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The Bard's Tale 4 returns to Skara Brae next week

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The Bard’s Tale 4: Barrows Deep is only a few days away, drawing us back to the constantly endangered Skara Brae after a long hiatus. Slap your eyes on the launch trailer above for an overview of inXile’s dungeon crawler. 

The series itself kicked off 33 years ago, which isn’t really that long ago. I mean, I’m 33 and I’m a spring chicken and definitely not covered in grey hairs and full of aching bones. Definitely. The last proper game was 2004’s spoofy action-RPG, simply titled The Bard’s Tale. All of them are in the process of being remastered, starting with Tales of the Unknown; it launched last month. 

As for the new game, it’s going back to the series’ roots, dropping the action-RPG stuff for first-person dungeon crawling with a party of adventurers. Wes took the first few hours for a spin back in July and was particularly smitten with Bard’s Tale 4’s combat

“So far I love this combat system, which will probably be the most controversial element of The Bard's Tale 4's design. It's a far cry from the standard RPG menu of attack/defend/magic/item, with each character proceeding in turn. But even in just a few hours, there's a promising richness to this combat. I quickly found a strategy I liked: throwing down traps that stunned enemies when they were stepped on, then using my fighter's taunt to pull a unit forward onto that space.”

You’ll be able to return to Skara Brae on September 18. 

Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long. He thinks labradoodles are the best dogs but doesn't get to write about them much.