By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
Skara - the Blade Remains is an upcoming title brought to us by 8-bit Studio. The devs hope to create a new type of game, a "Multiplayer Online Versus" game, which combines the best bits of their favorite genres. The feel of a versus fighting game, the depth of an RPG, the thrill of a multiplayer battle happening all around you, and the non-stop intensity of an action game. The game is already on the final push to release, and now the devs just need to get funding from their Kickstarter Campaign to be able to finish things up. The devs also plan to release the game not only on the PC (using the Steam platform), but on the Xbox One as well. With the dedication of the developers and the versatility of the game, Skara – The Blade Remains should shape up to be a fantastic game. Oh, and it will be Free-to-Play.
All good games need a backstory, and Skara is no different. Especially with its emphasis on RPG features. Skara is the name of the planet which the game takes place. The events in Skara take place after an apocalyptic event, caused by Skara's sun, Lôm. In a basic sense, this apocalyptic event caused the balance to be disrupted and completely changed the face of Skara. This caused some new races to make their way out of the woodwork of the planet. And thus we have the five races that are warring on Skara.
And that's where we find ourselves within the game – right in the middle of a five-way fight of races desperately fighting to get the last of the resources available after the apocalypse in order to survive. Personally, I've always been a fan of both fantasy and post-apocalyptic settings, so I find this story quite interesting. Plus, having a reason for all the slaughter is a bit nice. I actually find myself waiting for further lore releases from the developers. It's nice to see a story is so integrated. Most games feel like the story is tacked on at the last minute, while with Skara it feels like the game was built around the story.
One thing the developers have stated again and again to be a top priority is launching with amazing visuals. They want the fights to not only feel good, but look good to. And from what I've seen in the Alpha, they're on the right track. The art-style chosen for the game is realistic, with a slightly stylized twinge, as best as I can describe it. Even in the alpha state of the game, the graphics look great – especially the particle effects of some of the moves.
There wasn't any UI in the alpha while I played. I'm not sure if that's how they plan to keep the game, or if one will be added later on. There were only a couple maps available for play in the alpha, of which the desert (which is seen in many of the screenshots) was my favorite to play on. That's just due to personal preference, as the other map included in the alpha, the lava coliseum, is overly saturated with reds, and lots of red has always given me a headache. But, again, I'll say the graphics look superb.
I was given the chance to partake in the Skara alpha testing. This is a fairly early form of alpha that focuses on the combat side of things. It felt a lot like a proof-of-concept demo than an alpha, honestly. And that's what you need to keep in mind while reading this part of the article – the game is in its early alpha stages and things can (and will) change drastically from what I say here. But still, it was decent fun.
The combat is hard to compare to other games. It's similar to a fighting game, in that there are a lot of flashy moves, blocking, and dodging involved. Right now, attacks are fairly limited. So the customization they want to provide in how your character fights isn't quite in (such as customizing your finishing move). There aren't many people with access to the alpha right now either, so it can be difficult to find someone to fight. However, fighting against the bots is enough to give you an idea of the potential the combat has.
From my time in the alpha, I get the impression that timing is the most important factor in Skara combat. Blocking at the right moment and then countering with the correct type of hit right after will often win or lose a fight. Honestly, the combat reminds me a lot of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare but in 3rd person. The combat is intense and the risk of tunnel-visioning an opponent is high. Unfortunately, that can be a fatal mistake if there are more than two people in a match, as you never know when someone else will run behind you and join in. In the end, I'm going to say I enjoyed this small taste of Skara's combat a lot. It holds a lot of potential and is already fun.
Of course, like I've said several times, the version of Skara I played was an early alpha version. That means that a lot of the planned features for the game were not available to me. That includes a plethora of customization options – from your characters looks, to your equipment, to your fighting style. Factions aren't in yet, which are the guild-like entities that are closely tied into the lore and are the forces vying for control of Skara. Personally, the feature I'm looking forward to the most is the ability to customize your finishing move. How fast the developers got people to Greenlight Skara on Steam is a testament on how many great features Skara will have.
Skara – The Blade Remains has a lot of potential packed into it. From the story, to the combat, to the faction-based conquest gameplay. The fact that it took just over a week for the game to become Greenlit on Steam goes to show how much people want to play the game that Skara promises to be. If you're interested, I would say head over to the