Oftentimes when a game tries to mix a handful of genres together, what players wind up with is a jumbled mess with no identity of its own. Then there are games like Tainted Grail: Conquest, which blends different elements into a seamless adventure that's hard to walk away from. The game's setting is rich in lore, with players unlocking more of the Tainted Grail universe as they play. The voice acting is spot on and the visuals help to set the grim and haunting tone of the environment. The turn-based combat gives players plenty of room to develop their actions, but it's like a game of chess. Only instead of board game pieces, players are combining whatever cards they've been dealt with unique class abilities to piece together a devestating chain of events, both on offense and defense. It also feels like the game's constantly evolving, not just through the player's growth, but through the constant shifts in encounters and difficulty. With each cycle of play, everything feels both new and familiar at the same time, which fits exactly in with the plot.
Live. Die. Respawn. Repeat. It's a staple formula for many games, but few address it as keenly as Tainted Grail: Conquest. The game's premise sets up the cycle of death and rebirth nicely. And thanks to the gradual progress of player and of the individual class characters, it never gets frustrating. In fact, it encourages players to have fun experimenting, whether it's starting the quest with a new character class or simply trying out new combinations of card and abilities in combat. While the game might be a bit repetitive, and honestly, a bit short in later runs after players build up more power, the randomization of each playthrough, combined with the wide range of character specialties and their respective wealth of card combinations to test and play, manages to keep the game from ever feeling stale.