IGN Review of The Chosen: Well of Souls
There is an addictive premise buried in The Chosen: Well of Souls somewhere. Yeah, it's that same one that made Diablo II so great, that makes many play sessions last just a half hour, an hour, two hours, all niglonger than you intended them to. One more piece of delectable scrumptious loot to ferret back to the shopkeeper so you can get serious monies to buy fancy armor. The thing is, in this game, all sense of danger and urgency is lost by the fact that you can travel instantly, at any timeeven in the midst of what I assume is supposed to be a frantic bloodcurdling battle, back to your home base where the Society of Alchemists is waiting to get you whatever you need if you have the gold. And you'll have the gold, if the game holds your interest long enough to make it past the grindy start.
The tale begins with some poor watchman nearly taking you for a demon and blowing your head off. You are one of three mighty classes: can you guess them? Warrior, monk, hunter! Customization does not exist beyond your player profile, which is not your character's name in the game and so it really doesn't matter.
The guards lead you through town to the Society of Alchemists where you meet all the fine helpful international experts for the first time. They all live to help you defeat zombies and werewolves
and hyenas if you make it that far, so salute that B return teleport hotkey and hit it as often as you feel you may die. The "oh sh*t" button incarnate.
There is, of course, an evil sorcerer stirring up trouble. The keeper of the power-granting Emerald Tablet has been kidnapped and we need to close up the Wells of Souls before all hell
breaks loose. Luckily we can travel via the Etheroid-powered teleportation stand, but it does drop us pretty far from the main destination, as a taint has spread across the land that the Etheroid can't penetrate.
That just means there's plenty of time to level up along the way. You can have three active skills at a time, things like "Magic Skin" which decreases enemy magic effectiveness, and "Grace of Luck" which increases your chance to find larger piles of gold. When you level up not only do you get five points to boost stats with, you also receive one whopping skill point. The metering is never on your side, though. You generally are forced to keep acquiring new skills rather than upgrade the ones you really want.
Golem and Neferkar pets awarded from the Society right away are pretty expensive to resurrect, but it's worth having one of them around, especially with the plagues of bats in some areas. Golem is slow, but strong. Neferkar is a quick flying creature who attacks at range, but weakly. She also tended to die a lot faster, though, so I felt like there was more value in Golem.
Magic spells come from books or scrolls, but you have to have a pretty beefy Knowledge stat to do it. Of course you also find plenty of armor and weapons. For a while I thought the usage requirements were just insane, and I'm pretty sure the blame for that falls squarely on this gimmicky feature called the Cauldron of Creation. Characters in the story hail this thing as a miracle of science, but mostly it's a miracle of currency disappearance. You're supposed to be able to repair your weapons by combining items with armor you don't want, lessen the stat requirements by combining them with magic scrolls or books, but the cost makes it prohibitive. You need your gold for health potions and pet resurrection scrolls. The Cauldron is a horrible thieving noob trap that tries to charge you hundreds, if not thousands, of gold for often less than a one point change.
Boss fights are just as anti-climactic as every other confrontation. If you have a spell equipped you hold the right mouse button, but otherwise it's just whack whack whack holding the left. Or maybe thwack thwack thwack as the hunter's arrows connect.
Sometimes you'll come across a random puzzle-type element, but it's generally pretty obvious what needs to be done by standing in a nearby whirl of magic and listening to the narrator go on and on with his full-effect pauses and phony accent.
While the rest of the sound is unremarkable, the graphics are not too horrible. In fact, they're not horrible enough that the one female character manages to have surreal bobbing breasts, and since the game is played from a mostly overhead viewpoint, you're pretty much always staring down her cleavage
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