Top Critic Average
The Mage’s Tale was well worth the wait for me as a PlayStation VR owner. It’s a great first-person dungeon crawler that let me experiment with its spell system and feel rewarded and powerful for doing so.
The path towards competent and engaging virtual reality games is littered with the corpses of tech demos and half-baked products. The Mage's Tale fires on many cylinders and becomes one of those mythic "must haves" not because it is simply decent but because it proves that VR has magic in it.
The Mage's Tale isn't a game that shows hints of what the future may hold for virtual reality, but rather an example that the future is now. It stands on its own as a genuinely fun experience that shows this space has started to mature. Most faults with this adventure lie in the assumption that gamers will have ample room to stand up and stretch in a large play space. Controls are also bound to suffer, since Sony's Move controllers were not designed with VR in mind. Yet the core game is solid, and those hoping to feel like a wizard-in-training need only boot up The Mage's Tale and strap on a headset.
With high production values, solid voicework, and impressive scale, The Mage's Tale was every bit worth the wait. While the controls are certainly obtuse for the platform, the fun storyline, puzzles, and spellcrafting makes it a fun addition to the Vive library.
While it's hampered by blurry visuals and some difficult object handling, The Mage's Tale still comes out on top with goofy surprises, fantastic puzzles, and satisfying exploration. Delivering up to 10 hours of play, this is a sizable experience that remains entertaining from start to finish. All in all, this is a welcome addition to the PlayStation VR library.
Story-driven VR titles are uncommon in the current realm of VR, and that needs to change sooner rather than later. The Mage's Tale has stepped in to offer a taste of what's to come with reasonable success.
In the end, The Mage's Tale is a decent, fun but flawed dungeon crawler that got a little more narrative meat than most games of its ilk. It's not quite a full-blown RPG experience, but it's enjoyable anyway.
The Mage's Tale represents an early experiment for VR RPGs -- a minor milestone. There's still a long way to go until people are "jacked-in" for hours at a time a la Sword Art Online, but with projects like this leading the way we'll get there sooner than later.
All in all, The Mage's Tale is an ambitious title that incorporates a lot of neat features that would prove charming in a perfect VR environment, but instead demonstrates the infancy of the technology when so much of it fails to register properly. There are still fun moments to be had during the instances where everything works, but an uneven control scheme results in an uneven experience regardless of intentions.