Bards Tale IV announced


Well, John Walker is not impressed which isn’t surprising in the least.

I finally got this installed last night, had a quick poke around but it works fine. Settings tweaking will be required but even on Ultra it’s quite playable as long as I turn the horrific motion blur off (probably half the cause of the sickness complaints). Alas it won’t play ball with my gsync monitor, but it undoubtedly runs better with vsync off, so I’m putting up with a bit of tearing. The patch roadmap looks good. I made the mistake of looking at the comments though, it seems a lot of people are unreasonably angry at the world and everything in it.

Star Control Origins launches in a little over half a day so I’ll probably spend time with that until a patch or two drops. Hopefully some of the QOL improvements mentioned above make it in sooner than later.


After another bit of playtime tonight, I’m still not feeling it. It’s not hooking me and it feels unusually clunky. I’ll still give it a solid go, but a little at a time, and I’m happy I only did the early bard KS level for this right now. Maybe it’ll turn around with some patches and as I get into the story a bit. I sort of expected a rollicking adventure tale with humour and hijinks and wild shenanigans. Ah well, we’ll see.


I had a slow time with it yesterday. My thought is it needs some refining. I am sure there is a good game in there but… maybe 4 months?


Standard Steam forums behaviour. An absolute cesspit of humanity on there. Unless a game isn’t exactly what they demand, it’s the worst piece of shit ever and hey dev, you’re getting a negative review. I’d expect that most people buying Bards Tale are likely around 40 years old. That people still behave like that at 40 is something I find very difficult to process.


The “Digital” Codewheel is… fucking stupid.

It’s a PDF you have to fucking print out and assemble. Yeah, so digital.

I mean I love the idea of having the old code wheel. But my printer can’t even connect to my computer anymore it’s so old. A Digital Codewheel should be a small app/exe that replicates the physical thing, not fucking directions to assemble one.

I’m enjoying the game itself quite a bit, but this is one thing that makes me want to shake Brian Fargo.

There are a lot of little niggles here and there. Like… why can’t I spec the NPCs? Or respec them at least? I just hired replacements and now my whole party is me and random dudes I made that were spec’d how I wanted. Those story beats are history I guess.

Other than weird shit like the wheel and specs I’m pretty happy with it.

Edit: Went on the forums and someone is a fucking hero out there and did what Inxile should have:
Actual digital codewheel.


“Cesspit of humanity”. Love it!


Just so its clear, there are puzzles in game that you need the code wheel to solve. They’re optional as far as I know. But. . . yeah. WTF.


It’s just a nostalgia thing. Don’t make too much of it.


The app thing works and I got a neat trinket from the one thing I used it on, so I’m still firmly in the annoyed camp, but at least I can work around it now.


A proper use of quotation marks if I ever saw one. My thoughts exactly.


That is used to solve in-game puzzles.


Fired it up for the first time last night. Played for a little more than an hour, working my way through the intro bit, creating a new Fighter character to replace the Bard you control at the start, then worked through the story to the point where I’ve had several encounters/battles and discovered a few secrets in the underground city.

My thoughts echo many of the above posts. While I had no serious technical issues, and did not experience any motion sickness, I DID change my graphics options early on to try and avoid any framerate issues before they happened. I’m using a 1050Ti 4GB, and I left the textures and details on Ultra, but set shadows to Medium and another setting I can’t recall right now to High. I left the view distance at the default. Using these settings there was still a fair bit of hesitation and “jankiness” during transitions, but nothing that was show stopping.

The audio worked perfectly for me throughout, and man,did they produce some beautiful audio for this game. In addition to a cast featuring many very nice and natural sounding Scottish brogue accents, the music and in particular the female vocals are excellent. I actually stopped a few times while walking around just to listen to NPC conversation and/or singing. A game about bards should feature a great soundtrack, and so far this has been delivering.

I am not a fan of the Save Totem system. Fuck that noise. This is 2018, and if I am spending my valuable and limited game time playing a complex RPG I want to be able to save anywhere. I’m also not in love with the combat system. It feels kind of clunky, and it lacks strategy. I’m hoping that will change as you add more members to the party. I don’t like the graphical aspect of combat, how it looks like the monsters are on a stage and your party is in the orchestra pit. I feel like I’m watching MST3K when I’m in combat.

Still, the game is beautiful, the story so far is engaging and interesting, and nothing has turned me off so much that I don’t want to continue playing. The improvements mentioned in the roadmap are very much needed, and I would argue for a few additional enhancements as well (like a save anywhere option), but overall my initial impression of Bard’s Tale IV is that it is doing justice to its ancestry while updating the series to mostly modern design (save points excepted).

Oh, and I wondered what that code wheel magic exuding thingy I found in the underground city was. Now I know I need the “digital” code wheel to interact with it. I’ll have to download that app on my Surface so I can bring it up while playing on my main PC. I also received an email with codes for backer content, including a walkthrough, a manual and some in-game items, so I guess I should activate that stuff too.


Just a warning for everyone - don’t try to solve any of your puzzle weapons while equipped. They will not save their solved status, but will additionally eat up the reagent you use to power the weapon.

How this missed QA, who the hell knows.


It wasn’t missed in QA.


Wait, really? You need it for the game, and they expect people to print it out on paper and assemble themselves? It’s 2018, who still has a printer?

I haven’t played BT4 yet, waiting on that first patch.


I said as much in the post above yours :P

Again, and AFAIK, it’s not for any puzzle that is required to progress the story. Just side puzzles. And not all side puzzles, just certain types. But yes, this was an an incredibly stupid decision on inXile’s part. Like, either plan for a digital version of the wheel from the get go. Or don’t use the mechanic. The fact that the puzzles are optional doesn’t excuse the poor decision.

You could brute force the puzzles I believe. But as they require you to insert items from your inventory, and you wind up with a lot of different types of items in your inventory, that would be a long and tedious process.


That’s even worse.


You could… but there are like 100 items. And you need 2 of them.

9900 possible attempts. With a slow, somewhat clunky interface.

So you can’t remotely brute force them really.


I should be clear:

In Beta there was a larger bug where sometimes they didn’t work at all. Although some people had success solving the first stages, they never worked for me (crashed on gem insert) or others, and I never used them when equipped. It was a widely reported issue. I stopped playing soon after Beta started but followed some of the updates and it’s clear they were working on the bug and I am pretty sure they announced it was fixed at one point. I do not believe they knowingly released the “still broke when equipped” bug, but I think they screwed up their own fix somehow. It happens. It doesn’t look good when it does, to be sure.


Wow, that is hella-stupid. Even stupider than saying “hella”.