I'm a sucker for a good sword-swinging adventure, and Throne & Liberty looks like something that I might find myself getting sucked into. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, but it has a few hooks I enjoyed, like the ability to transform into different creatures to achieve different goals. The trailer promises the ability to even take on the form of defeated bosses, something I didn't get to experience first-hand in my demo, but definitely a concept I found pretty intriguing.
Throne & Liberty's Days of Play demo started off with an opening cinematic before taking me into the character creator. As someone who can easily lose 30 minutes tweaking settings, I was pretty satisfied with the level of options available, although none of were too out of the ordinary. For the sake of time, I randomized my character's appearance and worked my way into the introduction of the game.
It played out pretty much how you'd expect from a tutorial: I met some important NPCs, including one who looked like Great Value Harry Potter, and learned the basics. Combat, inventory, movement, and of course, transforming into beasts were all laid out in the opening area. This opening period naturally meant I didn't have much in the way of exploration, but I felt pretty confident once I completed it. I must have looked away for a second when it came to the command to change to and back from a wolf, because one of the developers had to tell me, but with a simple key stroke I transformed into a wolf and traversed some tigher areas I wouldn't otherwise have been able to make it through in my human form.
Timing Is Key
Battles in Throne & Liberty should feel familiar to anyone who's played an MMO. Combat involves targeting an enemy and using your attacks and buffs. One thing that set it apart, however, were its timing-based defense moves. Basically, a target appears on the enemy who's about to strike you, and if you time it just right and hit defend at the perfect moment, you block the attack and get a buff. It shook up what otherwise felt like a pretty standard battle system, and I felt like it went a good way toward making it more exciting.
Probably the most striking part of my time with Throne & Liberty was its graphics. They looked incredible and it ran really well, but I also realize my demo was running on some pretty beefy hardware. I'll say "your mileage may vary" when running it on your own personal set-up. Stylistically, while I think it's gorgeous, there's not a lot about it to make it stick out. Art direction is great, but there's not any sort of "Throne & Liberty" style defining it. In other words, it leans a little generic, at least from the small bit I was able to experience. It still looks amazing! I felt it's too safe, stylistically.
If you're interested and trying out Throne & Liberty for yourself, you can sign up for a spot in the test phase, but you need an Amazon account.