Players begin the game in the fictional world of Qinstra, where magical sorcerers and brave fighters embrace their natural-born strengths to further protect and develop the unified, utopian society they call home. This plane is split into four guilds, each of whom have different skills and abilities that contribute to a unified society. Each guild is wildly different in landscape, culture, law, and values. Each citizen, including the player themselves, learns how to utilize aether (the magic source of the universe) in a way that, when practiced right, unlocks the unlimited potential of handcrafted objects. By uniting the aether with an object of their choosing, they form a special bond to the object that will in turn help guide them. The player is given a weapon or tool of their choosing to begin their journey.
After exploring the world and learning the base mechanics of the game, the player is introduced to our antagonist: a shifter between worlds named Vex who is in search of new victims to play tricks on. The player either meets Vex themselves if they choose to be a part of the Freise, or hears through word of mouth stories of the trouble he has stirred up. They learn that he had been lost before reaching Qinstra. After being welcomed in by the Freisians, Vex thinks of another use for aether. He strives to bring chaos into the world and introduces a darker potential use for the aether. He shows them how they may use not only to tell the future, but manipulate it. While the Freise takes this as a way to preserve nature and protect the land, Vex’s intentions are purely chaotic, fueled out of hatred and jealousy.
When word gets around that the Freise are manipulating time, the Aurorians step in immediately. Basing their values on fate and destiny, they take this as a direct threat to time, which is sacred for them. A team of peacemakers coming from each guild typically debates threats to diplomacy and keeps any arising issues at bay. On their journey towards a meeting to speak about Vex’s arrival, a peacekeeper is ambushed. The other guilds take this as a declaration of war. Each other guild joins together to defeat the Friese. While greatly outnumbered, the Freise has the power of nature and Vex on their side. This final act has the most action involved, with an increased number of battle scenes and dynamic dialogue throughout. It is up to the player to figure out what magic Vex is capable of and how to defeat it...or they can choose to join him.
The rustic world of Qinstra ranges from vibrant towns full of life to dark forests inhabited by creeping creatures. It resembles the typical portrayals of the medieval era, especially in highly populated areas with castles and guards. Each guild has its own setting aesthetic.
As the guild in charge of protecting nature, the land of Freise has very few man made structures. They shelter in dense forests filled with flora and fauna of all kinds. Animals roam free and plant life flourishes.
Aurora is often considered the capital city of qinstra as it is where large gatherings, celebrations, and political meetings take place. It is the land that most resembles the renaissance style of fashion and architecture. Taverns and shops are around every corner and street vendors plentiful.
All about simplicity and minimalism, the highly technologically advanced city of Tresa reflects that. There are not many individual storefronts or street vendors, but instead skyscrapers and other tall, simple buildings. The city resembles modern day capital cities with less flashy aspects and a darker color palette.
Similar to Freise, Syther is more open to nature. The land consists of dark forests and swamps. Fallen trees and murky waters add to the mysterious scene. Symbols of life and death are found throughout the land.
After creating their avatar and choosing a job, players meet the leader of their assigned task force. The goal of the game is to utilize their own powers (which change depending on the chosen guild) in order to stop Vex from destroying qinstra. This involves fighting against the Freisians, who have chosen to follow our Vex. This means an even more complex gaming experience for the players that have aligned with the Freisians. Regardless of guild choice, the objective stays the same. Following a “choose your own adventure” format, players choose whether that objective is met through magical combat or by outsmarting the other guild members.
The flow of the game will loosely follow a three-act structure as it takes players through the storyline without punishing them for taking time away from the plotline to explore the world. While the game does follow a linear storyline, there is flexibility in how long it takes to play out. Players complete Therefore, there is potential for players to do a sort of “speedrun” of the game. Players more invested in the details of the game also have the potential to explore the vast world and its many non-playable characters.
The game is fairly easy to play as the emphasis is placed on the narrative rather than strategy or combat. Still, as the game progresses, so does the difficulty. Players begin learning how to use their tool for combat and navigation throughout the world. Tasks at this point are fairly easy. Any combat is friendly sparring in order for players to master the controls and earn experience in order to level up and unlock new customizations. Once the game gets to act two, combat begins to be against enemies, increasing both the difficulty and speed. Act three consists of “boss battles” against the guild leaders and, in some cases, the antagonist himself.
Taking inspiration from the color system within Magic: the Gathering, players may choose to view the story from four perspectives based on which guild they choose to begin within. Regardless of perspective, the story follows the same main plot points, but will unfold entirely differently. The ending may drastically change depending on the choices players make as soon as they enter the game. The player can even choose to side with the antagonist’s side of the war. There will be a different ending for each guild, ranging from defeating the Fresie to defeating the other guilds. Regardless of the ending, players get a sense of victory and completion at the end of the game. They may choose to side with the villain or against him, but will have the satisfaction of feeling like a hero should they reach the end of the storyline.
To maintain long-term playability, players can still roam the world even after finishing the storyline. Their interactions with non-playable characters change depending on which side they were on in the war arc itself. This may even motivate players to take on the storyline a second time from a new perspective, seeing the story and its characters from a different point of view each time they run through it.
While players meet plenty of side characters along the way, the major figures they will get to know are the leaders within each guild: Khloe Elena of Freise, Brigette Raverre of Aurora, Lisha Levelle of Tresa, and Axela Luneva of Syther. Our antagonist, Vex, will be the driving force behind the plot. He has aligned himself with the Freisians, whom he manipulates into becoming the “bad guy” of the story, despite their good intentions. Our protagonist is the player themselves. They may name their character, create a custom avatar, and acquire new clothing, armor, and other customizations along the way.
The player levels up automatically as they play throughout the game. Progress is measured in experience points so that players can see how close they are to the next level, and what may be unlocked after earning a set number of points. Anything from training tasks to combat wins can increase a player’s amount of experience. With each level, the game increases in difficulty and complexity.
The massively open world consists of four vastly different lands for each guild. While each one consists of a different setting, the overall aesthetic stays vaguely the same. Each land is vibrant and detail focused. They all give the player a sense of a false utopia; while everything looks great, all lands seem to have their secrets that leave characters a bit uneasy.
The game alternates between combat and problem solving as the player runs through the storyline. When faced with characters that get in the way of the player, they will use the skills they have learned to fight that obstacle. Other points in the game may call for the player to use the tools around them to figure out where to go and what to do in order to level up and reach the next plot point.
To keep the focus on the vast open world with much to explore, there are not many rules to how players navigate their way through the game. Act one will serve a similar purpose to a game tutorial in that it will teach players what they can and cannot do in the game. The only off limits actions are things that would interfere with the linear storyline. In these cases, barriers will be put in place to prevent those things from happening in a realistic way.
The game is designed for PC play. Players will use their keyboard and mouse to control their character. The main controls are tied to the W, A, S, and D keys. These will be basic movement keys that send their character in certain directions. camera angle. The space bar will allow characters to jump. Using the right mouse button will activate the character’s main melee ability. This is used during combat scenes and to break any in-game objects. The left mouse button is used to collect things, such as picking up items from around the world itself or accepting items from other characters. Players can also learn new abilities as they go through the game, which can be bound to whatever keys the player wants to use. The default will be E, Q, and R.
Sound within the game plays a large role in differentiating areas of the map and moments in the plot itself. The music and sound effects change for each guild’s land. The music for each land can be described as follows:
Freise: upbeat, lots of wind instruments, reminiscent of a renaissance fair
Aurora: loud music with heavy percussion with a celebratory sense
Tresa: simple beats, draws inspiration from synth-pop/technopop
Syther: dark, spooky, slow paced music that gives players an unsettling feeling
The music also changes for important moments in the plot for dramatic effect. This includes any fight scenes, emotional voice lines between characters, and the end of the storyline itself. There are also track changes for when a player levels up or obtains a new customization.
This game is an open world RPG with an emphasis on adventure.
The game is targeted towards late teens to adults with interest in other trending open world role-playing games such as the The Legend of Zelda series or Gensin Impact. The “Teen” rating, along with the aesthetics of the game, may call towards a teenage/young adult age group. It may also appeal to fans of Dungeons & Dragon and Magic: the Gathering for thematic reasons since the game draws inspiration from those worlds.