Masquerada: Songs and Shadows: Tactical Role Playing At It’s Finest – Console Version Hands-On Preview

A civil war brought on by... masks?

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A city at war with itself. The rich – The Masquerada – oppress the poor – The Contadani – with magic granted to them by ancient masks. A third group – the Maskrunners – are stealing these masks and forming a rebel movement. You, a former exile of the city, are thrown right in the center of it all.

Beautiful cel-shaded graphics make up the world of Masquerada.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is an isometric tactical RPG inspired by games such as Baldur’s Gate and the original Dragon Age. Developed by Witching Hour Studios, Masquerada: Songs and Shadows puts you in the shoes of Cicero Gavar, a former member of the Masquerada. Cicero has been called back to the city of Ombre after being exiled for five years.

Ombre is not a safe place. The Masquerada are made up of only the rich and powerful, and the Contadani want a piece of the action, but they can’t do much without the magical masks that the Masquerada wear. Some have formed a clan, the Maskrunners, that steal masks and use their powers for what they believe is good. To put it bluntly, everybody is on edge, and no one can be trusted.

The game is story-centric and entirely voice acted. Talent such as Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect) and Dave Fennoy (The Walking Dead) make up the main cast. It features a party of five main characters – each with their own elemental powers.

Combat takes place in real-time. Each party member’s abilities can be bounced off one another, creating devastating combos. Yet, more tactical players will want to take advantage of pausing combat to plan out their attack. The enemies in Masquerada have all sorts of defenses and armor types. Positioning is important for backstabbing and utilizing other tactical bonuses, and those who take the time to do so will be rewarded.

Combat is flashy and tactical.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows has been out on Steam since September 2016, but the game will be coming to Playstation 4 later this year. I tried out the PS4 version at PAX East last week, and it ran very well. The beautiful cel-shaded graphics mean that the transition from PC to console will have a minimal impact on the visual side of things.

I am currently playing through the game on PC and will have a review up on The Koalition soon. If you can’t wait until then, be sure to pick up the game on Steam now. Otherwise, you can wait for the PS4 version. Either way, you’re in for a real treat.

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