In addition to our 2021 Major Game Awards, every member of the PC Gamer team has focused on the games they love this year. For the rest of this month, we will release the new employee draft and our main awards.
After Slay the Spire, the roguelike deck builder type was almost ridiculously over-served. I think this excess caused Trial of Fire to get a bit of attention when it launched its Early Access version earlier this year, but it deserves to stand out-it may be the most compelling strategy game to be launched in 2021.
If Trials of Fire are chasing trends, they don’t come from video games—it proudly showcases the influence of board games on its sleeves. In addition to using cards for actions, turn-based battles are also conducted through a hexagonal grid similar to a board game.Between battles, exploring its unique post-apocalyptic fantasy environment feels like an old-fashioned R&D Hexadecimal crawling, when you enter each position, very few narrative events are played.
On the map, the character moves like a small cardboard standing person. The story was revealed as the pages of a squeaky book. In battle, your heroes will be transformed into circular markers, which will click and slide when you move them. When you attack, the cards will fly back and forth. The spell bursts out of their caster, causing the enemy to jump and click upon impact, as if someone was excited to hit a table. Outside of desktop emulators, games rarely feel wonderful in one way.
The spark of genius
However, what really stands out is the fight. The battle levels in Trials of Fire are distinct, and each round is an interesting and interconnected decision-making network. Each of your three characters has their own hand—you will draw 12 new cards each round—they can perform actions in any order you like, whether it’s attacks, moves, spells, sustained abilities, or other Anything else you have added to the deck.
These actions consume willpower, a resource generated by discarding cards-so every choice you make means not only giving up other people, but also actively sacrificing them to advance your strategy. To make matters more complicated, willpower can also be used without cards to move your characters or improve their defenses. These actions are essential to keep them alive in games that are cruel even on the default difficulty. Let go of a costly attack, and you may expose the holder to rapid death.
Your hand is a tempting series of powerful but mutually exclusive possibilities. The possibility that you have to act-you can only keep a few cards in the next round, and willpower is so precious that you can hardly even afford it, but sacrifice every last card to survive for your moment. Then, every round requires a careful new plan of its own.
Plan with layers. Cards are full of synergy and interaction, and if you can piece these pieces together, it will provide huge benefits. Positioning on the chessboard is the key, being surrounded is death, forcing clever maneuvers. Each hero has its own talents, which will affect each round of them and provide different possibilities according to their matching. State effects require you to combine them in different configurations. Whether you are just fighting bandits on a water bag or defending the town in front of a huge, rampaging dragon, all these different elements are combined into a wonderful and complex puzzle of moving parts.
Most importantly, on the other level-adventure between battles, your choices shape those key decks. Each hero has its own set of professional cards, which can be modified as their level increases, decreases and upgrades. You can also add cards to their deck with equipment-one for acid bomb attacks An alchemy bottle, or a staff that makes a crackling sound of lightning spells, although you must be careful not to dilute your core synergy. In the harsh wilderness, you also need to maintain health, hunger and morale, and find a safe place to camp before major battles to avoid punishment. Narrative decisions, such as whether to help the injured or snatch his supplies, further shape your abilities and how you view your hero in this desperate world.
This is a lot, especially for roguelike.Mass strategy thing, All piled up. Sometimes it must be too much-the task is long, and crashing due to the chain reaction of some wrong decision can be frustrating (although a generous undo button at least means that you will never be doomed to fail by accidentally clicking). But all these things are stacked so elegantly, each piece is perfectly related to the surrounding things, all of which are for you to make truly convincing decisions at every moment. If it makes you feel like an idiot sometimes, it’s just to give you countless opportunities to feel like a genius.
No matter how crowded this genre is, “Trial of Fire” is definitely a breath of fresh air. If you like strategy and the click of the markers on the board, then this cleverly designed challenge is a must.