Recently RPGamer was afforded the chance to check out a short pre-alpha demo of Tiny Shark Interactive's upcoming open-world RPG Exzore: The Rising. The clear early state of the demo, played on a machine where the build's current lack of optimisation didn't allow it to perform nearly as well as it might have, made it difficult to take away anything regarding the likely quality of the finished product, but showed that Tiny Shark Interactive has already fleshed out where it wants to take things.
The demo itself offered a short quest around the small camp of Pinedale. Players first need to move a bridge so that it crosses a stream, done by using the ranged interaction to drag it over, before they come across a man preparing to rescue his blacksmith son from bandits. As the man is woefully ill-equipped to do anything other than die immediately, the player character Damien offers to help with the promise of a newly-forged sword as reward.
After defeating a few of the bandits, the leader decides to speak up and offer a peaceable solution if Damien uses his authority as an Exzore to get the guards to move away for a bit so they can get some supplies, also promising to let Damien walk around the bandits' active areas without future issues. Initially agreeing, Damien talks to the guards and eventually decides to renege on the deal with the bandits in favour of removing them (currying some favour with the local lord as a bonus), and he returns to finish off what he started, though players can first craft a new sword to make the bandit-slaying a bit quicker.
The aforementioned issues with the build and the machine it was running on made it impossible to analyse how well combat works at this stage, but what was there appeared to give the game a solid action RPG base. Players have access to various abilities such as a stunning kick, powerful downward strike, and smoke bombs. The full game will give players various gadgets to work with that will assist in both combat and exploration. The developer also promises plenty of other features not yet present in the demo, such as dynamic weather and a golden eagle companion named Icarus who will help greatly in scouting the surrounding areas.
Though linear in the demo, the quest is designed with multiple paths for completion in the full game, and it was easy to see where other options for advancing the quest could come in and lead to a vastly different result. It also gave a good hint at the presence of factions in the game, with the path it took me down clearly geared in favour of one faction and against another. The plot promises plenty of interesting aspects, as Damien looks to regain his honour in the medieval world of Eogaan, and his standing with the four main factions will greatly influence how the story plays out. Affinities with the various factions will also provide gameplay bonuses such as greater status resistances or merchant discounts.
While it's difficult to put too much stock into the current build, Tiny Shark Interactive looks like it has the basics sorted out and a clear direction for how the systems will work together. Exzore: The Rising has a lot of potential and it will be interesting to see how the game comes along, with a Kickstarter campaign set to begin later this month ahead of an eventual release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One — initially planned for late 2018.