Batora: Lost Haven Review

Batora: Lost Haven by developer Stormind Games and publisher Team17Microsoft Xbox Series X review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Batora: Lost Haven came out a little under a year ago, and it’s promising mix of action, RPG and puzzle elements had long been of interest to me, but until recently I hadn’t yet played it. The developer for Batora: Lost Haven is the someone who made Remothered – a horror game that is pretty much the polar opposite of Batora’s bright visuals and gameplay.

That being said, don’t let Batora’s pleasing (almost adorable) visuals fool you. It looks vibrant, but there’s still some underlay of darker themes here. Choice weighs heavily into the gameplay, and the further you get into Batora’s twisting narrative, the more it feels like you are making some morally gray decisions out of necessity. These choices certainly feel meaty (and lend a great deal of replay value in the process), as they impact dialog and the spirit that tags along with you during those trials. It is interesting because I didn’t see hard forks in the path (like more binary good / evil morality systems seen in many games). All of this makes some sense, as the game itself is not terribly long, which likely leans into that aforementioned replay value to see if you can make things a bit different on subsequent playthroughs.  

There is a bit of tonal inconsistency that struck me as a bit odd at times. It’s sort of a dark theme – worlds are dying. Yet our protagonist, Avril, gets strange powers and finds herself making tough choices with no real right or wrong answers. Her sister perished with her world’s destruction. Avril is traveling with her best friend Mila, which likely helps Avril’s mindset throughout the journey, but I found Avril a bit light-hearted given the circumstances. As a character who was previously pretty ordinary and now sees these terrible things happen, it just felt… off.

Combined with really solid combat and some interesting (if light) RPG and puzzle elements, Batora: Lost Haven does a lot of things well. A few things really well. However, there are times that lack of singular focus keeps any single aspect of the game from being excellent. The combat is really solid – but not something that I really enjoyed most of the time. It starts off well enough, but the further I got into the game, the more the combat started to feel very same-y, with less squishy opponents that created longer engagements that felt a bit more chore-like by the end. It never got the point of being bad, but my enjoyment dwindled the longer I played. This might be dubbed an action-RPG, but it lacks the flow of better ARPG titles like the Diablo games.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything interesting to the combat. You attain new skills as you go, and there’s a sort of binary state of having to match your enemies’ state in order to damage them that we’ve seen in other titles that works well. It’s a snappy feature that keeps the early progression from being little more than button mashing. I just wish the enemies were a bit more imaginative and interesting, but after awhile they just feel like more of the same.

Thankfully I enjoyed the boss encounters quite a bit more. They were interesting, with the developers really taking the time to make these encounters the sort of unique culmination one would expect. A couple of them were almost devious, but there’s a genuine sense of satisfaction when their health bars are depleted and I was celebrating their demise.

Additionally, most of the puzzles feel pretty good, but a handful were borderline frustrating and a couple that I found just downright annoying. Thankfully these were far more the exception than the rule, with most of the puzzles feeling pretty organic to the gameplay and rewarding upon completion. Unfortunately the couple that really strained my patience made me feel as though I just wasn’t quite ‘good enough’ and thought perhaps my adventure was going to stall out before I had that ah-ha moment and progressed through them.

One area that could have used more fine tuning was the camera. I enjoyed the colorful visuals that rather reminded me of the Torchlight titles, but the camera has no ability to swivel the view. You can move to a fixed distance either close or further away and that was it. Generally the camera itself is in good positions, and seldom did I find the environments obtrusive – but a bit more control would have been nice

Batora: Lost Haven is a pleasant game that mashes up a few genres pretty well. As is often the case for a game like this however, it becomes a case of doing several things well but none of them great. It’s enjoyable, but never really seems to fully reach its potential. I played through it a couple of times and started through a third session before I felt like I had played it enough. I’m glad I did, even if Batora left me wanting just a little bit more in the end.

Score: 7 / 10



Post a Comment

Random posts

Our Streamers

Susan "Jagtress" N.

S.M. Carrière

Louis aka Esefine



JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada

JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada
Light, Medium and Dark Roast Coffee available.

Blog Archive