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Game Info:

Operencia: The Stolen Sun
Developed by: Zen Studios
Published by: Zen Studios
Release date: March 29, 2019
Available on: Windows, Xbox One
Genre: RPG
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Teen for blood, use of alcohol, violence
Price: $29.99

Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this game to review!

I have always enjoyed playing and reviewing Zen Studios pinball games. Their attention to detail and beautiful visuals have made their pinball re-creations quite memorable. I was excited to hear the news about them making a dungeon crawler RPG and I had high hopes for the finished product. While Operencia: The Stolen Sun is well polished and exceeded my expectations on its presentation, it unfortunately fell short morally as many RPGs do.

The game begins with you playing as the heroic King Attila and his lovely Queen, Reka. Through their adventure of sealing the netherworld and defeating a ferocious dragon, you’ll learn about the game’s movement and battle system. The levels are in a grid pattern and the battles have three rows with the furthest row taking the least amount of damage when it comes to melee attacks. The battles are turn-based and initiative determines who gets to attack first. There are many elemental attacks and most of the enemies have weaknesses and immunities to pay attention to before attacking. I like how the chance to successfully attack is shown, though I was surprised by how often my party members missed despite a hit chance of over 80%.

After the dragon is defeated, you’re taken to the character creation screen where you can choose your character's gender and appearance. There’s a handful of character designs to choose from and the hand-drawn avatars look great along with the rest of the 2D cutscenes and 3D dungeons. There are three different classes you can be: warrior, hunter, or mage. The cartography options include normal and hard; I went with normal so the maps could show important relics and other items I need to interact with. I also chose the normal difficulty level which lets me save and quit any time instead of at campfires only. The campfire is a neat mechanic and as long as you have firewood, you can rest to replenish health, magic points/mana, and refill potions that can be used in battle. You can save at the campfires even if you don’t have firewood. The last option you get to configure is permadeath and I opted to return to a campfire at the last save/checkpoint if my party gets wiped out. If you’re up for a challenge, you can have your game save file deleted if your entire party dies.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Beautiful visuals; fun gameplay
Weak Points: Voice acting is hit and miss; not available on Steam yet and it could benefit from its community; the desktop icon to launch the game does not work
Moral Warnings: Blood and violence; magic use and necromancy; occult symbols; mythology and religious warfare; alcohol; references to sexual escapades; homosexual characters; language (d*mn)

Once your game settings and character are configured, it’s time to start your journey. My character was a farm girl who kept seeing the same vision several nights in a row. With her parent's blessing, she began her search for the underwater castle that was in her dreams. Sure enough, it existed and her life was forever changed. Shortly after entering the first dungeon you’ll meet your first party member, a thief who is trying to rescue the nine enslaved women in this castle and asks to partner up to make the task easier. Unlike many trapped women, these ones were widowed and not the stereotypical virgins often held hostage. I like how Operencia: The Stolen Sun breaks the mold a bit with this title.

Your party can have three additional members besides the main character. At the campfire you’ll hear some banter between the characters and can swap them out. The voice acting is decent, but some of the voice actors are noticeably better than others. The dialogue can be rather funny at times. Each character has a backstory and unique abilities that they can offer during battle. Healing powers and attacks that can hit multiple targets are always welcome additions. Some potions can do that as well, but they’re in limited quantities.

As characters level up, you can increase their attributes and assign active and passive abilities. One of the more helpful passive abilities is being able to regenerate mana with normal attacks. Other ways to regenerate mana in battle is to use the party abilities. Although powerful, party abilities take a long time to recharge so I recommend saving them for boss battles.

Operencia: The Stolen Sun
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 46%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 2.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

Enemies in the dungeon don’t seem to respawn so there isn’t much opportunity to grind or level-up. Thankfully it’s not needed as this game is well balanced. With the help of potions and party abilities I’ve been able to defeat all of the bosses I’ve met. There are some enemies that spawn others and they can wear out their welcome after the tenth one respawns with no signs up letting up. Other than those, most of the battles end rather quickly.

One of the bosses is a homosexual ghost that used to be the spouse of one of your party members. I prefer to just hack away at enemies without knowing their sexual orientation. Hopefully the characters' private lives remain that way in future Zen Studios titles. There is some cursing (d*mn) and sexual dialogue. Apparently, after Queen Reka died, King Attila had many conquests in the bedroom. I suppose that's not much different than many of the kings in the Bible. Regardless, that’s banter I could have done without.

Magic use is unavoidable and some characters have the ability to summon creatures from the depths. Later in the game, a pentagram shows up in the party abilities wheel so it’s hard to avoid seeing it. There are references to various religions and feuds between the new and old faiths. Blood is shown when attacking enemies. Last but not least, there are references to drinking and alcohol.

If it wasn’t for the many moral issues, Operencia: The Stolen Sun would be an easy recommendation. There’s much to like with the good dialogue, solid gameplay, and many riddles and puzzles to solve. Sadly, Operencia: The Stolen Sun is not available on Steam yet, but that hasn’t stopped people from posting questions on the Steam page forums. Epic doesn’t have forums, or a working desktop shortcut for that matter. When I was stumped by one of the puzzles I found the hint I needed on Zen Studios’ forums. I’m happy to report that I was able to solve most of the puzzles on my own though. If you like dungeon crawlers, puzzles and don’t mind the many moral issues, Operencia: The Stolen Sun is worth checking out.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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