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Operencia: The Stolen Sun

Zen Studios’ modern homage to classic first-person dungeon-crawlers takes you to the land of Operencia, an unconventional fantasy world inspired by a faraway land referenced in countless Central European folktales. An old-school turn-based battle system combines with inspiration from unexplored mythology to offer an RPG experience that feels unique yet also familiar. An unknown force has abducted the Sun King Napkiraly, leaving Operencia in a state of perpetual darkness – and eventual doom. From hidden royal tombs and cursed castles to an ascent up the World Tree to reach the Copper Forest of the Land of the Gods, explore diverse settings throughout the far reaches of the land…and beyond. Each location boasts its own unique atmosphere, visual style, level design and puzzles, and many take place entirely outdoors. Operencia is home to an intriguing mix of unexplored mythology and fantastical versions of actual historical locations (e.g., Deva Fortress, Balvanyos) and characters (e.g., Attila, Seven Chieftains of the Magyars), all coming together to form one cohesive new gaming universe. Several of your own seven party members take influence from heroes of forgotten tales told hundreds of years ago, such as the brave knight Mezey and Sebastian the Dragon Slayer.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I am happy to give Operencia: The stolen sun the thumbs up. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, which is loosely based on Hungarian/Slavic folklore, and the challenging puzzles and fights. That being said, Operencia is not a game for everyone, so let's dive into the good and bad and see what's up with it.
The GOOD:
1. The Story and the world - the story is great, with voice-acted dialogue and very high stakes. The Sun is gone and it's down to our motley crew of heroes from all walks of life - from peasants and thieves to knights and demi-gods to go and find it. Along the way they will face a variety of challenges and fights which will really test their mettle. The maps are beautifully crafted, colorful and detailed, as well as pretty big and full of secrets, puzzles, and hidden things, which demand careful and prolonged exploration. Enemies lurk everywhere - so be careful and try to surprise them - or be surprised yourself! And about that...
2. The Combat - the combat is extremely engaging and should not be taken lightly as it is extremely challenging as well. Tactical thinking and party composition is paramount here unless you want endless amounts of frustration during your gameplay. As the adventure progresses, you will have 4 main + 3 extra heroes to swap in and out between fights which is absolutely required. The developers created a number of different areas which demand that you rotate your roster - as you will find that some of your heroes do better than others on various maps. And about that...
3. The Heroes and their abilities - I am in love with the fact that instead of classes, you have 6 companions that you can find, each of them with different skills and then you have 3 archetypes for your main protagonist to choose from (Warrior, Hunter, Mage), also with their own abilities. While the basic Melee-Ranged-Spellcaster system is still in effect, the heroes you are given will keep you tinkering with their skills for a good long time. And about that...
4. RE-SPEC!!! - no, RE-SPECT to the devs who, while making the combat extremely challenging, allowed us to re-specialize the heroes - BOTH SKILLS AND STATS (!!!) at will and at any point of the game. This is so good and so liberating,
5. The puzzles - the puzzles are creative and interesting, with sufficient amount of challenge. Additionally, the devs actually encourage backtracking and revisiting areas that you have already completed (usually to a certain extent). You can be sure I will talk about this some more soon...
The BAD:
1. The MAPS - while I enjoyed the exploration aspect of the game, I cannot say I enjoyed the huge amount of backtracking involved. The ability to leave notes on the map was sorely needed, as sadly, I was forced to resort to online guides to remind myself where what was on the next play session - especially if you want a completionist playthrough.
2. The Puzzles - some puzzles are a clear exercise in frustration until you discover the patterns AND get used to the game movement as you might find yourself stepping a tile too short or a tile too far and botching the whole thing.
3. Replayability - while starting with another Hero class might sound enticing, be aware that everything in the game is static and there is no randomized loot. You will always find a specific item in the same spot in each consecutive playthrough.
4. More Heroes and rebalancing - Get this, unless you start as a Mage, you will not find another decent nuker in the game. Some heroes come close if you spec in Intelligence, but not close enough to satisfy your elemental damage needs. A second nuker close to the Mage in abilities was sorely needed. Also, I am somewhat underwhelmed by the Hunter protagonist, as I felt Sebastian was better in almost every aspect - but it could be down to me not speccing him right. more testing is needed...
NOTE: I saw many people having issues with framerate drops, bugs, etc... I had none, probably because the game has been sufficiently patched during the last year, and in all fairness, I do have a relatively beefy laptop.
Conclusion:
At 50-60% off, as the game usually goes nowadays when on sale (10€) it is a great buy. You can expect to triple or quadruple your money in gameplay hours, which is greatly appreciated. While I had my fair share of emotions with the game - ranging from appreciation to flat out raging at the infuriating aspects of it, the game kept me coming back for more and that's a good thing in my book. While in my opinion, it embraces the notion that "a hard-earned victory is way sweeter" a bit too tightly, it is still a very solid game with great visuals, engaging story and interesting combat. I felt thoroughly entertained. Damn my girl knows me too well to get me this game...
All that taken into consideration I am issuing Operencia: The Stolen Sun the following verdict:
7/10
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Review from Steam

Great dungeon crawler! The game motivated me enough to 100% it. It's a bit short but on the other hand it doesn't overstay its welcome. It's also a tad bit on the easy side (played on hard) if you're familiar with the genre and there are some balancing issues (too many enemies are resistant/immune to poison for example) but it's a fun time, especially if you can get it on sale. As usual with dungeon crawlers don't expect good writing or a good story, both of these things are very meh.

Review from Steam

While the combat is dull and tedious it's still a fun game in vr.

Review from Steam

The game was fun OA and worth what i paid for it. Still hope they continue to update these old style play games. With updated graphics ( these were good but we need real deal stuff ), a lot more animation ( i mean wouldn't it be cool to see your attacker pop up on screen to cast a spell or special attack against the foe ) and hidden items& things i think they have a real place in the RPGs of the next gen. Some of the best quality's of these type games is that they force you to stop, think and then proceed through the unknown and crap to sprung a trap ( not nearly enough in this game or disarm features at all ).

Review from Steam

A must buy, but also a buy during sale.
A game with a well-crafted core and with an awful lot of rough edges.
Solid combat and exploration, good puzzles and downright gorgeous visuals.
The main story is loosely cobbled together from over a dozen different myths and fairy tales, so don't expect too much of it, or of the companion characters who spend most of the time bickering instead of developing their personality or backstory. The world is colourful and has many cool things for the player to explore, and that's what matters.
Combat can seem infuriatingly unfair at times, but the solution to all such problems is merely to backtrack a bit and level up more, because in Operencia big numbers make all your troubles go away. If not, try resetting you characters' skills and attributes.
The puzzles are also problematic, since some of them have completely arbitrary solutions, while many others are made much harder and rather frustrating because of the grid-based movement and the games first-person view.
If you want a game with nearly limitless character development options and hundreds of hours of non-linear content to explore, then go play Skyrim for the 20th time.
But if you're looking for a game that ask you to help a lesbian stonemason chain the soul of her dead wife, makes references to a certain owl with and imposing copper bodypart, and lets you chill with the soul of Attila the Hun, then Operencia is definitely for you.

Review from Steam

TL;DR: Recommended, but with significant reservations.
Pros:
- Beautiful and varied environments and effects
- Engaging, tactical combat
- Plenty of access to loot that helps you customize your characters
- Generally satisfying boss battles
- Great soundtrack
- Mechanically, it is a big plus that you can re-specialize your characters at will, even if it is pretty ridiculous
- While the game is linear, the ability to go back and visit past locations to find remaining secrets means that completionists and treasure-hunters will have a fun time
Cons
- Late game battles become extremely obnoxious (will I get hit by status effects this time, or not?)
- Story is quite tepid, nonsensical, and with random trope-pulling as needed
- Certain important points about the game are not well explained (finite amount of rests, beginning character choice is quite important)
- "Secrets" in this game are all over the place. Some are very obvious, some are very obscure and not even logical. Some give powerful loot that is basically necessary for some classes
- Gearing your characters is fun, but ultimately is just about stat and resistance boosting.
- Gear sets are few, and are quickly made irrelevant by progress
- The traveling store is 80% useless. Most armor/gear is not as good as what is found in the world. Aside from buying the all-important firewood and a handful of items, there is little point
- Inventory management matters not at all. Aside from your list growing longer, there's no consequence to keeping every last item you get in the game. You can sell all this for gold of course, but see my point immediately above
I played the demo for Operencia and was immediately sold. After purchasing and making it about halfway through the game, I began to see serious problems with game design. Now, on the doorstep of completing the game (about 38.5 hours), I don't know if I have the moxie to push through.
The combat gets very frustrating. Exploration essentially becomes a balancing act based around how many groups of enemies you can dispatch before needing to use your next precious piece of firewood. Add to this the late game tendency for enemies to counterattack frequently, confuse or stun your characters, and deliver other powerful status effects, and this adventure game quickly becomes a fantasy chess match where you have to precisely calculate when to perform which actions in combat, and which steps to take outside of it.
If you're really craving a graphically stunning, modern take on the grid-based first person RPG, then this is worth a look, and maybe you'll find it less frustrating than I. For those who want more freedom in combat or exploration, I don't think I'd recommend this. I don't regret buying it, but I probably won't ever play it again.

Review from Steam

Blobber de qualité.
Les interactions entre les personnages lors des dialogues sont amusantes. Le scénario est remplit de rebondissements pas foufous mais se laisse suivre.
Les combats tactiques sont bons quoique parfois répétitifs. Le fait de pouvoir reset les compétences des personnages sans pénalité est vraiment salvateur pour certains combats.
Les énigmes sont intéressantes et rarement cryptiques.
Je conseille fortement ce jeu pour les amateurs de ce genre trop rare de nos jours (Legend of Grimrock commence à dater et je ne parle pas de l'âge vénérable des Might & Magic).