It is a true rarity that consoles are graced with virtual tabletop games and if we are, we tend to see games such as Magic the Gathering or other money grubbers flooding the market. These titles tend to indirectly coerce players into purchasing upgrade packs or multiple download packs to soak in the game’s full potential. Armello however, does nothing of that sort.
From the get-go, Armello is complete. There are no missing parts which require players to spend any additional money to enjoy the game in its entirety. With physical tabletop games constantly offering extended gameplay packs to extend a game’s enjoyment, it is a comfort to know that the Armello experience is fully developed from the start, priced at $19.99 and $13.99 for PlayStation Plus members.
The central themes of Armello are conquer and corruption (or “rot”). Players are tasked with seizing the throne of a once wise and noble lion king, who is now corrupt with ultimate power. As the dev team mentioned at E3, “the king is the virtual sith lord of the board.” While navigating across the board, players will be met with opportunities for bribery and other situations which will force them to choose whether or not to wave their morality to continue toward the throne.
Armello offers a multitude of playable characters whom possess different passive abilities for players to take advantage of on their quest for victory. While some characters may hold an offensive advantage at night, others may posses a daytime battle advantage. Contrary to popular belief, these passive abilities do have an effect on gameplay, although it may be somewhat mild.
It is important to note that if you are a fan of the Game of Thrones series, you will certainly catch several references while playing Armello. The “Kingsguard” surrounding the castle are fully capable of being bribed and the intro cinematic of the king sitting on the throne, shrouded in darkness reminded me of our favorite Lannister, Joffrey (please excuse the blatant sarcasm).
Although Armello certainly holds its own flavor of unique and regal charm, it is not perfect. I found that the largest gripe I had was with the game’s multiplayer, which is fundamental to its overall success.
There is no chat feature while playing online, and while you are waiting for other players to complete their turns, the silence is borderline deafening. Although such a game relies on player-to-player discretion, the multiplayer would have faired well with a more effective engagement feature to remedy the ghost town feeling among the board.
Overall, Armello can feel somewhat empty at times. Considering that most adventures typically take players on different paths, feelings of loneliness are somewhat inevitable. There were hardly any times that I felt very invested in competing with other players, and if I did, there was no way of speaking to them. If games didn’t take so long to complete, this would be okay, but considering that games can take up to an hour depending on how quickly other players make their moves, this can be very frustrating.
Although Armello is not inherently perfect, it is still enjoyable. The art style and soundtrack are both aesthetically and visually pleasing and all-in-all, the game feels very good. If you’re looking for an enjoyable PlayStation game to play with your tabletop friends, I would suggest playing Armello. I would also suggest speaking to them in private chat while doing so.
This review of Armello is based off a digital copy for the PlayStation 4 which was provided by League of Geeks.