It was a very good game at the time. One of the best in its genre, in my opinion.
The level-up system, the plot, quests, non-linearity, music, atmosphere, locations, characters, grimdark style - all this made the game special and interesting to spend dozens of hours in it.
The game also has several turning points just at the very moment when you begin to get tired of doing one thing, suddenly you find that you have much more new opportunities, and the world around you is much wider and deeper than it seemed before.
And it didn't feel like the usual division by chapters, just your actions and achievements influenced the flow of events and something new was happening in the game world and some previously visited locations changed accordingly. And it felt more natural and fluent than in games from competitors in the same genre of that time.
The game has enough of its own mechanics and innovations, which previously were not presented in such games, and by the way, they are still not presented in modern isometric RPGs/CRPGs, because they simply copy more famous representatives of the genre, while this game stays pretty underrated hidden gem. It's a pity because many of the new mechanics here are very interesting, and if they were given a polish and development in the following games, a very distinctive and interesting branch of the genre could have been formed.
This is hands-down one of the best games I ever played, and I did play a lot of games including greats like Deus Ex and Planescape Torment.
When Soulbringer came out, it was one of the first games that let you use the environment intelligently. It's not only that you can take advantage of height differences, but you can also use furniture and other environment objects to minimize your vulnerability to multiple opponents. Being swarmed by a group of skeletons? Retreat behind a table with your back to a wall and they can attack you only from two sides.
Using different weapons and targeting different parts of your opponents isn't all that daunting once you master the combo system. It's intelligently implemented and it's easy to record a sequence of moves, then available by the press of a key.
The magic system that lets you cast spells is ingenious. It's based on elemental spheres, and while specializing in one sphere can greatly boost your power, you need to be aware that it makes you very vulnerable to its opposite element. You need to balance this.
Artifacts are more than simple items in your inventory. To my shame I have to admit that I never figured out how to use the Tarot cards properly. Later I learned that these can be invaluable.
The game features a brilliant magic trap system. These are rare but it's enormous fun to learn how to deal with it and what triggers or disables them.
As a game it brings all these elements together to form more than the sum of its parts, and essentially mastering all the disciplines is very rewarding because the plot is superb. It's well written, with professional voice actors, and greatly adds to the atmosphere. I am still tempted to play the game again because I suspect I haven't unraveled the best ending yet. It's still a mystery.
All things considered, the gameplay, the story and the atmosphere the game builds is incredible and there are many times I wished for a HD remake. So this has yet to do.
If you run the game, make sure not to have your graphics driver scale to the display resolution, because this creates washed-out textures. The best quality is achieved by the driver displaying the game in its native resolution (with a black frame surrounding it) or a full multiple of it, e.g. 1600x1200 for a native resolution of 800x600. This is also true for a lot of older games.
Agreed with AlexF. The game is awesome. An atmosphere and a story are not typical for this type of games. Collecting new books and runes and becoming more powerful was really exciting. I found also combining magic and cold weapons is very interesting and new way of building your character instead of typical choosing a mage, a warrior etc. in the beginning ****. For all RPG lovers this old school game deserves to be played! Don't miss it.
SummaryIt features a five-act plot that involves the player in a fully 3-D world with 1,000 years of history. It includes over 60 speaking NPCs with over 450 people to meet plus over 100 locations to visit spanning an incredible 60 unique maps! [Interplay]