My history with turn-based RPG’s runs deep. I recall countless hours vanquishing foes in Mario RPG and Uncharted Waters. To this day one of my favorite games of all time is Secret of Mana. When the game list is released here at Xbox Enthusiast it is one of the categories I immediately examine. Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is the type of game a turn-based strategy fan waits years for. With its hand-drawn art style, solid story, well-composed score, and an extremely rich character class system this game is easily one of note.
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a tactical RPG and the first release from developer 6 Eyes Studio. The game is a combination of the talents of a husband and wife team. Pierre Leclerc serves as the games programmer and Christina Leclerc is a skilled pixel artist. Stylistically their creation is simply beautiful. The hand-drawn pixel art evokes a delightful sense of nostalgia for classic RPG titles like Final Fantasy. The musical score contributes its own weight to the classic feeling as well as giving the game compelling musical accompaniment without becoming overly repetitive or annoying.
Fell Seal’s story is an interesting one. Players enter the world which has been under the protection of the Immortals Council for several hundred years. The Immortals help govern civilization through the creation of the Arbiter forces, who battle evil and protect the innocent. Alas, as time has gone on, all is not well. Corruption has infected the Immortal council allowing scum like Alphonse a cruel, rich criminal a pardon for his crimes. The game follows Kyrie, a good Arbiter beginning the training of her latest recruit who arrests Alphonse for murdering a citizen in the street. We discover that he is not only pardoned but then selected as one of the “Marked”, a candidate for an opening for the Immortal Council. All in all this conflict sets the game in motion with a solid backstory and a compelling narrative.
Mechanically the game functions beautifully. The core mechanic of Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is its rock solid combat system. Players move units around the board in a turn-by-turn style based on their units individual talents. Players can select six characters to use in a combat scenario at a given time using combinations of classes to combat their foes. Character classes are the games strongest component. Players can choose from a base class set of mender and mercenary. From here classes can be customized to an amazing variety. The sub-class options include knight, templar, duelist, reaver, assassin, ranger, scoundrel, gunner, peddler, alchemystic, sorcerer, plague doctor, wizard, druid, fellblade, war-mage, gambler, and gadgeteer. Needless to say, there are a lot of options to choose from. I found the variety of combinations to provide hours of entertainment and give the game a massive amount of replay value.
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is by far one of the longest games I’ve reviewed for Xbox Enthusiast. In full disclosure, I’m still working my way through the main story but currently have over 20 hours of gameplay within the game. Even without completing the game fully I can easily say it is fantastic. It is one of the more robust turn-based RPG’s I’ve seen in the last several years.
With a strong story, well-conceived combat system, deeply customizable character classes, and a great loot system it has all of the right components going for it. The only negatives I can state against Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is that combat, can move slowly. If the team would include the ability to speed up combat in some manner it would only help it be that much better. If you are a fan of classic RPG’s you will not regret this purchase at all.