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PS4 / PS5 Game Review

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The Hand of Merlin


Format: PS4 / PS5
Publisher: Versus Evil
Developer: Room-C Games / Croteam
RRP: £24.99
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Age Restrictions: 16+
Release Date: 14 June 2022

The Hand of Merlin is a turn-based rogue-lite RPG in which Arthurian legend clashes with cosmic horror. Recruit a company of up to three mortal heroes and guide them in spirit on a desperate journey from Albion to Jerusalem. Explore a richly-imagined medieval setting on the brink of apocalypse. Trade with merchants, improve your heroes and unearth ancient relics. Search for the lost fragments of your soul, scattered across the multiverse - and save as many worlds as you can...

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Those familiar with the Arthurian legends will find plenty to enjoy

Those that are even slightly familiar with the Arthurian legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin and the quest for The Holy Grail will find plenty to get excited about here. But even if you've no idea what any of that means this still works wonderfully as an engaging RPG.

With your three warriors you'll trek across the lands of Albion, Marca Hispanica and Al-Andalus. On the way you'll come across friends and foes and situation where you can help villages in peril... or you can ignore all of this and instead focus on your main quest as you plod ever onwards.

One of the aspect that I really enjoyed about The Hand of Merlin was how they incorporated a Fighting Fantasy style adventure aspect into the gameplay. So between the turn-based fights you'll be reading about the events, that are unfolding in your adventure, in a book. Here you can choose from several options on various aspects of your current location. And, on occasion, your options will come down to an element of luck and in these instances you'll be shown a number of cards. Some say "success" on them, with others branded "failure". The cards are turned over and mixed around and you have to try and pick one that has "success" printed on it.

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A Fighting Fantasy style aspect is incorporated into the gameplay

The other main element of the game is the turn based combat system that sees your team taking on enemies. At the start of the game it's simple, low level enemies that are easy to defeat, but the difficulty does ramp up as you progress. You also unlock new abilities for your characters, as well as items that provide an advantage in battle. You can also upgrade your weapons and armour.

As you jump from one parallel dimension to the next, history is reshaped. Different kings rule the land, changing the encounters, characters, and events. No two worlds are ever quite the same, and each journey will be unique. And should your heroes fall, remember: defeat is not the end, only a new beginning. There are as many worlds as there are stars in the sky. In each stands Camelot; in each there is a Grail. But there is only one Merlin, and his eternal burden is to stand against the horror from beyond. Each world that is saved is saved forever; each world that is lost is lost for good.

A deep and rewarding game.


Darren Rea

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£25 Playstation Network Card