The Bard's Tale PlayStation 2

Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 44
  2. Negative: 1 out of 44
Buy On
  1. Such humor made me stick with this tale, which otherwise suffers from mind-numbing hack-and-slash combat and dull dungeons--action-RPG cliches that are anything but funny. [Holiday 2004, p.102]
  2. 72
    Instead of following the tried-but-not-always-true formulas often found in fantasy RPGs, it manages to save itself by being nothing but irreverent and just a little bit rude.
  3. Pelit (Finland)
    71
    Tries to be funny but the jokes are far too obvious. As a game it stumbles upon the same mistakes and cliches it makes fun of. Poetic justice, if something. [May. 05]
  4. Yahoo!
    70
    If there were a more advanced game behind the excellent writing, The Bard's Tale could have been one of the highest rated RPGs this year. The Bard's sarky one-liners, foul mouth, and rampant chauvinism make every cutscene and conversation entertaining and frequently laugh-out-loud funny.
  5. If The Bard’s Tale played as well as it pokes fun at hack-and-slash RPG clichés we’d be talking about a ‘10’ here. The repetitive combat and reliance on tried-and-true RPG conventions, sadly, bring down the score.
  6. It’s somewhat ironic that The Bard’s Tale, which satirizes conventional medieval epics and romances, suffers from such a conventional adventure.
  7. A light-hearted romp through different RPG clichés and worlds that delivers just what it promises. It's fun, funny, and probably one of the best dungeon crawling action RPGs in our current generation. Of course, it's a tired genre, so coming out on top of it's predecessors is not a huge accomplishment.
  8. The story and dialogue never cease to entertain. Objectives include rescuing prisoners, killing fearsome scarecrows and playing Cupid. But, although the developers want to ridicule, the action remains conventional.
  9. Ultimately, setting out to critique and parody so studiously such a hidebound genre has brought The Bard’s Tale too close to what it was trying to distance itself from. This is a conventional, likeable dungeon crawl whose flashes of brilliance distract you from its accomplishments by hinting at how much more it could have been. [Christmas 2004, p.93]
  10. It's shamelessly hilarious, leaving no topic or genre stereotype sacred. [Dec 2004, p.110]
  11. 70
    Like Nintendo's cult classic, it's a game with likable characters, a sharply-developed sense of humor, and somewhat perfunctory gameplay.
  12. But what I don't get is why oh why must the enemies constantly rise up to pummel your weaker party when obviously there's few options to defend such cheating onslaughts. Or, why is The Bard's choice brand of humor not making me giggle like mad?
  13. A decent dungeon crawler that invests some energy into lampooning RPGs and high fantasy in general, but like a stand-up act about airline food or the line at the post office, its perspective isn't very interesting, and it lacks any real follow-through.
  14. Those who don’t mind some muscle trimmed from their action RPGs may take to this most current Bard’s Tale adventure, but it’s mostly a lamentable devolvement of anything RPG or action-oriented.
  15. So if you’ve always been put off by the micromanagement inherent in most RPG’s, Bard’s Tale may be just your ticket. If those aspects are part of what draws you in, the game will feel very shallow.

Awards & Rankings

#39 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. AdamT.
    Mar 30, 2007
    9
    Truly one of the best RPG's I've ever played. It's humor gives it great character that endears you. I actually felt like it Truly one of the best RPG's I've ever played. It's humor gives it great character that endears you. I actually felt like it was a fun adventure and not a simple dull one. I kept playing to see what would happen next. Pick up this gem today. Full Review »
  2. Nov 8, 2013
    7
    Granted this game simply rehashes a tried-and-true hack-n-slash formula that was already done to death at the time, it's still allot of fun.Granted this game simply rehashes a tried-and-true hack-n-slash formula that was already done to death at the time, it's still allot of fun. While the gameplay might have been a little stale, the narrative and the general idea behind it are top notch. An RPG that seriously makes fun of RPGs to the highest degree. I also love how they are constantly breaking the fourth wall, the humor is just brilliant.

    Overall:
    The Bard's Tale may not have the most interesting gameplay, but the characters, writing and general wit will keep you playing. A fun different kind of RPG.
    Full Review »
  3. TrollGuy
    Jul 21, 2007
    9
    OK ya know what? i never played the game but i looked it up and It looks like a game you can get sucked into. look at the age of the game thenOK ya know what? i never played the game but i looked it up and It looks like a game you can get sucked into. look at the age of the game then look at the graphics of it. pretty good for how old it is. It looks like a game with out different levels so it is not so easy and short. I want to buy this game. really badly.... yeah... Full Review »