A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Aside from usual good vs. evil tropes, story features themes of friendship and teamwork, plus taking a stand against oppression, overcoming adversity, helping those in need.
Positive Role Models
Players develop their own characters, follow their own choices. Party members they recruit have their own personalities, motivations for joining the player, but still tend to have strong heroic traits.
Ease of Play
A lot of complexity in the gameplay, from character and party management to item crafting and turn-based combat. It's a lot to learn and get the hang of, and sometimes tutorials are lacking in explanations.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is constant, with player constantly battling against fantasy creatures, human characters with a variety of medieval weapons and magic abilities. Occasional splashes of blood. Cutscenes show more intense scenes of violence, including hangings, murder.
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Minor swearing occasionally shows up in dialogue, such as "bastard."
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Products & Purchases
Game is a continuation of popular Bard's Tale franchise, was funded by large Kickstarter campaign. Development was preceded by remastered re-release of original trilogy in episodic form.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking alcohol isn’t just shown in the game, but it’s even encouraged as a key element of gameplay. Players can drink and get drunk in the game, even earning “perks” that boost some abilities while hampering others.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) available for download on Windows-based PCs. This is the latest title in a classic franchise released decades ago, and which was also preceded by a remastered re-release of the original trilogy. Players recruit and control party members of different backgrounds, personalities, and fantasy races in an adventure to save their land from an impending doom. There's a lot of menu navigation required in the game, including managing the skills and abilities of characters and parties, organizing inventories, crafting items, etc. The turn-based combat requires strategic planning as opposed to quick reflexes. There's a steady stream of violence in the game, both in gameplay and in cutscenes, which also focus on murder and hangings of characters. Drinking alcohol is also a regular staple in the adventure, and even encouraged as a key part of the gameplay.
Is It Any Good?
The return of this classic role-playing game (RPG), with its strategic combat, puzzles, and musically infused gameplay, hits all the right notes. The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep returns players to a world that originally enthralled gamers with tales of adventure back in 1985 in the original, The Bard's Tale, which launched a classic gaming franchise. Now more than 30 years later, the Adventurers Guild is back in business as the Song of the Maiden rings out once more. This latest entry is more than just a remix of the same ol' song and dance, bringing all-new gameplay elements to the franchise and rebooting it for a new generation of fans.
The Bard's Tale IV blends a first-person, real-time exploration with turn-based-strategy-style combat. After charging into battle, the view shifts to a 4x4 grid, with the player's party occupying the bottom two rows and the enemy forces taking the top. Each character in the player's party can shift position and perform actions using a shared pool of points available per turn. It can take a little getting used to at first, since the tutorials aren't always the best at explaining things. Once you get the hang of things, though, it adds a deeper layer of strategy to confrontations. Players will also often run into puzzles to solve, which are a bit of a mixed bag. While it's usually fun to figure out the solutions to these brain benders, sometimes it can get a bit frustrating to run into an area where they seem to be stacked one right after another. It's still rewarding, but there are moments you just want to get back into the story. Other gameplay elements, such as crafting and character development, take their cues from more modern RPG games, but still feel right at home here. If you're willing to invest some time and effort into learning the game's nuances, The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep can be a very rewarding experience, paying back with a solid story and a strong foundation for more adventures to come.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.