I'm surprised there has been so little interest on the forum for the RPG Lords of Xulima. I picked this up during a daily Steam sale, and the game is superb. If you like classic RPGs such as Baldur's Gate or Might and Magic, you should definitely pick this one up.
The premise of the game is that the Lords of Xulima (similar to the Greek Gods) are losing their power, and have vacated our realm to fight an enemy that threatens to reshape the world through the use of destroyed human souls. In their absence, several corrupted princes have divided up the the land of Xulima and subjugated its people. Your quest is to overcome these princes, who have fallen under the influence of the enemy, and restore the Xulima back to the Lords.
Exploration is played out in an isometric view similar to Diablo III or Baldur's Gate. You create 6 user generated characters and navigate through a HUGE country, exploring, harvesting herbs, and fighting various on-screen and randomly encountered enemies:
Exploration is more limited than Baldur's Gate, as you can not actually enter buildings. Instead, people stand outside of them offering up quests or selling their goods. Likewise, dungeons are not quite as intricate, although they do still feature traps, hidden doors, and secret locations. The world also has fewer NPCs, but the main focus of the game is exploration and combat, so I do not consider this to be a fault. I recommend playing on the "Classic" difficulty, as it makes the need to forage for food and gather herbs much more crucial. Likewise, almost every enemy encounter will test the player, and you will need to use every weapon, spell, and potion in your arsenal to win.
Combat is turn based, and takes place in a perspective similar to the of Might and Magic Legacy:
On classic difficulty most battles, especially in the early game, tend to be gratifying, hard-fought wins. Initiative, encumbrance, speed, weapon type, etc, are all factors in gameplay. Enemies use various buffs and debuffs to excellent effect, and the AI does a good job attacking the weaker mage and cleric units hiding in the back row. I'm also pleased to report that there is a wide variation in the types of enemies you will encounter, along with the typical "re-coloring" of enemies you've already seen. As mentioned previously, there is a combination of on-screen and random encounters. Random encounters are tolerable, as one only occurs every 30 seconds to one minute. Each area you explore also has a limited number of random encounter enemies, and once they are defeated the area is safe. You also gain extra experience points for purging the area.
Character creation and leveling is detailed, and leveling occurs frequently enough to keep that next upgrade just beyond the horizon. Along with your typical stat upgrades, characters also learn skills such as lockpicking, harvesting, hunting, mercantilism, etc. Likewise, various spells also upgrade and the usual suspects are all present: fire, ice, poison, wind, etc.
Overall, I'm very pleased with Lords of Xulima. While not as feature rich or story driven as Baldur's Gate, it is a well crafted RPG with tons of nooks and crannies to explore. The storyline is also slightly off the beaten path, and the combat is difficult enough to keep things interesting. Steam users rate the game as "Very Positive", and Metacritic currently has it rated at 79%.
+Large maps to explore
+Excellent customization of your party
+Difficult, varied combat (on classic mode)
+Pleasing graphics and a great soundtrack
-The best weapons and armor are only at the merchants. Chests usually have gold, gems, or potions.
-Less NPC interaction than the AAA RPGs.
-Cannot explore building interiors