IFReviewed by Emily Boegheim on 2007-04-28 06:06
Anyone who has played De Baron will recognise Victor Gijsber's style in this story. The multiple endings, the complex conversation menus, the final open-ended questions. But this is no Baron.
Which is a shame, really, because there is a lot to like about Fate: the relationships between characters; the moral choices given; the puzzles, which give the player a sense of the difficulties the PC must overcome.
You are the Queen, and you are about to give birth to your first child. But you know that your baby will not survive unless you can change his fate. The heir to the throne, Prince Harold, sees the child as a threat to his inheritance; the King may try to use the baby as a political pawn against your mother, who is leading a rebel army. The only chance for your child is for you to use your powers of sorcery to control the future - but the price will be high...
The characters and their backstories are Fate's great strength. Interaction with NPCs are fairly limited, but the main characters are complex and believable. The King is particularly well delineated, and his choices contrast confrontingly with those of the PC.
The puzzles are mostly nicely integrated with the plot and help you learn more about the story. They are also easy and several have multiple solutions, so even a puzzle-challenged player like myself can actually choose between endings. There were one or two which seemed unrealistic, given that the PC is about to give birth. Perhaps they were intended to illustrate the PC's desperacy to save her unborn child, but if so, this could have been made much clearer.
There are some problems with underimplementation and presentation. For instance, you can't refer to the pixie's wings as "wing". The conversation menus look untidy, and there is no way of escaping from them unless you select an option; if you don't like any of your options, it's too bad. Nothing show-stopping, but enough to lose points.
My main problem with this game is its tone. Despite its premise being serious and quite dark, and most of the text supporting this, it occasionally falls into farce, awkwardly breaking the mood. This is most noticeable where the puzzles are concerned; the solution to getting into the King's apartments is particularly ridiculous.
Despite the griping tone of this review, I enjoyed Fate. It's just a shame that these issues stopped me from enjoying it more.
1st place on the 2007 Spring Thing.