Testament: Order of High Human is the latest first-person RPG game from Fairyship Games. The game aims to make a mark in the RPG genre by adding a larger focus on platforming and puzzle elements as an added challenge as well as metroidvania elements. Fairyship Games aims to provide an intimate story-telling that is far from the usual titles The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Now, were they able to do that? Does the game have something unique to offer? Here’s my full review.
Testament: Order of High Human Storyline
Testament follows the story of Aran, a fallen king of an immortal race called high-humans and he is tasked by a creed of higher beings called “The Seekers” to rule over the realm of Tessara.
However, his brother Arva betrayed him by riding him of his powers to seek control over the realm. With his powers gone, Aran has to move forward on his journey and confront foes and friends while unlocking the mysteries of the realm.
I know, the story sounds cliche with one hero fighting his brother or the villain while traveling the world. But what’s interesting is how the developers built the story.
See, the game follows a linear storyline and you find out more about the world, and its characters as you progress. However, there are several side quests and items that add flavor to the meal as you pick them up.
I am a fan of the way they decided to unveil the story since it breaks away from in-your-face storytelling in some of the more traditional linear RPGs. There is also a journal that you can access to revisit the unlocked chapters of the story.
There is even a backstory about every character including the roaming monsters. For instance, the goblin-like creature called Halflings has its own journal entry.
All in all, is it the best story out there? Not really but it offers an immersive story experience that is far from the usual. The potential is there but right now, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Visuals and Audio
Testament: Order of High Human does an excellent job when it comes to its visuals. The environment looks great and immersive. The world feels lived in, and I enjoyed roaming around its forests and visiting different settlements.
However, the character design looks average, especially with Aran. He looks too generic and there are no distinct features except for his tattoos.
You know what’s disappointing? Drop by the character screen and you cannot even spin or zoom around to check Aran’s features. There is no customization available for Aran either, which takes away from the “RPG” experience of Testament.
The monsters and villains look threatening though, especially the design of the Dark Spawns. Some monsters like the halflings look generic but it’s alright.
In-game visuals would have been perfect but I encountered areas with a lot of clipping. It might be the test build I played that is possibly fixed in the final release.
To be fair, the environment has impressed me, especially with max settings on. Just look at the lighting, contrast, and wood textures in the image below.
The in-game audio is great. The ambient music kept me alert all throughout the game since an enemy might pop out at any time.
There is a bit of an issue though. I noticed a slight audio delay on some parts especially footsteps when in stealth mode. Other than that, the audio is acceptable.
Like other games, Testament: Order of High Human has several tutorials and tooltips at the start. These tips are much-needed since you will have to combine some techniques to conquer some challenges. The good thing though, is you can access the tutorial easily for a quick overview.
The gameplay is too ambitious with a lot going on that would have worked if the game was in third-person. The platform and puzzle mechanics is a great addition to the otherwise, same-old RPG mechanics. It gave me something to look forward to, especially when encountering puzzle chests.
The platforming challenges are great and are the right mix of hard but fair. There are some challenges that are head-scratching but it adds to the allure of the game. The inclusion of wall running makes the platform areas a joy to explore.
I also like the open-ended exploration that Metroidvania titles offer. Some purists may argue that it is not part of the genre since it is not 2D yet, but I still think it fits the genre well. You have to explore and gain power-ups in a non-linear fashion and that is considered Metroidvania right?
Moving on, there is a skill tree that offers multiple build opportunities. It is up to you to explore and figure out what to level up first. There are several magic slots too wherein you can mix and match spells depending on the situation.
There is a “wheel of consumables” that lets you craft powerups and combat upgrades. I like this mechanic since it removes the need of looking for a crafting area before heading to a fight. You just have to explore and collect Shards of Creation since crafting is expensive.
Moreover, the gameplay offers a lot of in-game tips to guide you. Open the journal and you will see the movement tutorials, enemy types, bosses, and characters. It is an open guide that you can access whenever you need to refresh your memory.
The main quest is easy to follow while the side quests are lackluster unlike The Witcher 3 where you can focus on side quests for several days before doing the main quests.
The lack of minimap takes a lot of time to get used to. There is an indicator in the compass as a guide toward completing the activated quests. However, with a huge map like Tessara, I think there should be one since I experienced running around in circles for an hour before finally reaching the goal.
The inventory has two sections. One is for consumables that you use for crafting and the other one is for story items. There’s no way to customize this one so it’s just a screen to monitor what you currently have.
The gameplay also involves “Insight”. Aran sees things that are otherwise hidden using this skill. Using insight highlights items, the enemy’s weakness, trails, and other hidden objectives.
I found myself using insight all throughout the game since there is no mana cost to it. Except for real-life migraine since it emits a white glow on-screen and that made me dizzy.
Combat and Controls
Testament supports both mouse and keyboard and controller. I highly suggest using MnK since there are a lot of things going on at the same time. Combat mechanics is where the game starts to fall off. It felt clunky, sluggish, and feels like it is pulled out of a 2010 game. Even then, there are early 2010s titles that do a better job compared to Testament.
There are three weapons that you can use in the game – sword, bow, and magic. You get to pick up a weapon upgrade as you progress in the game.
However, you are stuck with whatever bow or sword that game gives you. There are no customization options here except for the type of arrows you can use. You may use the craftable consumables that add elemental powers to your weapons but that’s about it.
There is a stealth kill option in the game but it is a hit or miss. Sometimes the enemy detects me even if I am behind a wall and there are instances wherein I can stealth kill a monster while directly in front of them.
Switching between combat weapons is also slow. There’s a noticeable delay when switching between a sword, bow, and magic.
Speaking of magic, using spells in combat is very inconsistent and frustrating. First, switching to magic has a delay, and then, casting a spell takes a lot of time. I can count on my hand the number of times I died trying to cast a spell.
The combat system does not offer chain combos. You may unlock the attack combo in the skill tree. But the attack sequence starts once you are done with the combo.
There are ways to avoid damage such as dashing in any direction. It is also possible to stop an enemy by timing your attack. But, that is very challenging considering the number of monsters trying to kill you.
Combat using Insight is a great way to defeat enemies swiftly since an arrow shot to the weak spot is a one-hit kill. This is fun and it made me feel rewarded with my bow accuracy.
The good thing here is you can craft and change spells while fighting. It reminded me of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild wherein I can attack, craft a powerup, and get ready for the next spell.
This is one of the reasons why the game felt too ambitious. There are a lot of things that the developers want you to do while having limited resources.
The combat mechanics would have been better if it was in the third person. Sometimes I am fighting a horde and suddenly a monster is attacking my rear. The combat indicator is too small and at times, delayed, so I cannot respond in time.
The Souls game-inspired Testament’s melee combat is pretty challenging and takes a lot to get used to. Timing slashes and dodging opponents is rewarding.
If you are looking for an RPG with hack-and-slash combat, this is not the game for you. The combat system will challenge you and it gets harder because of the lackluster game mechanics.
Testament: Order of High Human Final Thoughts
Testament: Order of High Human is an ambitious RPG game that had a lot of potential. The developers wrote an engaging story and they executed it in a non-linear and interesting manner. The combination of Metroidvania elements, platforming, and puzzle mechanics is one of the reasons why I would open the game and spend time on it.
In addition, the visual design and animation look stellar. However, the lackluster combat mechanics and gameplay hold the game back from its true potential. It is not bad in its current state but, it is not good either.
What did you think of our Testament: Order of High Human Review? Share what you think about it in the comments below.
This review is based on the PC version of Testament: Order of High Human. The key was provided bthere Renaissance PR.