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The Chosen: Well of Souls

Platform(s): PC
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Meridian 4 / CDV
Developer: Rebelmind

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PC Review - 'The Chosen: Well of Souls'

by Steven Mills on Nov. 26, 2007 @ 1:04 a.m. PST

The Chosen: Well of Souls, known in Europe as Fater, is a 3D hack'n slash set in the 19th century. You are Frater Simon sent on a mission by the monasteries to free God's Envoy, taken hostage by a mighty Alchemist Marcus who uses human souls to strengthen his own powers in order to rule the world.

Genre: Action-RPG
Publisher: Meridian4
Developer: Rebelmind Games
Release Date: October 8, 2007

It seems as if a new Diablo clone hits store shelves every month. For those unfamiliar with Diablo, it was a breakthrough role-playing game based on the premise of a war between heaven and hell, developed by the well-known Blizzard Entertainment. Players in Diablo would choose their class, level up, and manage a selection of spells and equipment. What made Diablo so special? All actions were done in a real-time setting — a feature never before seen in an RPG. Diablo also included multiplayer support using Blizzard's online technology, Battle.net. Diablo was quite a forward leap in gaming, but 11 years later, does The Chosen: Well of Souls have the potential to be considered a good Diablo clone?

Every good RPG has some sort of character development, whether it's naming your character, creating his appearance, allocating skill and stat points, or even creating a background and history. In The Chosen, your character development takes about five seconds, when you select the character class from three options.

The first class available is the Warrior, who focuses on melee combat. The warrior can take more damage than the other classes and deal decent damage, but he lacks the ability to attack from afar. The second class is the Hunter, the ranged weapon master who seems to favor guns over bows. A hunter can take decent damage and deal decent damage as well. The third and final class is the Monk, who is a wielder of magic and weaponry. Monks start with the ability to cast a fireball at their enemies and are capable of learning future magics, all while using a mace and shield.

No matter which class you choose, your appearance, starting statistics and even name are preset for you. For example, Warriors and Monks are male characters, while the Hunter is a female character; each has a preset reason for being where he or she is in the game.

The Chosen starts you on the outskirts of the town of Kamienec. The sky is dark, and the weather is rainy. Upon entering the town, a guard almost pops one into you — with an old-school musket, of course — while rambling about you being a demon spy, insisting you can shape-shift. Now is probably the best time to point out that The Chosen hired what seems to be the worse voice actors humanly possible. It sounds as if random people sat down in front of a microphone and read the dialogue. You can tell they tried to put some emotion into it, but the end result just doesn't cut it.

Zombies are attacking the town, and you're the best candidate to help stop them. You find a couple of other survivors around the town who are willing to group up with you and head into battle against these zombies, equipped with axes, guns and swords. It's good to have friends in battle because while they may not deal as much damage as you, they are able to absorb a lot more.

This brings us to the combat system of The Chosen. There is the typical bird's-eye view of your character, as well as a fixed camera on your position. Left-clicking somewhere will move you to that point, and left-clicking an enemy will attack him with your weapon, whether it's a sword or gun. Despite how simple it may be, the battle system has proven to be rather addictive throughout the years, in games like Diablo, Titan Quest and many more. On top of using the left mouse button as your main attack — you could complete the entire game running around and left-clicking — you can assign certain abilities to the right mouse button, such as the fireball spell for Monks.

Leveling up grants you stat points that can be spent on any of four stats: dexterity, knowledge, strength and vitality. Strength increases your attack power as well as the weight of armor you can wear, dexterity affects which weapons you can wield, knowledge determines your mana and which spells you can use, and vitality increases your health, along with the regeneration of your magic and health. Each level also grants you a skill point that may be placed in one of multiple skills, such as the ability to deal more damage, take more damage and more.

Defeating monsters not only gives you experience points, but also gold and items. Gold is fairly easy to obtain because all of your unneeded items will grant you some gold at a vendor, so in the long run, anything you want simply demands that you wait a little while before you have enough gold to buy it.

With the zombies defeated and your ability to do combat already pushed to its limits (keep clicking that left mouse button!), you head off in search of the Society of Alchemists. It's a society of experts who are determined to help bring an end to the zombies and other evil monsters lurking the world. You soon find that an evil wizard is up to no good and has kidnapped the defender of the Emerald Tablet, an artifact that could bring ultimate evil to the world. Your only hope is to seal the Well of Souls before chaos walks the planet!

Graphically, The Chosen is a few years behind the times. The graphics and animations certainly fit the type of game and aren't necessarily bad, but there is a lot of room for improvement. The game is 3D and can be rotated around your character to see every side of you. Thankfully, everything in the game is textured enough so that you'll be able to understand what is going on, and do what is needed to move on.

The music in The Chosen is pretty non-existent. There is almost never any music, and when there is, it's pretty sub-par and rather bleak. The voice-overs are embarrassingly bad and add unintentional humor to any dialogue, no matter how important or sad it may be.

The Chosen: Well of Souls has simply been done better many times before. The game was very easy, thanks to the ability to click the B key to teleport back to the society headquarters, even when you're in danger. After a while, this becomes very repetitive and boring. If anything, I found myself pointlessly gathering gold to purchase new items instead of advancing the storyline, simply because it was difficult to care anymore. On the bright side, the game only costs $20, so it's easily worth the price of admission. If you're looking for a lesser-known RPG, or you're a huge fan of the action-RPG genre, pick up The Chosen: Well of Souls and enjoy a few hours of fun ... before the tedium sets in.

Score: 6.5/10


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