Review “Bulk fantasy at its worst” – Those waiting for the new Baldur’s Gate shouldn’t waste Sola: The Crown of the Magister

From Sola: The Crown of the Magister’s faithful adaptation of D&D 5e rules offers enjoyable combat mechanics and a forgettable dull plot.

Date of issue: 27.5.2021
Studio: Tactical Adventures
Publisher: Tactical Adventures
Available: PC (Windows, tested)
Players: 1
Age limit: 16
Game played for review: 12 hours

A popular wheel game Dungeon & Dragonsin those looking for the latest vitosite to digital have been eagerly topped by Larian Studios Baldur’s Gate 3:a. Before that, however, the gates rush to play on a much smaller budget Solasta: Crown of the Magister, which faithfully adapts the SRD 5.1 rule base of the Wizards of the Coast open license to a digital mold.

In other words, it may look like D&D, act like D&D, but it’s still not like D&D from the world.

In layman’s terms about Sola: The Crown of the Magister is based on the game mechanics of Dungeons & Dragons, but its world is entirely the handwriting of Tactical Adventures. So you shouldn’t expect owls, jelly cubes or other iconic D&D monsters from the creators’ newcomer, but instead a brand new world of Solasta and its new acquaintances.

Unfortunately, it is the narrative that is Solasta’s biggest stumbling block, as it is a textbook-like example of a boring bulk fantasy. Thousands of years ago, the ancient civilization of the possessors was destroyed in a mysterious cataclysm that scarred near roads and brought people into the world of Solasta. Societies built around a destructive area called the Badlands live in fragile harmony with each other, while brave adventurers venture into the Badlands in search of riches or death.

Solasta Crown of the Magister

The plot, of course, begins at Caer Lem’s tavern, where the four protagonists created by the player meet each other by the pots. Contact with the nearby garrison has ceased, so the player is sent to investigate the case. On the spot, one collides with a supposedly dead race and crowns one of the characters with the title crown of the game, which turns out to be much more mysterious than a toy.

Unfortunately, the plot narrative above is much more interesting than reality – and / or overestimating my gift from the author – as Sola is not directly charmed when it comes to storytelling. During the first ten hours, the plot does not move properly, but the player is thrown around us around the world for futile tasks and crown jewels. In addition, all the characters are impersonal and look almost identical to each other, regardless of the races chosen, which at least doesn’t help maintain interest.

The background is undoubtedly a smaller studio whose ambition does not match the budget in use. This can also be seen in the relatively ugly look when it comes to storytelling, so the game should be clearly geared towards the AA attitude – this is also reflected in the lower-than-average price tag. The landscapes and areas are quite spectacular, but instead everything else from animation to characters looks like outputs from decades ago. These are not outright intrusive traits, but on the other hand, there isn’t a shortage of much higher quality titles in the genre right now.

Solasta Crown of the Magister

Another reason is the authors ’investment in the game mechanics themselves, which is not only loyal but also a functional digitization of the D&D 5e rules. Above all, it’s also really clear and surpasses even the early twists and turns of Larian’s early version of Baldur’s Gate 3 in that respect by adapting a number of different rules, functions, and mechanics to an easy-to-read format.

In addition to loyalty, a generous fight is also quite entertaining. Solasta relies on elevation differences and visibility, so battles are often fought in multi-story caves, rooms, or villages, with tactics rising to an important role. Character classes cover inherited archetypes from wizards to warriors and healers to thieves, each of whom function and bring different approaches to adversity.

Faithfully to their source material, the battles – and really everything else from tipping to sneaking – are done entirely on the dice, so progress relies to some extent entirely on luck. Players who have angered the ancient dice gods can throw only ones one after the other, causing even the most experienced warriors to blow their blades into the clay again and again.

That is, as I said: a very faithful adaptation of the D&D table role-playing experience.

Solasta Crown of the Magister

The fight is clearly Solasta’s few bright spots, which is also luck, because it is plentiful. The table mirrors are immediately at home and for others the game offers quite entertaining moments mechanically. Of course, where in the table ropes only the imagination is the limit, Solasta has very clear rules and boundaries. Compared to that, the upcoming Baldur’s Gate 3 or earlier Divinity: Original Sin 2 is much closer to the versatility of a traditional role-playing game also in terms of tactics.

However, there is one interesting system created by the developers in Solasta that corrects the greatest original sin of virtually all role-playing games: the endless Lotus and the limited carrying capacity of the characters. The equipment left by the enemies does not have to be carried at all, as the Scavengers guild, which operates in the world, arrives to clean up the game areas from the player’s footsteps and distributes the proceeds from the equipment. Players who drop their pennies no longer need to worry about the amount of scrap metal left in the area, which is a reform that they would like to spread to other role-playing games as well.

It is a pity for the developers that Solasta: The plot, world or characters of the Crown of the Magister fails to arouse any interest. If the game were just a plotless struggle, it would probably feel even better than it is in its current form, because then there would be no need to waste time on completely indifferent discussions or side tasks. At the moment, Sola only bumps into the biggest fans of the genre who crave something new and traditional to play before the next big role-playing game.


“Solasta, which offers bulk fantasy, has its moments, but it’s not better to be praised as a good game.”

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