Netflix has tried adapting some of its biggest properties into video game form with mixed results. There have been Stranger Things games, Narcos games, and now a game based on Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’s dark fantasy setting seems like it would lend itself better to a video game than Netflix’s other game attempts, but The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics fails to take advantage the IP.
Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is a toothless retelling of the TV show’s story. For those unfamiliar with The Dark Crystal Netflix series, it is a prequel to a 1980s film set in the magical world of Thra. Notable for having zero human characters, The Dark Crystal film and TV show features Jim Henson puppets instead of live-action actors, and has a very unique, energetic, and arguably somewhat creepy that look to them. The story revolves around evil vulture-like creatures called Skeksis who rule Thra as dictators, enslaving elf-like creatures called Gelflings and using their “essence” to achieve immortality. The Gelflings wise up to the evil ways of the Skesis and rise up in rebellion against them, leading to many surprising Game of Thrones-style plot twists and exciting action scenes.
The TV show spends a lot of time building its world so even though it’s completely and utterly unique, it all makes sense to the viewer. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics video game, on the other hand, must assume that players have a deep knowledge of the TV show’s lore. Someone who has never seen The Dark Crystal TV show will be lost trying to piece together the plot of the video game. Its narrative structure makes things worse, starting in the middle of the show’s story, working backwards, and then jumping ahead.
It’s hard to see anyone who isn’t a fan of the TV show still giving this game a try, but even the most die-hard Dark Crystal fan is bound to be disappointed with Age of Resistance Tactics. While the movie and TV show depicted an original fantasy world populated by charming creatures, the video game depicted a bland world that was painfully generic. None of the charm of the TV show was translated into the game. The visuals are poor, the music is repetitive, there is little to no voice acting, and the whole thing feels lifeless. Considering how remarkable The Dark Crystal Netflix series is, the video game presentation is a huge disappointment.
Dark Crystal fans will likely walk away from Age of Resistance Tactics disappointed by the presentation, but the gameplay is serviceable, if also generic and unambitious. Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics. Players move characters around grid-based maps, fight enemies and complete various objectives. However, most of the game’s missions kill everyone on the screen, so players shouldn’t expect a ton of different missions.
Sometimes maps have gimmicks, like rising tides or poison swamps. Despite this, every battle feels the same. Players will find themselves using the same characters in every match, and there’s really no reason to change things up. In fact, it’s arguable that players are penalized by using other characters, because they’re just making things harder on themselves when it’s easier to level up a very specific group instead.
Battles are about to become monotonous in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics. Later missions are more tedious, as players have to fight more enemies for longer before killing. It doesn’t really make the game harder or require more strategy. It just makes the fights last longer. Fortunately, it’s possible to double the enemy’s turn speed, but even that seems too slow by the end of the game.
Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics lacks excitement, but what’s here isn’t necessarily “bad.” From a gameplay perspective, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is a completely inoffensive take on the turn-based tactics genre. It lacks ambition and isn’t that much fun to play, but everything works as it should and we didn’t encounter any significant technical issues during our time with the game. However, the missions soon come together, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics doesn’t do much to spice things up.
Aside from just fighting, players can interact with a job system similar to what’s in the well-received Final Fantasy Tactics, but there’s no point in really experimenting with jobs. Players want everyone in their party to have the Throw Rock move and a way to heal themselves, so they’ll likely end up with a team made up of characters who all have the same job. And while this will put players at a disadvantage in other games, players of Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics will still be able to steamroll through almost every mission. Despite marketing itself as a tactical strategy game, players don’t really need to put much thought into the missions to be successful if they choose the right jobs.
Beyond the main story missions, there are a few extra “encounters” players can take part in as well, which are great ways to earn extra money or level up characters. The game is balanced in a way that players should be able to bounce from one main story mission to the next without being at a huge disadvantage, so those who engage in this side content will soon discover that their characters are completely overpowered. Having such strong characters without having to put in too much effort is another way that the game doesn’t really require much in the way of “tactics,” but players can have difficulty making it more interesting. -like things.
Someone looking for a playable, reliable turn-based tactics game will find one in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics. It gets the job done, but does it in the most generic, unexciting way imaginable. It completely fails to take advantage of the Dark Crystal IP, and is simply not very fun to play. Instead of playing the latest adaptation of the game on Netflix, fans of the Dark Crystal franchise are better off rewatching the TV series and keeping their fingers crossed for an Age of Resistance season 2.
Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics is out now for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Today Technology reviewed the Xbox One version of the game.