Monday, 29 June 2009

Eschalon Review: Commercial Role-Playing Game for Linux

Eschalon is a turn-based RPG (role-playing game), which tries to reproduce the feeling of classic RPG games. It's closed-source, available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, and it comes with a demo too. The full version is available as a download for $19.95.

The currently available version is Eschalon Book I, and you can download the demo from the official website. To start the game, uncompress the tarball and run it as ./Eschalon\ Book\ I\ Demo from a terminal or just double-click the Eschalon Book I Demo executable.

The game uses OpenGL and a native resolution of 800x600, which is also the only resolution available. It can be run in either windowed mode or fullscreen.

The Launch menu - you can select the graphics renderer and toggle the windowed/fullscreen modes here

Upon starting a new game, you will get to choose a character, including its origin, axiom and class (e.g. healer, rogue, fighter etc.). You can also spend skill and attribute points for adding certain skills or increasing attribute. For example, you can buy skills like Light Armor or Survival for 3 skill points each, and increase attributes like Strength, Speed or Wisdom for 1 point each. After selecting your character and deciding on what to spend the points, the actual playing part begins.

The character editor - choose a character and spend skill and attribute points

Playing the demo

In my opinion, the major drawback of Eschalon: Book I is the low resolution. 800x600 just doesn't cut it anymore these days, and it can look a little ugly on big screens or too small when ran in windowed mode. On the other hand, the good thing is that Eschalon provides a demo. Book II is also on its way, and, according to the homepage, it will provide a native resolution of 1024x768.

As a conclusion, Eschalon can be a good solution for those who like RPG games and don't care about a high resolution. The price is not high, it comes with a manual in PDF format, and it's addictive once you grasp the way to play it.


Anonymous said...

I bought the game as well and liked it. I agree...the resolution is way too low and should support scaling to higher resolutions. Wide screen support would be a major plus for me. I use 1920x1200 and don't understand why a company would focus on such low resolutions in this high resolution world. This isn't 1990.

Grant Wagner said...

The visual style reminds me of the excellent Ultima 7 and 8. Both of these games can be either picked up super cheap used (look for collections as well) or on many abandonware sites. Ultima 7 can be played multiplatform on the (also excellent) Exult engine ( Large arbitrary resolutions and various scaling filters for the underlaying images are supported. Definately worth the look.

Octa said...

Eschalon is one game that has nice surprise in it.. In this age of good looking, but simplistic and short, easy games a touch of classic role-playing was really refreshing..Anyway great review :) If you have time take a visit to my Free Games website..