Zoria Age of Shattering Review: Much more than meets the eye

Following in the footsteps of AAA titles such as Baldur’s Gate 3 is no easy matter. In my review, I’ll look at how Zoria: Age of Shattering fairs when compared to some of the big guns competing in the turn-based fantasy RPG arena.

Recommended Videos

Progression

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

I’ll admit that early on, I had my doubts about Zoria: Age of Shattering. Character creation gives you nine largely standard classes, followed by the obligatory visual choices, but that’s your lot. The graphics are also solid, if a little underwhelming. You’re then thrust through a standard fantasy plot before arriving in a besieged castle.

What’s immediately apparent is this is going to be a loot fest. I had more than 50 items in my inventory before I ventured outside for my first battle, and I had already had both cooking and alchemy crafting opportunities. That said, with an inventory boasting 280 spaces and no weight limit (hurrah!), there was plenty of room for more…

A nice touch is starting on level one but getting a level 7 companion immediately. This gives you insight into what’s to come, makes early battles more interesting, and allows you to experiment early. It's very much a learning cliff as you discover aggro ranges, how real-time exploration flows into turn-based combat, and rules such as line-of-sight and attack ranges. However, once you have it down, the whole process is satisfying, leaving out much of the faff while keeping the essentials that make a game fun.

Score: 4/5 Stars

Related: How to clear Cursed Land in Zoria Age of Shattering

Combat

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

It won’t take you long to get up to your full complement of four party members. While there’s a small element of luck (small chances to miss, plus the obligatory critical hits), combat is largely plannable and satisfying. Plenty of DOTs, damage types, and resistances keep you on your toes, while enemies are challenging and varied. The Initiative stat sets the turn order, and companions usually have two Action Points (AP) to spend in a round. Movement and skills both use AP and can be used in any order. When an enemy or ally is within range of a skill, they’ll have it shown above them, allowing movement to be precise. 

The transition into combat can be a little wonky. Your main companion acts as the leader and is always at the center of a 5x5 Formation Grid you can change at any time. However, when you move, you’ll lead by a few seconds, and your companions will have to catch up. The direction you’re facing also obviously affects this, meaning that when you switch to the turn-based mode, you can start in some pretty awful positions if you're caught out or rushing. While annoying, I guess there’s an accuracy to this which I came to appreciate. Again, in terms of spell effects and the like, the graphics and sound are so-so. 

Score: 4/5 Stars

Questing

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Exploration in Zoria: Age of Shattering is fine, but nothing to write home about. Holding the tab key reveals anything interesting nearby, and there’s plenty to find. But pathing can be dodgy, characters can get left behind at crucial times, and maps tend to be small and uninspiring. They’re perfectly fine but certainly not a highlight.

Quests are largely telegraphed (go to the flag on the map, pick up the shiny object) and a little predictable, but they work well in moving the well-written if a little cliched fantasy plot along. There are some nice characters, though, and you begin to feel a kindred spirit growing among some of the NPCs. Overall, it feels functional and doesn’t get in the way, but narrative RPG fans are not going to get as much out of the game as those who are more into the loot and the battling. 

Score: 3/5 Stars

Related: How to sell and repair gear in Zoria Age of Shattering

Depth

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

It is here that Zoria both surprised and delighted me. Once your main character reaches level seven or eight, you’ll arrive on your map area to a keep. Up to this point, you’ve been spoonfed a few companions, but once you get to the keep, the game opens up in a big way. You quickly have an entourage of companions to switch between and experiment with, as well as a whole keep to manage, and a large number of side quests and options to explore.

You can use your spare companies to go on quests or upgrade parts of your keep, opening up even more options and abilities as you do so. It all runs around two currencies: gold and supplies. Almost everything you do requires supplies, but these are easily available from multiple sources (buy them, craft them, etc). It’s a satisfying balancing act with interesting decisions, but that takes a few minutes to explore and get the hang of rather than taking over the whole game. It feels just right, complimenting the action rather than being a chore.

Score: 5/5 Stars

Verdict: A deep and original fantasy RPG experience

Zoria: Age of Shattering is more than the sum of its parts because, taken individually, few of the individual parts rise above average. However, what the development team has done beautifully is get the proportions of each element just right, making for a highly satisfying game experience that, after a tough learning start, expands beautifully and surprisingly. It's a huge game that will richly reward those willing to put the time and effort into exploring it. 

A free copy of the game was provided to PGG by the publisher for review purposes.

For more on Zoria check out Zoria Age of Shattering – Should you choose Devana or Rosha to go with you? and Ranger Build Guide – Zoria Age of Shattering here at Pro Game Guides!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get updates on your favorite games!

About the Author

Chris Marling is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience across newspapers, magazines, and websites. Based in the UK, he has written professionally on everything from tech to tearooms. But his real passion is gaming, going right back to the Atari 2600 - and especially RPGs and MMOs. He cut his teeth on games such as The Realm and Anarchy Online. But 20 years on still gets excited about exploring each new world. When not online, you'll find him gaming analog-style around the table. Chris has had five of his own board games published, including Pioneer Days and Armageddon.

Write A Comment

Zoria Age of Shattering Review: Much more than meets the eye

Comments are on moderation and will be approved in a timely manner. Please read the following rules before commenting:

  • All comments must be on topic and add something of substance to the post
  • No swearing or inappropriate words
  • No asking or begging for anything free
  • Do not attempt to start a poll in the comments
  • Comments in all CAPS will be removed
  • We reserve the right to remove a comment for any reason
  • Do not impersonate a staff member or influencer

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.