Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a turn-based tactical RPG with highly customised character designs and a lot of different classes to get into. Being a big fan of turn-based RPG games, I jumped at getting the chance to experience the game on PC. Although I have to admit that I found this TRPG a little bit challenging, I was instantly hooked by its gripping story to the point where I refused to give up when it got rather difficult.
Developed by 6 Eyes Studio and published by 1C Entertainment, It’s clear the developers were heavily inspired by classics such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre.
The story follows a world where immortals had managed to destroy beasts who were ravaging the land. To keep the peace, they decided to form a council and are trying to prevent any form of war from occurring again. Given the immortals are very powerful, there are only a few of them and they can’t take care of all of the lands themselves. So, they get help from the Arbiters, agents of the Immortal Council tasked with preserving stability and order throughout the land, who are out facing monsters, bandits, and officials. Kyrie, one of the Arbiters, notices that something isn’t right with the new immortal candidate and decides to investigate it with her friends.
Although the story seemed pretty predictable at first, like your everyday RPG with the good party defeating the bad one, there were still a few twists and small details that made Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark absolutely special. Without getting too much into the story, there are various pieces of side information and exposition compacted into events all over the map which helped a lot with the immersion and character development that usually falls a bit short in RPGs.
But beware, if you decide to skip them then they may disappear after a while, so you might want to watch the events as soon as they show up if you don’t want to miss out and watch every scenario the game has to offer. These events, however, are not relevant for the main story as you don’t need to see them to fully understand further events and main-story narrative. It’s a very nice feature that the player can freely decide whether they wish to only play the main story or take a few side steps to get to know the characters better.
Once you’ve successfully completed a battle, you get sent back to the map screen. From there on, it’s possible to visit areas which you’ve already unlocked in order to go to patrol, visit the shops, enter tournaments or simply progress with the story. Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a very linear game which unlocks more areas once you continue the story.
One of the downsides to the overworld map is that it’s only possible to select a location you wish to visit, instead of freely running around but, although the areas are quite small, there are chests and gatherable items spread all over it which are optional to open or obtain. Gatherable items, on the other hand, always reset when you visit the area again, but chests are only openable once through your playthrough. However, if you have missed one, you can always go back at some other time.
A feature I really enjoyed was the customisation in Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, in many ways. There are over 30 classes and 300 abilities to choose from, so that means you can actually choose a playstyle that fits your personal taste. Of course, it’s best to have some sort of structure within your party, in order to survive. Additionally, there are a lot of options for customising your party’s appearance to your liking which won’t affect their gear nor skills. This is definitely very interesting for those who may care more about the appearance than the efficiency of the armour, like me, as I am often torn about choosing either good or pretty gear. Both classes and appearances are changeable any time outside of battles.
Something which really stood out was the supportive items in Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark which you can use in battles. While there is a limit on how often you can use an item, they get reset every time you get into a new fight. That means you can use your items in battles freely without worrying about them running out and having to stock up again. That being said, it is possible to upgrade your items with crafting, as well as crafting new items, weapons or armour. The items needed for crafting can either be gathered while patrolling or playing the story, as well as from drops by various enemies.
One thing I really have to praise is the difficulty settings. While there are default difficulties, such as easy or hard, it is customisable as well. You can choose between various options such as lowering stats for the enemies, lowering the number of enemies per battle, and much more.
The only thing that I feel the game should have had more control over, which made the game much more challenging, was the scaling/levelling up of the enemies. In Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, the enemies are gaining XP while fighting and are therefore levelling up until they hit their level cap. This got very challenging and pretty much destroyed my motivation to grind, as I was levelling up but so were the enemies, so it didn’t feel like I was gaining anything, just making it harder for myself. Although it made the game a bit more unique and challenging, I wished there was an option in the difficulty setting to adjust this feature as well.
The art style is quite simple, yet very charming. It’s very detailed and I couldn’t help but absolutely adore it as I like pixel-art style, in general. Even though it works with pixel art, you can tell right away that it is a quality designed game which has been created with a lot of love and passion. Additionally, the soundtracks were very fitting for its atmosphere although there was no voiceover available in Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark.
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is such a lovely turn-based tactical RPG which I can easily recommend to anyone who is into the genre. I was amazed by its storyline, high customisable appearances, numerous classes and its various unique features. Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is a challenging TRPG with a gripping story and optional character events for better character development to top it off, all of which managed to utterly entertain me and had me sympathising with the characters while playing it.