The newest entry in the long-running dungeon crawling RPG series known as The Bard’s Tale is releasing next week. Subtitled Barrows Deep, players will control a group of adventurers as they once again attempt to save the town of Skara Bree (no relation to the town from the Ultima series).
The game’s Steam store page describes the evil that plagues the town:
Over one hundred years later, the terrible events of Skara Brae’s violent destruction are nearly forgotten. Hidden in the shadows, an evil has waited patiently. Until now. Fanatics are gathering control, the famous Adventurer’s Guild has been outlawed and its members persecuted, and you must rise up in defiance to become the hero that the realm needs. Featuring 40+ hours of gameplay, 350 speaking parts, and over 100 pieces of incredible music.
As a series, The Bard’s Tale began back in 1985. It was created by Michael Cranford and developed by Interplay Productions (1985-1991) and inXile Entertainment (2004-present). The very first game had a party of adventurers saving the town from an evil mage who has sealed the town off from society with a spell of eternal winter. The series had three more games. Two of these were grid-based dungeon crawlers like the original, while the 2004 release, simply titled The Bard’s Tale, was a tongue-in-cheek action-RPG.
The newest game, like its original predecessors, is a first-person grid-based dungeon crawler where you move the party around various locations while looking for treasure. When combat starts, instead of going to the time-honored RPG menu-based fighting system, the battle takes place on a grid where characters and their foes take turns moving around and fighting each other.
The Bard’s Tale 4: Barrows Deep will be available September 18 for $35. If you’re looking for something older yet refreshingly new, you can pick up a remastered version of the first three games for $15 on Steam or Good Old Games.