure. We are not led by the hand, we have to chart our own course and explore the world.

Everything else works the same way. There are no flashing crosses and exclamation points. There's some ragamuffin coming, maybe he's useless, maybe he'll give you a quest. So exploring, communicating with everyone is interesting.

Wind in the sails and seven feet of sand under the keel.

Locations are filled with secrets and unobvious tasks, so it is worth studying the area very well.

You can go back to the already passed locations, but the benefit of this is doubtful, much more interesting to move on to the story and quests.

An example of a secret.

EARLY ACCESS FEATURES

The game looks very solid, but as far as I understand, the main quest and some of the secondary ones are still unfinished. The release is promised in early 2023.

The groundwork is very good.

Consider the pros and cons of the game, to summarize.

PLUSES:

+ Beautiful graphics (with a few problems, but about them - in the minuses). The camera smoothly rotates 360 degrees around the hero.

+ Great music and sound accompaniment.

+ A good story and quest component. Separate respect for the lack of driving around the world by the handle (task markers and their goals).

+ Good, dynamic battles.

+ Relatively strong enemies and bosses. If you yawn, every enemy can send you to rebirth. Bosses are persistent, you'll have to look for clues to them.

+ Large, beautiful, elaborate locations with a normal amount of secrets.

+ Not a lot of equipment, but plenty of consumables to improve it.

+ Good optimization. Goes well on my vintage, almost everything on ultra.

+ There is a Russian localization of the text (with flaws, but about this - in the cons).

SOMETHING THAT CAN BE BOTH A PLUS AND A MINUS:

+- Project borrowed features as diabloid and Souls series, but neither in either component does not win from the ancestors. For dyabloid here still not enough loot. On the level of difficulty Dark Souls looks much more serious, and by feelings it is more like a fairy tale world. The game has its own, special atmosphere and it's hard to say how many people will like it. Personally, I really liked it. But, for taste and color - no comrades.

MINUSES:

- Sometimes (very, very rarely), from certain angles, you can not get a very pretty picture. This is especially critical in combat.

Example of insufficient transparency of the environment.

- Rarely, but sometimes Russian text is interspersed with English.

EXCEPTIONS

Very promising project in early access. Already has a lot of well-developed content, beautifully decorated. Let's hope that the developers will bring as high quality work to the end, correct deficiencies and we'll get a great game - all conditions for this have.

View from the top of the starting city.

PS: Probably did not reveal all aspects, may have missed something. I'll be happy to add/correct the review or answer questions as we go along in the comments.

PPS: Steam game page.

Have a good game!

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