[PS4] Masquerada: Songs and Shadows Review
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a new game on PS4 that you should definitely check out. Read our Masquerada: Songs and Shadows review to see why!
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows – Launch trailer
After a short but successful campaign on Kickstarter, Witching Hour Studios secured the funds they needed for the final development leg of Masquerada: Songs and Shadows. The game released first on Steam, but it now has made its way to PS4. The story revolves around Cicero Gavar, an Inspettore exiled from the Citte of Ombre (because of something I won’t spoil here), and who has recently been summoned by the Varone to investigate the disappearance of a Regenti. With the help of Mascherines, ancient masks that provide magic abilities, you’ll go on a quest to solve this mystery. Now you’re probably wondering what’s an Inspettore or a Regenti, and it’s normal, because those are all terms used to immerse you in the universe created for the game. But fear not, as Codex entries collected throughout the game will help you understand everything thanks to their detailed explanations.
Now let’s talk a bit about the gameplay… A tactical action RPG? Personally, I had never played a game in this subgenre. Sure, I’ve played RPGs and strategy RPGs, and I was sorta expecting something similar to a strategy RPG when I dove into this one. What I found was something that reminded me more of the gambits system of Final Fantasy XII. During real-time fight sequences, you are in control of only one character of your party, with whom you can use different attacks or spells, all mapped to the four face buttons. Other characters act based on how you define the priority and triggers of their attacks, but you can always switch characters in the midst of battle if you want to handle certain situations in a different way.
Speaking of attacks and spells, the skills system is pretty easy to handle. Each character has a few abilities available, which you can unlock with skills points that are acquired at specific moments through your progression. Once unlocked, each ability has three potential upgrade levels, and some of those levels provide you with a choice between two upgrades. Depending on how you want to build your character, your choices will be important as other upgrade at the same level will be locked out.
At any point during fights, you can pause to carefully plan the moves of each of your party members, only to resume the action once you’ve made your decisions. There are also different difficulty settings available so that players of all skill levels can get to enjoy the game.
When you’re not fighting feys or maskrunners, you are mostly on a linear path around the maps to follow the fully voiced story of Cicero while also finding Codex entries to make you discover the beautiful world of the Citte and its surroundings.
Speaking of the beautiful world, this is one gorgeous game! From the cutscenes that look like a 1980’s cartoon to the beautifully rendered isometric maps and the vivid colors used for the art style, everything sets out to captivate your eyes. As for the music, I personally don’t remember the last time a game marked me as much as this one. It’s a mix of choirs and orchestral music that fits perfectly in the Venetian world of Masquerada, that you can even get for free (or name your price to support the artist) on Bandcamp.
But what will surely grab you most of all, is the game’s story. The way it’s told, with all the politics and mysteries, is what makes this game truly shine. I was literally sucked in by the story, wanting to continue further and further into the plot to find out more about what’s happening and where the story was leading me
I truly loved this game. As soon as the intro cutscene started, I was hooked – and that was even before the tutorial (that you should definitely play, as it contains some major story elements)! The combat and upgrade systems are simple enough for anyone to pick up, but have the depth needed for more advanced players to get the most out of the game. If you want to find all the Codex entries and all optional dialogues in the game, you’ll probably be going through the chapter select that’s available, which adds a lot of replay value to the game. Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is without a doubt the biggest surprise for me so far this year, and a must-play on PlayStation 4!
This Masquerada: Songs and Shadows review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Ysbryd Games.