Top Critic Average
The focus on masquerades and pushing it to a legitimate political centerpiece, as well as infusing it with otherworldly magical properties, is both refreshing and interesting take on the “detective’s tale”. That is why it is all too unfortunate that Masquerada’s potential is marred by poor, repetitive combat and meaningless character progression – which would not be an issue at all if it weren’t billed as an RPG in the first place.
I truly loved this game. As soon as the intro cutscene started, I was hooked – and that was even before the tutorial (that you should definitely play, as it contains some major story elements)!
From the impeccable writing to the beautiful music, everything about this game feels polished. Each and every character you meet is interesting and well developed, and the adventure is perfectly paced. Anyone with a passing fancy for RPGs and who loves a well thought out and engaging story would do well to give this title a look.
Through a combination of a fleshed-out world and interesting characters, Masquerada is the rare role-playing game that really sticks with the player after the credits roll (and that's not just due to the game's cliffhanger ending). Rather than deal with trope-filled characters, every member of Songs and Shadows‘ cast feels like a real person, and this makes their actions seem much more believable when they're forced to deal with some truly terrible situations. The story is the star here, and Witching Hour Studios have crafted a narrative they should be proud of.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows in an interesting game. On one hand, we have a title that could have made a beautiful point-and-click or even a visual novel. On the other, we have the amazing adventure RPG that sees an unlikely group follow through an investigation that leads ever further down the rabbit hole.
Copious amounts of story content occasionally broken up by challenging tactical combat will keep you entertained for hours. Masquerada is a beautiful game with fantastic well written characters and a plethora of story content. If you're the type that likes to take their time and absorb themselves in the world then Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is the game for you.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a fun PS4 release with great graphics, a solid story and a ton of lore to learn. The battles are top-notch, and the customization for each of your party members thanks to the skill tree and how you can pretty try new things by asking for you points back to take a different approach for their abilities and boosts is very rewarding. Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is one you have to play on PlayStation 4. Tell your friends!
Masquerade: Songs and Shadows is worth the attention. Beautiful music with well-written text and nice combat system. Thanks to the neat combination of these elements, every RPG fan need to play it.
Review in Polish | Read full review
All in all, the game was enjoyable from start to finish and I am really hoping for a sequel. The characters were charming, the plot was exciting, and the combat system was refreshing.
A real labour of love, Masquerada is a highly enjoyable RPG effort that is absolutely drowning in audiovisual style and spectacle, even if the overly linear structure and sometimes convoluted world building detracts from the final result.
Masquerada is clearly an interesting game. But it stands to improve a little bit more. It can get tiring moving from Point A to Point B with nothing to take us away from the main quest. Despite the rich world we’re given, there’s no need for any initiative to explore such a world. It’s clear that this isn’t a game that people can keep playing for more than a few hours straight without eventually taking a break from listening to characters talk over and over again. It can get tiring and repetitive when having to follow the main story without halt.
For a freshman effort by an indie developer, there is just enough to really get your attention in Masquerada, and I look forward to seeing what Witching Hour Studios does next. Behind the mask of this game is a studio with a lot of heart, and while their first outing is ultimately flawed, their heart is sometimes all you need to make your mark in the gaming world.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows rides the line between too little and too much, and often swerves into the too little range. Between the difficult to manage combat, and the constant breaks from gameplay for story, this could have been a misfire. Fortunately, it's saved just enough by beautiful artwork, sublime voice acting, and a presentation to die for.
So Masquerada is set in the Citte of Ombre, which has a clear Venetian feel too it's design and is divided by class. At the top are the Masquerada, with access to Mascherines, masks that grant their wearers magical powers.
While there's nothing particularly poor about Songs and Shadows' story or battle system, the way they come together leaves an unwelcome void in between. When playing, it's hard not to compare it to bigger, better games like Baldur's Gate or more recent RPGs like Pillars of Eternity and Divinity. Masquerada just doesn't have the same level of rewarding complexity or seamlessness, bogged down by constant stopping and starting.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows sacrifices depth to tell an intriguing story. Its incredibly linear design keeps things moving, but between unremarkable combat and an over-reliance on exposition through a bloated codex, it's never able to fully capture your imagination. Masquerada is a stunted RPG that's entertaining enough while it lasts, but you probably won't be coming back to Ombre once it's over.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a game with an interesting world and plenty of different viewpoints to consider. The game’s narrative and dialogue are strengths and weaknesses, and it has a codex for the player to keep it all straight. Not everyone will enjoy having to invest the time to get there, but, if you can move beyond that and the frequent loading screens, the game will deliver a story with plenty of twists and turns to keep you engaged.
Masquerada declines as the plot slows down. The herky-jerky pace gets more grating, the mania for proper nouns more distracting. What looked like a scrappy little underdog RPG turns out to be a collection of worn-out ideas.
Masquerada starts out with promise. The art is bright and unique and the lore and battle system give off an aura of depth. There's just not a lot behind that first look. The beautifully-drawn courtyards and dungeons are linear and restrictive. The lore is densely written, but digging in reveals a lack of soul and meaningful drama. The battle system is an intricately carved hammer: it might look like it has a lot going on, but it really just pounds shit. Masquerada, behind the glamour of its mask, just pounds shit.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows doubles down hard on building a world of enlightening lore, but forgets to do the same for the combat and gameplay, giving the game more of a visual novel impression, which will leave a lot of players wanting if not a fan of the mentioned niche genre.
If you can fumble your way through the gameplay, you’ll find a unique and intriguing story buried beneath it. With everything you have to put up with to get to it, though, I’m not really sure it’s worth the effort.
Like its characters, Masquerada: Songs and Shadows puts on the mask of a good game. The above par voice acting and art style will certainly lead you to believe that.