Batora: Lost Haven PC Preview

A hack-and-slash action-RPG with a ton of potential and some great character.

By LCLupus, Posted 10 Aug 2022

Batora: Lost Haven is the latest game from Stormind Games and it’s an isometric action RPG that is definitely worth some attention. The game will see you placed into the shoes of Avril, whose name does sound a bit like prescription medication, but best to ignore that, as she gains the powers of two ancient godlike beings. She then goes from world to world to save both them and the earth. If you’ve ever wanted to play a game where you effectively play as She-Ra, then this is the game for you!

Batora: Lost Haven is a fast game. Many games that share the isometric viewpoint tend to slow their characters down to a considerable extent, but Avril is, thankfully, a fast thing. She can zip around a combat arena with ease, and make her way between the various locations on each world relatively quickly. And this ease of movement is vital for the kind of vibe that Batora: Lost Haven is trying to give off.

Batora: Lost Haven, PC, Preview, Gameplay, Screenshots, Female Character, NoobFeed

The combat in the game revolves around two main ways of fighting: melee and ranged. You will need to switch between these two “natures”, as they’re called in-game, in every combat encounter as certain enemies are damaged by one or the other nature. The developers get around this by having the ranged attacks being “mental” in nature, so there is an in-game explanation for the fact that some enemies aren’t hurt by a sword.

Anyway, Batora: Lost Haven has you switch between these two fighting modes, but it never takes good movement away from you. Early in the game, you unlock a dodge ability for each form of fighting, because dodging enemies, always remaining on the move, and selectively targeting who to fight next becomes an integral aspect of the experience. Furthermore, every enemy heavily telegraphs when they’re going to attack and so you have ample time to avoid them.

Batora: Lost Haven, PC, Preview, Gameplay, Screenshots, Eimlak, NoobFeed

As you progress, each mode of fighting becomes supplemented with additional combat abilities, such as a mental whirlwind that sucks enemies in or a physical AOE ground-pound ability that deals heavy damage. And these new abilities give Batora: Lost Haven a constantly expanding arsenal of new moves for you to use as you level up each ability becoming more powerful the more you fight.

To further supplement your combat arsenal, there is also a rune system. There are special items that add passive buffs while you have them equipped, but there are limited slots available for them, so you need to be selective with what does and does not get used. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the whole affair, but it doesn’t add anything overly complicated.

Batora: Lost Haven, PC, Preview, Gameplay, Screenshots, Role Playing, NoobFeed

The enemies that you face in the game can appear to have a little too much health at times. They can be a little bullet-spongey. But this can come down to personal preference. It only occasionally feels that way, but never to a particularly strong extent. Batora: Lost Haven is not a difficult game. There can be some moments of mild difficulty, but it comes across like a game that the devs wanted you to enjoy rather than struggle through. This is made even better by the fact that each of the combat “natures” has its own health bar. So, if you lose too much health in the melee mode, you can easily switch to the ranged mode until you can kill some enemies and get some health back, as many enemies drop health when killed.

However, there is one small thing worth noting in the way that bosses are handled. They effectively have multiple stages with a corresponding portion of the health bar for each stage. This means that you have to reduce one section of the health bar to zero, resulting in the boss becoming dazed, and you will then get a chance to deal enough damage to remove that health bar entirely. This is not explained particularly well, and on your first boss fight you may get frustrated that the boss’s health keeps coming back over and over again. But as soon as you understand that you need to deal as much damage as possible when the boss is dazed, it becomes much easier.

Batora: Lost Haven, PC, Preview, Gameplay, Screenshots, Boss Fights, NoobFeed

Batora: Lost Haven is not a game with particularly challenging bosses, but the bosses are a ton of fun to play as they often incorporate aspects of the environment into their implementation. For instance, one of the bosses uses spikes on the floor to cordon off areas of the arena, thereby rendering your fighting area smaller.

But the combat is only one side of things. However, before looking at the more narrative aspects, it’s worthwhile to note that the developers added a phenomenal navigational tool. Games of this nature can sometimes become difficult to navigate because you do not have the proper vision, seeing as your camera is more bird’s eye rather than looking ahead. But Batora: Lost Haven fixes this by giving you a dedicated button to release a few firefly-like things that will fly in the direction that you need to go, and you can just follow them. You will never get lost in this game. This is a great quality of life feature.

Batora: Lost Haven, PC, Preview, Gameplay, Screenshots, Puzzles, NoobFeed

Now, as for the more narrative bits. They’re also done rather well. The protagonist is a more wise-cracking type character, the type which can often become irritating. But thanks to the more serious people around her to keep her from becoming annoying. Her friend is a good foil to her silliness, and the gods that have given you their power are constantly in your ear and talking to you about everything around you. It’s a good character drama that blends nicely into the moral choice system.

Moral choice systems are often bad in games. Do you want to save all these people or murder them? It’s usually very black and white, but Batora: Lost Haven gives the player an unexpectedly grey moral system. You’re told that your choices are not necessarily good or bad, but that they will have consequences. These consequences can range from getting a boss angry because you didn’t help him or choosing whether you should solve a puzzle or smash it! And if you smash it, you’re forced into a fight. Even the boss fights sometimes allow you to choose between a regular fight and a more puzzle-oriented approach.

So, for a game with a rather great cartoony aesthetic, there are some surprisingly strong moral choices for you to make. Which isn’t ordinary outside of games with much darker, more mature themes like The Witcher. So, that’s a nice and welcome surprise. Moral choices can be interesting and tough without needing to involve gore, after all.

Batora: Lost Haven, PC, Preview, Gameplay, Screenshots, Quests, NoobFeed

However, there is one tiny thing that should be noted because this is a technical thing that no game should ever do. When you play Batora: Lost Haven with a controller, which is a much more comfortable way to play, the menu still forces you to use a cursor. This is a cardinal sin of menu design. When you’re playing with a mouse, have a cursor. But when you have a controller game, do not force the player to use an analog stick as if it was a mouse. It is a very uncomfortable way to do menus.

Other than that, there isn’t much particularly negative to say. Batora: Lost Haven is shaping up to be a great experience worth having if you enjoy fast-paced combat with good variety and a surprisingly good moral choice system. Plus, the worlds you visit are all visually distinct, and that’s a nice thing to see that simply isn’t done enough.

Stay tuned to NoobFeed for more about information about Batora: Lost Haven as it gets closer to its Autumn 2022 release. It’s looking to be a game definitely worth checking out!

Justin van Huyssteen (@LC_Lupus)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher(s): Team17
Developer(s): Stormid Games
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Space, Alien, Magic, Hack And Slash
Release Date: 2022

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