Gilfor’s Tales Beta review
On 23 Feb, 2011
Pros: Rich story, deep gameplay, pretty
Cons: English translations need work
Our Rating: (4/5)
Gilfor’s Tales, a free-to-play fantasy MMORPG, plays like Baldur’s Gate for your browser. That’s high praise considering that Baldur’s Gate set the standard for Western-style RPGs for the better part of a decade. Gilfor’s Tales is poised to do the same for browser games if its one minor flaw gets fixed.
Gilfor’s Tales Puts the Roleplay Back in MMORPGs
You start as one of a handful of standard fantasy RPG classes. Although five classes are currently playable in the beta, plans are in the works for eight. Although you can customize your character’s clothing, hair, and skin tones, each character has a fixed gender and silhouette. If you ever played the Diablo series, you’ll remember this somewhat limiting element. As with Diablo, though, your character’s playstyle is deeply customizable.
Despite having to look a certain way to play a certain class, the story is rich enough from the very beginning to immerse you in the game. In the initial tutorial, you encounter a wrecked merchant caravan. As you investigate, you’re beset by wolves and rescued by a mysterious traveler who demands that you seek out Gilfor to give him an important message. Atmospheric music, dynamic settings, and a host of side-quests will enmesh you in the story quickly.
Graphics and Gameplay
Nor is story all that Gilfor’s Tales has to offer. If you’ve ever played vintage BioWare games such as Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment, you’ll recall the intuitive point-and-click interface that you use to move characters across the landscape. Gilfor’s Tales has a similarly intuitive UI, but in a condensed, streamlined version that’s browser-friendly. If you’re used to static browser games, you’re going to be impressed at the fluidity and dynamic feel of Gilfor’s Tales.
As you get farther into the game, you’ll find side quests as you work your way along the main quest line. One welcome aspect of these side quests is the ability to set difficulty levels. As you can repeat side quests indefinitely, they’re clearly intended to be a big part of leveling.
You won’t level alone unless you want to. Early in the game, you’ll meet an NPC who’ll join your group and will later expand your retinue. You get to choose your NPC’s class, another nice touch for those who want to build a more balanced party. You can also invite other player characters to join in your adventures. The permutations of classes and talents promises a rich, deep gameplay that surpasses what other browser games are offering.
Horror and fantasy writer Lukasz Orbitowski, Poland’s answer to Stephen King, wrote the main story line and the professional quality shows. Unfortunately, the game’s only major flaw lies in its English translations. While everything is understandable enough to let the excellent story shine through the awkward translations, the dialogue and word usage need a few final touch-ups to feel completely natural to native English speakers.
It might be unfair to dock a point from Gilfor’s Tales for this, but when a game is this obviously good, it deserves that final coat of gloss that flawless translation would give it. This MMORPG is close to browser-game perfection and Orbitowski’s writing is well worth reading for its own sake; here’s hoping that the creators who have already lavished such love on it will give it that final polish.
Gilfor’s Tales gets a 4 out of 5 pending some minor English fixes. Once those are in place, this spiritual successor to classic story-rich RPGs like Baldur’s Gate stands a good chance of elevating the standards for all browser-based MMORPGs.