Gaming News

Stoneshard might be the best RPG I’ve played all year

Think of an action RPG like Diablo and then envisage it turn-based. The enemies and every other character won’t move until you do. Stand still if you want a breather and to think. And you will need to think because Stoneshard is brutal. It might look like a child-friendly SNES game but in reality it’s, well, as friendly as most SNES games actually were. Even in what ought to be beginner battles, you’ll be killed, and as you only get one life, this can be a bit of a bummer. (You can reload when you die but you have no manual control over saves.)

This mature approach bores into the RPG systems underneath. There’s a wonderfully involved health system which divvies your body up into individual parts and allows them to be separately damaged and maimed. Have your left arm smashed and you’ll suffer penalties to using that arm, naturally, but have it mashed completely and you’ll be unable to use it and drop the weapon you’re holding.

Therefore you need to tend to wounds and general condition after every battle, bandaging bleeds and salving minor wounds, or putting more seriously maimed limbs in splints until they stabilise. You can even apply leeches. All of this affects your pain gauge. Let it rise too high and, again, you’ll receive a negative condition – a kind of debuff – which will negatively affect how you perform in battle.

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