Solasta: Crown of the Magister Review
Posted on August 29, 2023 by Aywren
In a time when all eyes are on Baldur’s Gate 3 in terms of major turn-based RPGs, I decide to finally talk about a game the Posse finished back in April – Solasta. In particular, the Crown of the Magister base game (campaign).
I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while because we had good fun with this game. I’ve dropped about 75 hours into it on my own, but we did complete Crown of the Magister as a four-player group. Back before BG3 released, it was a solid choice for DnD turn-based RPGs.
The Solasta Steam page notes:
Wizards of the Coast granted Tactical Adventures a license to use the Dungeons and Dragons SRD 5.1 Ruleset, further anchoring our will to make the most faithful video game adaptation with the Tabletop Ruleset and craft the game you are hoping for!
The game itself is story-oriented with some side quests, but it feels like the overarching story itself is fairly much on rails. You might run across a few things here and there you didn’t find in a previous playthrough, or delve deeper into things that change some of the final outcomes, but I feel that the base story will go the same direction in the end.
The story itself is serviceable as a backdrop for a character adventure. The highlight of this game for me was the character interaction. It feels as if the game assigns basic personalities to the character you create for your party – there’s a plucky rogue type or the intelligent wizard type. Very much tropes.
You don’t get to choose or flesh out your character’s personality aside from what you pick at character creation as the game provides all the dialogue options. Despite not being extremely deep in terms of customization, there are fun moments when the character personalities quip around at each other.
The voice acting was also somewhat hit and miss. Sometimes the voiced lines didn’t match what the subtitles on the screen said. But, overall, these were things we could overlook in enjoyment for the rest of the game.
The game is priced far cheaper than BG3 is running right now, and you can find it on Steam sale for a good deal (as I did). No in-game purchases or game stores in this one, but there are classes/races only found in DLC. DLCs do provide a few additional campaigns, and are on sale from time to time as well.
However, there’s also the ability to create your own campaigns – I haven’t tried this yet, so I can’t speak to it. But, even if you’ve played all there is, you can hop into new adventures that the community has made from the game’s Steam Workshop.
I feel this is well worth the price of admission!
Oh, and let me mention, it’s Solasta is also currently on Xbox PC Game Pass, so if you have that, you can try it out for “free.”
Though the game follows DnD rulesets, it is very open to allowing you to set your difficulty and change the rules for a more casual adventure. For example: don’t want to mess around with carrying around food for rests? Turn it off!
The game is more fun in multiplayer, though the turn-based fights can take their time to play out depending on how long your friends take to make choices during their turn (just pop some popcorn and sit back, like I do).
The one frustration we had, however, is that if someone drops connection or the game freezes up while in multiplayer, the game’s AI takes over that character and there’s no way for your friend to reconnect to the game unless you shut it down and go back into the lobby for everyone to reconnect.
That happened more than I’d like it to – sometimes net issues, but sometimes actual game freezes and unsyncs. We still played through the entire game, however, as a group, even through some of the strange glitches we found.
Such as shield walking.
This happened because my sister’s character had boots of wall walking. For some reason, when the two characters overlapped, she took to standing on Syn’s shield. XD
Not being an actual tabletop gamer, I’m really glad that I played Solasta before I played Baldur’s Gate 3. There are lots of overlapping concepts that I wouldn’t have known about (such as disengaging first during a battle turn to move away from an enemy so that you don’t take damage).
While Solasta might not be as robust as BG3 in story and character development, it was still a fun campaign, well worth the price I paid when we got it on sale. We did start the Lost Valley DLC campaign, and put a few hours into it, but I’m not sure if we’ll come back to it again – maybe one day!
Either way, we had our fun and it was a good primer for BG3! So, if BG3 feels a little too pricey right now, but you want to try out an RPG campaign (that has player-made content), or if you have PC Game Pass! – give this one a peek. It’s a little janky here or there, but was still fun enough for us to complete.
Sadly, the devs have stated that the newest DLC, which came out in May, would be the last they would develop for Solasta. At the time, I wasn’t up on BG3, so I didn’t understand why. But, now I do. I wish the dev team all the best for whatever project they’re working on next. Thanks for giving me a stepping stone into understanding the basics of how more modern turn-based RPGs work! I’m a better BG3 player because of Solasta!