DESTINY QUEST - THE EYE OF WINTER’S FURY
We often forget how short adventure game books are. The ‘turn to page 400’ format chops up the narrative in such a way that you’re essentially getting a novella length story surrounded by the trappings of a book. The Destiny Quest series breaks this mould by simply being huge in size, and using clever game design innovations to tell a neat interleaved narrative that is also a game
The plot of Winter’s Fury is the usual fantasy affair. You’re a young and privileged prince, with access to resources that you can’t use properly. The kingdom that is your home is plagued with monsters and evil that only you can deal with. The story is told through a series of modular adventures. Each is a short story in its own right, and you can choose to skip many of these quests if you so wish. Doing so risks missing out on valuable equipment, however. Some sections are mandatory, and they all stack up to tell a rather dark story with some brilliantly written set pieces.
One criticism of the book (and, in fact, the whole series) is the rather silly inclusion of a pack of evil magic users referred to as The Wiccans. The use of this term to describe supernatural monsters is pretty jarring. In the UK, Wicca is a recognised religion, and every time an attack by Wiccans in mentioned, it’s impossible to picture them as anything else than a bunch of rather kind looking people with too much eyeliner, shiny jewellery and a preference for lentils. Apart from this, the monsters are pretty cool and the book features ‘boss fight’ sections that are splendid fun.
It is flawed in some key places. For a start, it has way too many little rules. Though old-fashioned gamers may delight in all the little extras, it makes the game unsuitable for low attention span-style casual play. Having to flip to the back of the book to check every other trait and sub-rule gets old after a while, and the combat simply requires way too many dice. Those looking to read this book on train will have to cheat, which is a pity because the mechanics are a key part of the experience.
Overall, Destiny Quest - The Eye of Winter’s Fury is a worthy addition to the growing range of adventure game books out there. It’s heavily written style and dark tone make it a pleasing (if odd) mix, one that is not swiftly forgotten. We look forward to seeing what Mr Ward does next.
INFO: AUTHOR: MICHAEL J WARD / PUBLISHER: GOLLANCZ / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW