22 June 2024

The Tale of Bistun left me intrigued by its rather flashy appearance and the fact that in the trailer, you can hear the voice of actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, Chrisjen Avasarala in The Expanse series, narrating the events painted on the screen.

Yes, first appearances can have some bearing on the final decision to play a title. This, for me, was definitely one of those cases.

There are several cases of titles that address historical events or mythological stories, but few have addressed anything related to the lands of Persia. The Tale of Bistun is based on the Persian tragic novel/poem “Khosrow and Shirin”, a fictional story about a king named Khosrow who fell in love with an Armenian princess known as Shirin. Having no knowledge of the work in question, it is not possible for me to make any kind of comparison between the literary work and the title in question.

The player takes on the role of a stone sculptor who finds himself without any kind of memory. His mission is to discover his identity and the origin of a whisper that is strangely familiar to him and that keeps him company during his adventure through devastated and corrupted lands. The only source of guidance is a mysterious bird that shows you the way to go. This bird is a Hoopoe, which after a little research, is the symbol of a wise guide in Iranian literature. In this way, the player will never feel lost in a world that is actually too small.

During the 2/3 hours of the game, the revelation of mystery man’s identity is revealed, between two different realities. One of these realities is the real world, which is being corrupted by darkness. By helping to free the trees affected by the forces of evil, he is offered in return, pomegranates that help him with his amnesia problem. On the other spectrum is the “Revelations World” which, although it is a super interesting place at a visual level, with a multiverse aspect very much in the style of Marvel, this incursion ends up being very short. There is in fact very little to explore, and even giving the idea that this is a walking simulator with a dash of action and combat. What really kept me hooked was the interesting story with some twists.

The action takes place with a semi-isometric angle where the camera is fixed, that is, it is not possible to move this angle in any way. The combat leaves a little to be desired. Farhad will find 3 different melee weapons, with their own attack types and special attacks with a cooldown. However, there is no combo system, just mashing the button for the character to deliver the full combo. It’s simple, without great depth and the special attacks are so overpowered that it’s best to gather all enemies and press the trigger to launch this attack. In fact, all the different phases of combat are manifestly simple to overcome. I only had a mishap against the final boss, because the player is forced to use the giant hammer which, despite inflicting a lot of damage, is slow and unpredictable in its attack distance. Some frustrating moments that did not keep me from the conclusion of this adventure.

The Tale of Bistun is far from perfect but it manages to engage the player with its interesting story. Its repetitive combat, the lack of different enemies that you will face, the very simple level design with little room for exploration, and the high price for the longevity it presents, are points that can be a way to alienate the player.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game for Steam provided by IMGN.PRO]