A great story but it’s held back by glitchy textures and broken pathing in fullscreen.
Genre: RPG, JRPG
Developer: Ekuator Games, Agate
Publisher: Digital Tribe
Release date: 07 May, 2020
Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond is an indie Roleplaying Game that acts as a sequel to Celestian Tales: Old North. This sequel picks up where the first game left off and your choices from the previous game have an impact on this game’s story. It’s highly recommended that you play the previous game first because it often references the previous game and you’ll be pretty lost as to what’s going on. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, do read on because there’s a surprising amount of depth to the game.
Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond picks up shortly after the events of the previous game. Much like the previous game, you can choose between 3 separate prologue stories. Each prologue fills in a bit more of the story so the game encourages multiple playthroughs to understand everything that’s going on.
The story revolves around the Companions of Levantine and the first act of the game largely revolves around them preparing for an event revolving around a comet that appears every 75 years. This event is viewed as a divine event and is held in the city of Godland, a major religious faction in the game. This event also marks a major change story-wise but I want to avoid spoiling it, so I’ll leave it at that.
One thing I’m pretty impressed with about this game is its story and its characters. This is something I was impressed with in Old North as well. The game starts off pretty cheerful with the companions enjoying life in Levantine but as the story progresses, things get much darker and it goes south very quickly for the Companions. There are also choices that you’ll make over the course of the game that will have an overall impact on the story as well which is also a nice touch. Some choices are definitely better than others though and can have some pretty dire effects later in the game.
There will also be times when the companions will split into two groups and you’ll be able to choose to follow one or the other to progress the story. This feature also encourages multiple playthroughs because once you choose one, you won’t be able to see the other side of the story, that is, unless you save the game before making your choice to go back and make the other one.
Much of Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond revolves around exploration and progressing the story. While the game does allow you to choose various actions, the game itself is fairly linear in its progression. That isn’t a bad thing though as the story is well worth experiencing. I’ve also never had anything against linear games since many of the games I grew up with were linear in nature so this fact doesn’t bother me in the least.
Every so often, the game will require you to craft something in order to progress the story. This is quite simple to do and one of the first crafting stations you unlock is the cooking stove, which can be found in inns across the game world. The crafting system is quite simple to use too, you just need to press a button when the slider is in the green section and you’re done. There’s also a cooking/food system as well where food grants you bonuses if you eat it before battle.
It’s also worth mentioning that you actually start this game at level 40, which was the max level of the previous game. This is a small detail but it’s great for continuity reasons. The companions in this game are strong characters and their level represents that fact.
The game’s combat system is set up similarly to classic Final Fantasy utilizing a turn based setup. There is a bit of uniqueness to the combat system though. Whenever you use a normal attack you gain one SP point which allows you to use skills on your allies or foes. These skills are dependent on the characters in your party and some even have passive abilities that start at the beginning of the game. Aria, for example, creates a shield around your characters which negates one attack from an enemy, which improves your survivability by quite a lot. Outside that, it’s your standard turn based combat.
Some Things Worth Mentioning.
Sadly, as much as I’ve enjoyed this game, it does have one downside to it as of writing this review. This game is quite buggy in fullscreen mode for me. I’m not sure if its because I’m using an AMD graphics card, or something else, but whenever I play in fullscreen, the character pathing screws up quite a lot, and they stand in place going back and forth really quickly. I’ve yet to find a solution to it but there was one instance where it played fine but then it reverted to the buggy pathing again. I also noticed some glitchy textures here and there as well. I’m sure these will get ironed out eventually though.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed my time with Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond and even though there have been some bugs that I’ve encountered, I’ve found the story to be quite intriguing. It’s a linear RPG so that alone may deter some from giving it a try but I feel that it’s worth giving a try regardless of this fact. Definitely play the first game though, as this is a continuation of that one and you’ll likely be pretty lost as to what’s going on. I’ve decided to give this game a Save for Later, I imagine the bugs will be ironed out at some point but it might be worth waiting a bit but it’s definitely a fun game regardless.