Sang-Froid – Tales of Werewolves is the latest title from Artifice Studio. The game uniquely combines action and strategy with RPG elements. Sang-Froid has you assume the role of two brothers who must work to save their sister from a vastly superior foe. It is currently available for $14.99 through Steam for PC. All the needed links are listed at the bottom of this review.
GAME NAME: Sang-Froid – Tales of Werewolves
DEVELOPER(S): Artifice Studio
PUBLISHER(S): Artifice Studio
GENRE(S): Action, Strategy, RPG
RELEASE DATE(S): April 5, 2013
We would like to thank Artifice Studio for the opportunity to review Sang-Froid – Tales of Werewolves. For more info, visit their website.
Combining action and strategy in a unique way, Sang-Froid – Tales of Werewolves transports you into an epic folktale co-written with best-selling Canadian author Bryan Perro (Amos Daragon, Wariwulf), in which two feuding brothers will have to put aside their differences to save their sister, who is pursued by the Devil himself!
This time however, sheer brute strength won’t be enough to save the day as your enemies are way stronger than you are. Only your wits and the ability to combine ingenious traps to setup deadly ambushes will give you a chance to see the sun rise again on your frozen piece of forest…
Sang-Froid – Tales of Werewolves is a truly interesting game for two reasons; genre and setting. I hesitate to pin it down to one genre actually, as there are so many aspects to the game that break the mold. There are parts of the game in which you must painstakingly plan, yet seconds later you are going to be mindlessly hacking and slashing through a pack of wolves. The two genres that it shares the most characteristics with are RPG and strategy, thus I will brand this game as uh… an RPSG or Role Playing Strategy Game.
A major mechanic, and the strategy aspect, is the placement of traps. Before you start each night, you are shown a map with information regarding which enemies will appear when and what they’ll attack, along with their path to the intended target. With this knowledge you can then place traps down along their paths to kill, redirect or lure them. It is encouraged (and simply a good idea) to mix and match traps to see what works well together. Some traps work only when three or more enemies are on it, while others require you to shoot them to engage them, adding to the complexity and sensation of running frantically through the woods to maximize your traps.
With each passing night you kill more and more enemies, giving you both money and experience, hence the RPG aspect of the game. XP can be spent on perks that can do everything from raising your personal stats to making specific traps more powerful. Some traps require money to build, but most of your spare cash can be spent on buying gear in the nearby town. Potions, axes, guns and other small things can be bought and sold in the town. As the game progresses, so does the quality of the weapons and equipment available to buy in town.
Taking place in the deep Canadian woods in 1856, this game immediately sets itself apart from many other games, and for me this was refreshing. Many games these days take place in space, or in another dimension. Rarely do they take such a folksy premise. This really makes the game shine and stand out from other titles. From the menus to the music, the rustic logging feel is apparent in every aspect of the game. Even the potions are named after various alcohols that one would expect a lumberjack to have a steady supply in his home cabin.
The story line is humble but engaging, and is incorporated into the objectives of each night. There are a fair number of interesting characters that come and go and each has a distinct personality, albeit often archetypal. I felt quite satisfied with the story and started to really feel for the two protagonists and their sister.
Each night presents new challenges , and sometimes, new enemies altogether and lays the foundation for the next chapter in the story line. This keeps the game fresh, and forces you to constantly adapt and try new things. Some enemies will be immune to certain traps or personal weapons, which again forces you to think and adjust and often problems can be approached from a few different angles.
Graphically, Sang-Froid is nothing groundbreaking. It stays well within the bounds of a 3D 3rd person game. That being said, its simplicity makes it visually appealing and easy on the eyes. Character models are often cartoon-ish with one of the two playable O’Carroll brothers being broad as a bus. The environment is basic and the textures are usually one tone, but a dark Canadian forest in December is not exactly the jungles of Elswyer, so it adds to the feel rather than limits it.
From the music to the voice acting, the sound in Sang-Froid really helps with the immersion and feel of both the era and the dreadful situation. When you boot up the game and are waiting for everything to load, you are greeted by a folk-y toe tapping and quite catchy song. Fortunately, this is not the only song in the game that features many appealing tunes with Irish roots. Even the fight music features a prominent accordion. Some might not like the voice acting, as it seems a little forced, but I quite like the sound of the various talent. The script is good enough to drive the story forward and engage the audience, but the music is the star of the audio show.
Down To The Nitty Gritty:
Sang Froid is a great game that I had a lot of fun with. It was challenging for both my fingers and my mind, often requiring and a combination of both in short succession. The setting was new and well executed, injected into many aspects of the game. The story line was rewarding but simple, and it was a graphically pleasing game to play. If you have the coin and some time on your hands, don’t miss this game.
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