I finally got around to finishing Silverfall, though if I want to keep playing with my same character, I can eventually go through Earth Awakening. Silverfall, for those who aren't quite sure what I'm talking about, is an action RPG in the tradition of Diablo from a now-defunct game developer called Monte Cristo. Before we get much firther, though, let me just say this: don't let the awful T&A box art turn you off to the game. I had the advantage of not seeing it as I bought the game digitally, but criminey, that's awful and isn't reflective of the game's content. Anyway, it's really sad that Monte Cristo are, as I just mentioned, out of business, because the game is something of an undiscovered treasure, especially for those that like the genre. First of all, though, let me lead off by saying that Silverfall is not the kind of game you play for the plot, because there's very little of it and what is there is alternately ludicrous and nonsensical. That's okay, really. The real fun in this type of game is in the gameplay itself, and Silverfall does several things very right. First of all, unique (as far as I know) to games of this genre, Silverfall has no class system at all. You start off as one of several races and pick your abilities as your fancy strikes you, and there's plenty to choose from. There's also a refreshing lack of "wrong" options. Aaron Stack (whom I seem compelled to link at least once a month) and I both played this game around the same time and we took completely different approaches to character design and both of our characters worked. There's something of an "alignment" system, but instead of law vs. chaos or good vs. evil, it's nature vs. technology. Also of note is that the game gives you four skill points instead of just one like many similar games at every level, so characters diverge in their capabilities very quickly, which is a refreshing change. The expansion pack, Earth Awakening, adds more races, a crafting system, some UI tweaks, and a new, high-level campaign, and can be purchased with the base game from most digital game outlets (Steam, Direct2Drive, etc.) and goes on sale somewhat frequently. It really is tragic that the studio that made this gem folded. I would have loved to have seen what a full-blown sequel looked like. If you're a fan of the action RPG genre, this game belongs in your collection. If you're not yet a fan, this probably is a good second game (Torchlight would be the best introduction) if you find yourself a fan.
RPG notes: As usual, there are spoilers in here, but really, there's not much to spoil. I didn't find much in the way of plot elements or character archetypes to steal in this game because there's nothing there to steal. The plot barely strings the game together. This isn't a problem, however, because the visuals are amazing for a game this old. Whoever did the art direction did a fantastic job, so you'll get all sorts of neat ideas for descriptions of weapons, armor, and monsters from playing this game. The weapons of the corrupted elves, the tree dragons, and the necroraiders in all their forms in particular are going to find their way into my homebrew setting.