Continuing to follow the “RPG recipe”, you can create various items, like potions, elixirs, weapons or armours. To do that, first you need to learn the recipe and have all the necessary ingredients. The most accessible are the common soups, steaks and broths that give a small health boost, so you have to become Ebenezer Scrooge if you want to buy the blueprints for a powerful weapon. Obviously, the most useful recipes are those for health, mana and stamina potions.
What’s immensely disappointing regarding the crafting system is that you don’t need a special skill and no special place to do it. You’re out of mana elixirs? No problem, press C and its there, provided you have the ingredients. You got all the ore for an axe? Cheers, click here and it’s in your inventory. This is also true for your abilities; you develop them by simply pressing K, you don’t have to look for trainers anymore.
Because our hero needs to be super slick and do everything with a snap of his fingers. Oh, yeah, right, when you activate the Roleplay Activites from the menu, you can go to an alchemy table to trigger an animation that would give you the illusion of actually using that piece of wood. But a bed can’t be used to pass the time or healing anymore, because these activities, and I quote, “don’t have an influence on gameplay”.
Of course, crafting also means gathering the necessary raw materials, picking plants, mining for ore, getting teeth, bones, wings and other monster parts. There’s no progression here either, like in the other games, where you slowly learned, for example, to skin a wolf, then take out its teeth, etc. You know, actually having a reason to improve, to feel like you were evolving. Now, just press E twice and the gathering is done.
And what would be an RPG without a teleportation system? We’ve got one, but it’s strangely limited. Each area has two, four, six (let’s say) teleport pads, round stones that activate when you get near them. These work only in pairs, so both need to be activated to actually work, but the problem is that they send you only into one place, there’s no communication with other pairs in the area. That means you have to hunt for these stones that will shorten (a little) your crazy running around the map.
Once, I even had a bug where an NPC just stood on such a teleport spot and I couldn’t use it anymore. And I had no way of chasing the NPC away, attacking it, talking to it so could it with some dialogue option. Load game, please! Thankfully, I spent a lot of time in the underground areas where such technology doesn’t exist.
On a more positive note, some interface elements (like the minimap, marking the NPCs or important quest objects, health bars, names or Flurry hint) can be deactivated, which is a good thing for those who hate to be carried around by their hand. If you do use the minimap, you can also set your own waypoint, marked in blue, useful if you want to come back to a NPC to give him the mushrooms, the flowers or the now legendary hat (you’ll see why at the appropriate time). It’s a pity though that you can’t kill all the stupid NPCs, at least you wouldn’t have had to do the trivial stuff you are forced to do, “essential” actions to save the world.
A world which isn’t by far as open you might come to expect from other open world RPGs. All you get are parts of an island, with the access to the next area being blocked with stones or some stubborn guards. There are invisible walls everywhere, but not even beaten paths are safe, because it’s enough to slide a little and you die just because of a wrong step or for trying to climb where the programmers won’t allow you, even though you could easily do it. And for a total humiliation, an entire city (Setariff) was cut out, so we are eagerly waiting for the first DLC.