Pascal’s Wager: Definitive Edition from TipsWorks and Giant Global is an action role-playing game set in an extremely dark and disturbing world. Being a PC port of a mobile game, the definitive edition brings all the content from the mobile version to PC with some additional DLC too. Does the game succeed though?
In Pascal’s Wager, players will take on the role of Terrence, a Courier. What a Courier does however isn’t exactly revealed to you from the get-go. In fact, most of Pascal’s Wager’s story is explained in tiny bits and pieces throughout the game and it can be extremely confusing for players to understand what’s going on. Although, with that said, the story and lore in this game is rather captivating and if you read through journal entries and piece together everything, there’s a very intriguing tale being told here that deals with some dark horror.
As a Courier, Terrence will face off against the “Marred”, which are ferocious monsters. These monsters are grotesque abominations and many of them are the result of humans being changed or corrupted in the dark mist ridden lands located within the game world. The enemies themselves are quite varied and some are quite challenging to defeat.
Speaking of challenging, Pascal’s Wager: Definitive Edition is clearly aimed at the “Souls”-like gaming fan crowd. Much of the gameplay is extremely reminiscent of Dark Souls and other From Software titles. Where Pascal’s Wager falters though is in its execution. Players will have access to a “Sanity” meter which slowly depletes as they attack enemies or take damage. Lose all your Sanity and suddenly you’re facing off against tougher foes or a ghostly version of yourself. Players therefore need to monitor this constantly and keep their Sanity up while in combat.
Along with Sanity, there’s also a stamina bar and a rage meter. Rage fills up by attacking enemies and stamina drains as you dodge, block or attack. In action. All the systems work fine but the problems with the gameplay lies with the fact that it just doesn’t feel smooth at all. When attacking for example, there’s extreme input delay between button presses in attacks and this takes a lot of getting used to in-game. Couple this with some ridiculously tough to beat enemies and Pascal’s Wager turns into a gamble against all odds with the odds stacked in favour of the enemies.
That’s not to say that players won’t have fun in this game. Once you get the hang of the controls, it does start to pick up and the gameplay is strangely compelling. Doubly so if you’re a fan of challenging titles such as Dark Souls. Later on in the game, players will be able to unlock different characters which can be swapped to when not in combat. Each of the playable characters have their own unique skill set which sets them apart from each other. For example, Norwood can use his chained coffin to smash enemies to bits while Viola can use her bayonet to shoot bullets at enemies.
Players will gain materials from defeating enemies and these materials can be used to upgrade “Altars” or to craft new items. Pascal’s Wager does not feature an inventory with interchangeable armour or weapons. Instead, it allows you to equip artifacts and upgrade your skills with specific materials which are found in the game world as you progress through it. Levelling up is performed by means of upgrading Altars. Once you’ve upgraded an Altar, you will gain an attribute point which you can apply to a variety of aspects such as Strength or Dexterity. Fairly standard fare in any Souls-like title really.
Bosses in Pascal’s Wager feature a mechanic where if your Sanity is fully depleted, the boss will trigger a “Lunatic” mode and effectively enter an altered state. In this state it will regain some lost health and perform far deadlier attacks. Players are therefore advised to keep their Sanity levels high and play defensively when facing off against bosses. The caveat of this being that in order to get the true ending of the game, these stronger forms of bosses need to be defeated for special items.
Graphically, for a mobile game ported to PC, Pascal’s Wager: Definitive Edition looks pretty rough around the edges. This isn’t a gorgeous game so don’t expect mind-blowing graphics. The soundtrack of the game is also quite lacklustre. The game’s musical score cuts out randomly during gameplay and the voice acting was clearly performed by people who were trying to be dramatic but failed at doing so. It’s quite disappointing throughout the game but players may find some amusement in this.
Overall, Pascal’s Wager: Definitive Edition is a fairly standard port of a strangely compelling mobile game that draws inspiration from the Souls-like genre. There’s a lot of content on offer in the game and the story will probably take you anything from 12 to 25 hours to complete depending on player skill and other factors. If you want to experience the game without giving yourself too much frustration, we suggest using the newly added “Casual” mode and enjoying the story aspects while facing off against significantly weaker enemies.
Grab Pascal’s Wager: Definitive Edition on Steam here for £17.99.
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