The world of Herald is set in an alternative version of the mid-1800s. The West is now a united global superpower that goes by the name of The Protectorate. The Protectorate is run by an elected official named The Lord Protector, who is responsible for running the whole show. The Protectorate has many colonies that provide them with goods and services and whatnot. Devan Rensburg is a man of mixed heritage who wants to seek out his roots and learn more about himself and where he came from, so he finds work on a merchant ship that is journeying towards the colonies: the FLV Herald. The story itself starts off with Devan Rensburg sitting in a locked room at the top of a tower overlooking the vast ocean. A mysterious woman who proclaims herself as “The Rani” is peppering him with questions about whom he is and his reason for going to the colonies. She then pulls out Devan’s journal and asks him to read it to her. Devan then recounts his story as the narrative shifts back and forth from his current time as a “prisoner”, to his journey on the FLV Herald.
Gameplay-wise there isn’t too much going on here. As I said before, Herald is mostly a visual novel, therefore, much of the gameplay is dialogue-driven. The choices you make impact the story and how people react to you. Each character in this period drama has their own motives and hidden agendas, you will often find yourself thrust into the middle of their squabbles as well, forcing you to choose sides. Whether you want to take the diplomatic approach or be the person who doesn’t put up with any of their bullshit is up to you, but your choices will have consequences. Personally, I chose the nice guy approach; I’m planning on doing another playthrough on a quest to be the biggest jerk I can. Besides engaging in choice-based conversations, occasionally you will have to run an errand, which mostly involves finding someone/something. You can walk around and explore the ship, however not all areas are available to you at first. There are no puzzles as there usually are in other point & clickers, so you can focus entirely on the engaging story. Thanks to a recent update you have the choice of using a controller instead of the standard mouse/keyboard combo. I tried out both control options and they both worked as intended, no problems there.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review
Final Score: 8.5/10
+Great voice cast
+Plenty of diversity and complicated themes
+Aesthetically pleasing graphics
-Clunky character models