LifeisXbox’s Talisman: Digital Edition review | Talisman might ring a bell for some of you, even it’s one in the back of your mind. We are indeed talking about the digital version of the board game Talisman: The Magical Quest Game. First released in 1983, this popular fantasy-themed board game has gone through several revisions, and has been released for Steam, and the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and even mobile phones. With the Xbox getting its own release, Talisman is now available on all major platforms. The content and ruleset were taken from the 4th Revised Edition which dates back to 2008. I enjoy the occasional board game, and being able to play Talisman on a console gave me mixed feelings. However, I am a reviewer so I went in with an open mind and was ready to experience everything Talisman: Digital Edition had to offer. Let’s go!
We played Talisman: Digital Edition for 5 hours on Xbox Series X. This game is also available on Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Android, and iOs.
What we liked!
- Graphics | I’m a big fan of fantasy-styled graphics, and I did enjoy the artwork of Talisman: Digital Edition. The card design was as you’d expect it to be and I had a blast discovering new cards and taking a look at the pictures that were drawn on them. I also felt that the font used in Talisman was just perfect because it looks like an old handwritten scroll but in a digital way if that makes sense. The board itself was simple, and after a while, you might get tired of the same spaces, but that’s just because a game lasts quite long and has nothing to do with the art style in itself.
- Fun gameplay | If you can put aside the fact that the entire game is based on sheer luck (as you will read later on), the gameplay is quite fun. Gearing up your character, encountering random enemies, modifying your fighter, and battling against the other players is actually quite fun at times. The ideas behind this game are quite wonderful, really, but that’s about all that’s good about Talisman. I’m afraid we’re going to continue now with some strong negatives.
- Controls | I feel like Talisman: Digital Edition maybe isn’t the best fit for consoles. I can see it working great on PC platforms, but the Xbox release sure isn’t easy to play. Let me explain. There is a lot of clickable content on the screen, a bit too much one might say. So when you want to click a particular space to move to, or you want to click ‘continue’, you might be struggling a bit, and end up clicking something entirely different. It was just a drag to navigate around the screen.
- Music | The soundtrack in itself is decent. There’s a soundtrack that’s tailored to the gameplay, and some sound effects add a little extra spice. However, I often noticed the soundtrack just cutting out for some reason. And it didn’t seem on purpose either, so maybe it was some kind of bug, I’m guessing? Transitions between two sounds also didn’t go very smoothly and felt a bit abrupt. I feel like the music in Talisman: Digital Edition was just inserted quickly without paying too much attention to it, and that’s a shame really since you spent some time waiting around when your opponents are playing their turns.
What we disliked
- If you’re lucky and you know it… | When reading the game description, you’ll find the following: ‘On your travels, you will need strength, courage and some good dice rolls to survive the dangers you face’, when in reality you’ll just need some good dice rolls. Talisman: Digital Edition is simply rolling a die and moving around the board whilst bumping into random encounters. Basically, everything depends on sheer luck. Even when playing against AI, I felt like the game was unfair. The troll character kept gaining/finding strength and money, whilst I was stuck fighting unbeatable monsters and having to skip turns. No wonder that damn troll got to the finish line first!
- Is it over yet | I only have experience against AIs because no friends of mine own Talisman: Digital Edition, so let me get that out first. Now, I first tried out Talisman: Digital Edition after a long day of work and then evening classes, and boy did I regret that. Instead of sitting down and enjoying a chill game, I ended up spending almost two hours in my first game. I was about 56 rounds in when my character died and all hope was gone. But really, it was after an hour that I kept asking myself ‘how long is this going to take’. That’s not something you want to be asking yourself when playing a game. And the endgame itself is a drag most of the time, so you’ll be wishing things were over even more.
- No cross-platform gameplay | Even though the digital release of Talisman allows for online and local multiplayer, there is one thing that both Xbox and PlayStation are not getting compared to the Switch, Steam, and mobile versions. Cross-platform multiplayer is not supported on the Xbox Series X/S/One or the PlayStation 4.
- Show me your money | I’m sorry but if you release a game and then immediately add a shit-ton of expansions that can be purchased, I feel like you’re focusing just a little too much on making more money. Add-ons aren’t expensive (around 4-5 euros mostly), but if you want to purchase all of them, you’ll see that bill rising quite fast!
How long to beat the story | 2 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 50+ hours
Similar with | An advanced Snakes and Ladders
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂