Secret of the Solstice Review: Very Compelling Story World
By Joshua Temblett (Dontkillmydreams), OnRPG Journalist
I stood there, gazing in wonder at my first spoil from battle. I smiled, as I had just avoided death, in all its hatred. A sense of purpose filled my aching bones, a sense of something, and a sense of everything. As I stood there, absorbing my newly gained confidence, a beggar ran up to me. He pleaded with me for the potato that I was grasping so tightly between my fingers. I stared at him, and then, without uttering one word, I gave the reward I fought so hard to earn to this total stranger. He thanked me and I’ll never forget his last words before he teleported off, never to be seen by me again: “I’ll always remember you, thank you”.
That was indeed my first true experience with Secret of the Solstice (SOS) and the fondest memory I’ve ever had playing a MMORPG. Whilst the market remains saturated with these titles, it is very refreshing to see such a game as this, and it is equally amazing to see such a good and strong community within such a good looking and perfected game. Every moment I played this game was full of sheer joy.
The gameplay may not be revolutionary (and when you do dig deep down and peel the skin off this hardcore grinding game you’ll see its pretty average) there is something about this opus that is very mesmerising. For you see SOS is very neatly packaged. The graphics are utterly superb, despite the fact that the trees and long grass are very solid and stable (some movement would add to the utter awe of the beautifully illustrated world), the environment does well to immerse you in the game without effort. Style also oozes out from the corners of this piece of interactive media, which adds to the overall peaceful charm of the game. After all, if you’re going to spend time in such a great world as this, you do need something good to look at.
And you will be spending a lot of time in Secret of the Solstice. There is something very compelling about the world this game inhabits. Whilst the storyline may not be enough to motivate you, and the consent need for levelling up may well drag you down to a realm of concavity (providing you don’t like the idea of fighting evil bunny rabbits all day), a spark does remain in this epilogue of adventure. This spark is something I have never seen before and to put my finger onto what fuels the spark would be utterly blockheaded as there is no definite answer as to what makes this game tick and indeed tock.
You’ll start off the game carrying out chores around the main town and yes I know, if you don’t want to wash up the dishes and unblock the toilet in real life, why would you want to do it in a game? The chores are very helpful though, as they’ll send you scurrying around town and in the meantime, helping you understand the layout of the town, which will be very helpful in the long run. Once you get to level 10 (just to clarify, the chores you accomplish around town don’t revolve around cleaning toilets), you’ll be free to run around and do what you please, whether that be going outside and ripping the local fiends limb from limb, or completing some quests to get some hard earned cash. When you hit the level 16 benchmark, all that gallivanting will stop (only if you want it to), as you’ll have an important decision to make as to what class you’ll honour with your grace. There are four classes to choose from: Squire, Apprentice, Neophyte and Acolyte, Squire and Neophyte being melee based and Apprentice and Acolyte being more spell based respectably. From there on a world of constant levelling awaits you as this game well and truly does prove to be for the hardcore. That’s not to say though that casual gamers are left out, as you won’t be, but just be wary of the levelling required to get anywhere in this game.
You will generally have a lot of fun (and make a vast amount of friends) in this volume of media but at the same time not so extreme MMORPG players may get a feeling of exasperation as no matter how hard you keep reaching for those beacons that grace you with more experience, you’ll always know that once you finally reach that one level you’ve been aiming for the past couple of days, you just have to start all over again and reach the same aim, of levelling up. The levelling in itself isn’t too bad; it’s just there is only one set of armour and one spell every couple of levels, meaning that in between reaching the required levels for new armour, there is essentially nothing to do but grind. Constant levelling may be considered the bee’s knees for some (And that’s why this game suits purists of the genre) however for those of us weak of heart, this can be an extreme push away.
That aside, does Secret of the Solstice help you make that big decision of what game to grace with your skills in a drenched market? Yes it does. Whilst originality and variety may not be the high point of this wonderful story, the constant events, the gorgeous community and the perfected music and presentation of this quaint interactive page turner are very much in place and will drag you back time and time again to finish your narration.