Review – Ghost of a Tale (PS4)

I am almost always impressed when I play a game developed by a single person. With the exception of the disgrace to mankind that was Sword of Fortress, most of these games ended up being true passion projects that surpassed all of my expectations, such as Iconoclasts, Undertale, Gorogoaand Stardew Valley. Ghost of a Tale, originally released on PC in 2018, is the latest addition to this pantheon of achievements. Thankfully enough, it’s also a pretty good title, even though it has its fair share of problems.

Ghost of a Tale_20190314202010

I want a plushie.

At first glance, you would never guess that Ghost of a Tale is a game developed by a single person due to its visuals. This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen. The visuals are breathtaking, boasting extremely detailed environments and an impressively well-animated protagonist. Upon finding out that the man behind this game, Lionel “SeithCG” Gallat, worked as an animation director on big budget movies like Despicable Me and The Lorax, everything made sense. The man clearly knows how to bring polygons to life. The game is so gorgeous that the PS4 can barely handle its visuals, resulting on a somewhat inconsistent framerate, especially when there are lots of characters onscreen at any given time.

Now that I’m drooling over Ghost of a Tale‘s visuals, let’s talk about the game itself. This is a stealth-RPG hybrid with some slight nods to games like Metal Gear Solid, Ico, and weirdly enough, Dark Souls. No, your little mouse can’t dodge, roll, attack monsters, or praise the freaking sun, but there are lots of similarities in how the game showers you with story via item descriptions. Your character can’t attack or kill enemies; you’re equally a mouse and a minstrel. Violence isn’t in your blood. All you can do is avoid conflict by hiding yourself inside cupboards, running away from guards’ sights, or on occasion, briefly incapacitating enemies with bottles or barrels. You’re a little rodent and you have to think like one.

Ghost of a Tale_20190314202717

Nope, this isn’t the Firelink Shrine.

There are also some occasional puzzle segments in Ghost of a Tale. They are quick and very simple, often being summarized as grabbing a key from a guard or bringing an object to a friendly character in order to get another item or some valuable information. They won’t make you stay awake at night trying to think of a solution, but the added hindrance of being chased after by immense rats makes things a bit more challenging.

Ghost of a Tale is far from being a perfect game. In fact, there is one big and unforgivable issue with this game: its sound department. I don’t know if this is something that is also present on the PC version, or if the game is suffering from some hopefully patchable glitch, but there’s almost no sound as a whole in here. It constantly feels like I’m playing this game on mute and more than once I checked if there was a sound glitch on my PS4 and TV. You can barely hear any sound effects whatsoever and in a stealth game that is completely dependent on you trying to be as quiet as possible, that’s almost a sin. I thank the developer for adding a little visual meter indicating how close to being caught I am at any given moment, as I basically played the entire game relying on it instead of relying on my ears.

Ghost of a Tale_20190314212303

If only this game had the guard alert noises from Metal Gear Solid…

Ghost of a Tale is a pretty decent stealth game overall and an even more impressive achievement in game developing, especially considering it was basically created by one single person with little previous experience in gaming. Sadly, it is riddled with some glaring issues such as its framerate and near nonexistent sound design, but its adorable art style, coupled with the fact there aren’t many proper stealth games out there (the faster we forget about Thief, the better), are more than enough for me to recommend the game.


Graphics: 9.0

Ghost of a Tale is one of the prettiest games I have ever played, but its framerate is all over the place.

Gameplay: 7.5

Standard stealth mechanics, with the welcome addition that you can’t attack enemies if you get spotted. The controls are precise and the camera is fluid. The game is hindered by the aforementioned bad framerate, though.

Sound: 2.5

The sound department is so poor that it feels like you’re playing the game on mute.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Even though the stealth mechanics and the sheer amount of collectibles are more than enough to warrant a purchase, the game’s setting is its absolute highlight.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Ghost of a Tale is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Ghost of a Tale was provided by the publisher.