By Chris Picone, 15 July 2023
Testament: The Order of High Human is an ambitious first person ARPG by Fairship Games. It's about a fallen god, usurped by his evil brother, who must regain his powers with the help of the Seekers to restore the world to light.
Testament offers around 40 hours of gameplay and I'm only a few hours in so far, but I already feel like I've got a good idea where the game's going. Aesthetically, it's impressive, particularly coming from a small indie team. The graphics aren't quite AAA, but they're pretty damn good, and the voice acting's high quality too. As an ARPG the focus is on combat carried by story rather than any actual roleplaying, and although maybe not executed as well as it could have been, I think the combat's one of the game's strengths. The fights are arena-based and you're regularly outnumbered so you need to put some thought into your approach. This typically means using your bow to pick off ranged attack enemies, or to thin out their numbers before closing in. I'll often try to take out the wolves here if I can, because they're lower to the ground, faster, and jump when they attack, making them much harder to hit than most bipedal enemies. When you do close in, stealth is your best friend as it might allow you to get a couple of sneak attack kills, evening out the playing field further before engaging whoever's left in melee. Initially you'll want to block or dodge the enemy's attacks, then try to hit them with a combo in the opening you'll create (a successful block creates a temporary stun). This gets harder as the enemies get tougher, of course, but in that time you'll also unlock magic spells you can use in conjunction with your attacks to help you keep the upper hand. So the combat is decent but could be better - more nuance or better use of the environment would be nice, and the enemy's attacks can be pretty repetitive. The story unfolds slowly as you play through, with little bits of lore sprinkled here and there through the protagonist's comments and found letters while the overarching plot is delivered piecemeal through short cutscenes. The story itself is a little cliche, unfortunately, and the writing decent quality but not amazing, but it's enough to keep you invested in the game and moving from combat to combat as you explore the land. There are also some puzzle segments to help break the combat monotony, similar to those found in Jedi: Fallen Order, but they're fairly linear and revolve around hitting switches, a little uninspired.
The verdict? Is it perfect? No - but it's full of promise and already has a lot to offer. I feel like the game could have benefitted from an Early Access release but in any case, I'm enjoying Testament and plan to continue playing for many more hours yet. If you're looking for a fantasy version of Jedi, it's worth the look, and hopefully the devs will continue to improve the game as feedback rolls in.