The Serpent Rogue | PS5 Review
The Serpent Rogue, developed by Sengi Games and published by Team17, is an adventure role-playing game set in a mystical fantasy world overrun by darkness and corruption. It is currently available on Windows PC,PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
The Serpent Rogue puts you in the role of a mysterious character known only as The Warden. You're an alchemist who can craft, brew and concoct potions of all different manners to help you in your mission of protecting the realm from the ominous Serpent Rogue. The Serpent Rogue, which is essentially a black mass of corruption, has set roots down in Mount Morbus and its evil and corruption is spreading quickly. Your job is to defeat the Serpent Rogue and restore peace back to the lands, while learning new potions, crafting new items, and finding new paths as you progress.
The Serpent Rogue really surprised me from the very beginning. I try to go into all my games as fresh as possible with little background knowledge or bias. Firstly, the visuals were really impressive. The opening scenes really showcased the game very well and immediately had me impressed and intrigued. Whilst the graphics had a fresh and clean style to them, the game also felt incredibly nostalgic for some reason, and it set the tone very well for me. Alongside the visuals, I also really enjoyed the audio, the general sound effects were great, and the music was also excellent too and helped set the scene in a lovely way. The next surprise came when I found that this game took inspiration from so many genres. Whilst it’s an RPG; it also heavily leans into the survival genre in the sense that you have to gather everything. For example, your stamina is tied to your hunger levels, so if you manage to gather plenty of food, you can have a full stamina bar, but if you die, you lose this. Alongside this, when you die you lose all your stuff from your inventory and if you want it back you’ll need to go and pick it back up again from wherever you died - how Soulsborne of them.
My biggest critique of the game is definitely the lack of tutorials. There are some aspects that are really well explained; and then there are others that simply seem to fall by the wayside in terms of explanation. It’s very common in survival games that there isn’t too much hand holding and The Serpent Rogue is no different, and it left me very much stuck and unable to progress much for quite a few hours. I think in my first five hours of gameplay I quite literally achieved nothing and whilst I’ve experienced this many times in survival games, this felt much worse than normal, and it really detracted from the charm that the rest of the game held for me. The crafting system is absolutely vital in this game and early on I felt like I had access to next to nothing but needed EVERYTHING. Every time I’d get one of the components I needed, I was dying and had lost it to corruption that I couldn’t kill, no matter how hard I tried. However, I eventually learned that the approach to combat in The Serpent Rogue is very different to most games and is arguably very creative; but it very much went over my head for far too long for me to enjoy it initially. Eventually, I managed to get some crafting recipes and started to progress slowly but surely, but I do imagine that for many the stumbling blocks would be very off-putting as there is A LOT of backtracking required to progress.
The Serpent Rogue has real potential to provide many hours of entertainment once you figure out how to navigate the game and, most importantly, learn how to survive. I’m a big fan of survival games, but certainly found some aspects difficult to pick up on and function with. Does this make it a bad game? Not necessarily; however, it could really have benefited greatly from some better tutorials to help players learn exactly what is expected of them. Other than the initial confusion and struggles, I was very impressed by the general and look forward to future releases from Sengi Games as there's visible potential for excellent games with concepts that challenge the norm.
Lj’s Rating: 3.5 crazy concoctions out of 5.
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