How is Batora: Lost Haven, the Italian video game about the salvation of humanity

How is Batora: Lost Haven, the Italian video game about the salvation of humanity

The protagonist of Batora: Lost Haven is Avril, a sunny sixteen year old, stubborn and selfless. With the support of her best friend Mila, she must find a way to stop the destruction that is engulfing all of humanity.

Never change a winning team? For Stormind Games, an Italian software house, this is not the case. Despite the debut success with the horror Remothered: Tormented Fathers and the publication of the sequel Remothered: Broken Porcelain, the young development team returns to the scene with a game of completely different colors. This game is published by Team 17is called Batora: Lost Haven and it is an interplanetary action RPG (Role Playing Game) at times fantasy at times Sci-Fi. This is not the only contrast on which Batora bases her essence. Indeed, it could be said that the whole game is based on dualisms in opposition. However, before dealing with this aspect that emerged during the press preview, it is necessary to take a step back.

Protagonist of Batora: Lost Haven is Avril, a cheerful sixteen year old, stubborn and selfless. With the support of her best friend Mila, she must find a way to stop the destruction that is engulfing all of humanity. An ambitious goal for a simple human, but not for the Keeper of Balance. Avril is in fact “The Chosen One”, the one chosen by the Sun and the Moon to restore harmony on different planets gripped by serious crises. To do this, the protagonist must exploit the power of special amulets which, in addition to giving her a magical and solemn aspect, give her two powers: physical attacks through the support of the Sun, characterized by orange, and mental attacks through the power of Luna, instead characterized by purple.

This translates, in terms of gameplay, into mechanics drawn from the hack and slash for physical / close-up skills and give twin-stick shooter for mental / distance skills. The result is a general effect that recalls the well-known Blizzard series, Diablo. Inspiration evident also in the choice of the isometric view, from above. Returning to the fights, depending on the color of the aura that the enemies present, Avril will have to alternate physical and mental approach, in a chain of fundamental techniques to emerge victorious from the numerous clashes. This becomes essential especially against the bosses, who present a double life with a dual nature.

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But Batora: Lost Haven isn’t just a fighting game. In the preview phase, it was possible to visit two of the planets that make up Avril’s adventure: Huav’s throat. Two very different places: one is the planet of rocks, the other is the planet of sand and air. In the first there lives a tribal population of warriors, in the second instead reside strongly spiritual creatures. Although at the moment the game is in a phase of work in progress and therefore devoid of some elements (missions and secondary characters, for example), the essence of each single planet has nevertheless emerged. The merit is of the dialogues and collectibles hidden around in the form of trees, which can then be consulted from the menu to discover portions of lore, that is the context in which the game is set.

To enrich even more the playful structure of Batora: Lost Haven there is a dialogue system based on choices. Here one of the many contrasts that characterize the title takes place: despite, in fact, this looks like a game for a young audience – and this is proved by the tone of the dialogues and the choice of a sixteen-year-old as the protagonist – the choices that can be made give origin to mature and profound implications. This is thanks to a sparkling and light writing ready to change through an adequate change of tones and twists. It is therefore not easy to make a decision in Batora, also because this aspect affects not only the plot, but also the progression system of Avril. To better understand, based on the answer given, which can belong to the “conqueror” vein if impetuous or to the “defender” vein if weighted, you will acquire certain points to spend in runes that improve statistics or give additional skills.

But the gameplay possibilities offered by Batora do not end there: while exploring the planets it will be necessary overcome puzzles inside suspended ruins. Here, too, the alternation of physical and mental techniques for solving the puzzles is fundamental. For example, a door can only be opened if hit with the Sun’s attacks, just as a rotating stone can only be moved to a switch by the Moon’s mental powers.

Sparkling dialogues and dark choices; heated fights and reasoned puzzle solving; body and mind; Sun and moon. In short, in Batora: Lost Haven the dualisms dominate and help to consolidate the varied nature of the title. A great testing ground for Stormind Games, which finds itself in its hands a different title in all respects compared to previous works. For now we have to remain positive about what we have seen, even if it is evident the provisional status of the title, especially if you focus on the graphic cleanliness or the paucity of interactions available during exploration. However, it can be said that the quality of the artwork of the loading phases or dialogues and the quality of the sound sector are already appreciable. In particular, some background music pieces are truly inspired and enjoyable. The English dubbing is also very enjoyable.

All of this is nothing more than a sneak peek that demonstrates Stormind Games’ ambitions. However, it is necessary to wait a little longer to have concrete and definitive proof: Batora: Lost Haven is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2022 on PlayStation4, PlayStation5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S and PC. Meanwhile, what we have seen so far seems interesting, especially for the centrality that the theme of dualism has, both in a narrative and playful key.

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