The first Eschalon game came from an unknown developer, Basilisk Games, and it managed to build a good reputation for the small indie company. And now, with the release of the second installment in the series, Eschalon: Book II, they’re surely on their way to getting recognized for their work even outside of the indie community. It came out as a bit of a surprise, as its developer intentionally kept it a secret as he seems to not believe in hype.
In Eschalon: Book II, you’ll find the same gameplay as in the first game, but with a lot of improvements. The game is played from a top-down perspective similar to that in Diablo, though it uses a strictly isometric design for its structures, resulting in a somewhat blocky, but charming world.
Apart from slaying monsters and exploring the world, which is common for most RPG titles, you’ll also have to keep your character well-fed, as well as repair your weapons as their quality will significantly decrease as you continue using them. For your convenience though, some of these options can be disabled if you prefer a more forgiving gameplay.
With its medieval setting, Eschalon: Book II presents an interesting story, which is quite well-written for an indie game (considering how most titles from the indie scene concentrate on innovative gameplay nowadays). We could criticise a bit on the way some of the dialogues branch out though, as they lack logic in some places if you keep making certain choices. It won’t significantly affect your experience from the game, on the other hand, as it requires you to perform some rather questionable selections when engaging in dialogue.
Graphics and System Requirements
Eschalon: Book II’s graphics are absolutely charming, and you’ll quickly fall in love with its blocky environments and tiny characters. The game has seen an improvement in its graphics department, sporting a higher resolution than the first version, as well as adding some weather effects (which will also affect your gameplay, for example rain will put out any fires you’ve started, etc).
It’s a very light game in terms of system requirements, too, and you really shouldn’t worry about being able to run it – even weaker machines should be able to handle it with ease, and this makes Eschalon: Book II a perfect choice for a game to play on the train to work (for example).
There’s a free demo available on the game’s website, but we strongly recommend that you skip that and get the full game instead – the demo will limit your experience somewhat and you may not be able to truly gauge the greatness of the title.
Eschalon: Book II is a fantastic example of how the indie scene hides some shiny gems just waiting to be discovered – and if you like it, make sure you try out some other indie games as well!