Arran's world has been plunged into darkness. A curse known as Layman's curse has been placed by the Nightcaster in his bid to crush humanity. Arran sacrifices his childhood in his bid to prepare himself to face the Nightcaster. After years of seclusion, learning magic and preparing to save his people, Arran returns to his home to find that his parents have been killed and hoards of the Nightcaster's minions roam the world. In order to restore order Arran must reunite the four essences of magic. These are fire, water, light and dark. Doing this will give Arran the essential power to fight the Nightcaster.
The enemies that Arran will face are element based and Arran must use the relevant magic to deal with them. If Arran is facing a fire elemental enemy then his best course of action is to use a water spell against them. Using the incorrect spell to attack an enemy is almost useless and will result in combat becoming a drawn out affair. This idea of the correct spell for an enemy gives the game a strategical twist but also makes it needlessly cumbersome. Most enemies come from spawners. Unless the spawners are destroyed the enemies will continue to spawn. Other enemies include Beasties, Brutes, Beguiler's and Bosses. There are many occasions when Arran will have to run away from a whole army of foes in order to survive. The hit and run tactics that must be employed if Arran is to survive can be a little irritating after a while. As Arran progresses through the game he can collect runes that enable him to form a shield against enemy spells and this lessens some of the frustration somewhat.
As we have mentioned earlier, Arran's spells are element based. During the game, at any one time Arran will be aligned with one particular school of magic and this will make those spells stronger. In other words if Arran is aligned with the school of water then all his water spells are stronger than they would be normally. There are various spell school changers in the game and Arran can change his alignment whenever he wants.
Thankfully Nightcaster has been subtitled. Only the noises from the approaching enemies and the grunts from Arran himself are unsubtitled. One complaint that can be made though is that you can't recall any objectives that have been given. The text is quite large and very easy to read. The manual is quite good and explains all you need to know to get started with the game.
Visually Nightcaster looks good. All the character models look solid and have been wonderfully animated. One of the downfalls of the game that will prevent you from appreciating the graphics is the poor, overhead camera angle. Arran uses an orb to aim his spells at his enemies. If there are no enemies then the orb can be put away and the camera switches to just behind Arran which is fine but when he is attacking and aiming with the orb the view switches to overhead and this makes things a little disorientating.
Despite the niggles with the game, Nightcaster can actually be quite enjoyable. Poor camera angles and repetitive 'run for your life' combat prevent the game from being a classic game but for XBOX owners looking for something different this could be the title you've been looking for.
Overall Game Rating: 7.4/10 NightCaster is one of those games that you know could have been great if it wasn't for a few niggles. If you're looking for something different though this is still worth a try.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems for the deaf gamer here. The only thing missing is the occasional word from Arran and the noises from the enemies.