There are lots of RPG Maker games (in this case, RPG Maker VX) but a great deal of them are not particularly good. Tales of the Drunken Paladin crushes that stereotype with its great humour and charm. Now, let me get into more detail.
Tales of the Drunken Paladin is a console-style RPG that is available for free for PC (you can give the creator a donation on his site if you wish). The game is meant to be funny and the creator recommends that people under 16 don’t play it. I can certainly see why he said that but that has never stopped anyone!
You play as a pompous paladin named Anebriate who lives in the kingdom of Maine (the creator’s home state actually) and is just rolling in riches and fame at the start if the game but because of a series of events, he gets amnesia (cliché!), loses his skills, his house and his riches and now he and his party is on a quest to get it all back. The story is pretty original considering it doesn’t involve being the prophesised guy to save the world or whatever and it’s quite funny.
The game sounds pretty good though the sound effects are nothing special. The music is an interesting blend of various styles and genres that all feel like a cohesive package. The narrator is now voice acted in the latest version which is pretty cool but feels somewhat unnecessary since the rest of the game isn’t voice acted and it sounds like the creator of the game just decided to walk up to the microphone one day and spontaneously added it in.
The game also looks pretty good with detailed mapping, beautiful character portraits and an overall good style although there is a lot of RPG Maker VX default (RTP) sprites and tiles in here. Fullscreen isn’t quite fullscreen which is fixable by a script in RPG Maker VX and the game only shows one party member at a time which is clean but I sometimes wish the other members were visible using the caterpillar RPG Maker VX script.
The gameplay itself is pretty good but it takes a while before you can do anything because of the long intro sequence although some people may love that. I really wish you can save anywhere but you have to find a save point in the form of a magical hobo and sometimes the save points are quite spread apart. Oh, well. A quest journal would also be nice but keeping a journal isn’t exactly something Anebriate would do and since some quests are unable to be completed after you move on so it wouldn’t be practical I suppose.
The world is extremely detailed and pretty much everything in the world can be interacted with (or talked to/about by Anebriate). You can have fun just by interacting or commenting on objects the whole time. There are lots of side quests to do (from finding books to making a little boy cry for money) and some events happen at certain times so the world changes a bit at night compared to day. A lot of NPCs repeat stuff over and over which is understandable but not very immersive. You can also change a lot of stuff to your liking in the system (“options”) screen like volume and how fast text appears on the screen. The Brownie Points (Brownie Points seems to mean XP) screen is where you distribute stats (although skills seem to come automatically) and that feature is a nice change of pace from other games where you have no power in that regard and it adds a little strategy.
In a great deal of cases battles are random encounters which is kind of tedious but old-school gamers should feel right and home with that and everything involving combat. Battlers (enemy sprites in battles) look way out of scale (bigger) compared to your party’s sprites during combat which doesn’t look right but the game makes fun of that too. The game’s humour is great but sometimes gets in the way of playing the game. You have to figure out on your own what means what (“fetal position” means “guard” in combat, for example) and some of the skill and item descriptions don’t give much detail about what they do.
The game has a few flaws although nothing is flawless and you get a lot of gameplay (30+ total now when you add the two free expansion packs) with that “free” price tag. I recommend you check it out if you like RPGs in the slightest or if you like the similar game I reviewed here before, Honest Hearts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nathan. He prefers his last name not to be known. He’s probably a high-class superspy, but we don’t mind. He is the editor of Indiegraph. He’s our point man for interviews, and occasionally he takes a blowtorch to a game to see whether it measures up to his standards.