The Tale of Bistun Review: An Ancient Persian Myth Turned into a Living World

The story trailer above is what I first saw when I heard about the game. The narration was very captivating and immediately drew me in wanting to hear more. The story was one I hadn’t ever heard before and can assume many others probably have not as well. It is based on an old Persian poem, and the game follows the story of this poem and turns it into a full and beautiful mythical world we get to explore.

This game really has everything that I would expect to see from a well-developed game. A compelling story, an excellent narration, a beautiful soundtrack, and smooth gameplay. I was extremely impressed upon playing the demo to see how much work had gone into the game. While not extremely familiar with the poem I did do some research on it, and it seems to follow Nizami’s version of the poem Khosrow and Shirin very well.

Black Cube Games, the developer of The Tale of Bistun, describe the game as:

The Tale of Bistun is a story-driven action-adventure game inspired by the 12th Century tragic poem “Khosrow and Shirin.” You play as a stone carver who wakes on Mount Bistun with no memory of anything before that moment. An insidious blight has spread, bringing forth many dangerous foes. You must battle through varied enemies and travel between the real world and an ethereal place of forgotten memories to discover the secret of your past.

Black Cube Games

The Story

(Source: The Tale of Bistun Screenshot)

“Such solace in something so simple as a name. But still, that is all I recall”

The Tale of bistun

I don’t want to give too much story away in this article as I want the player to be able to experience this for themselves while playing the game and enjoy every moment like I was able to. So this section will not go into much detail on actual story plots or elements.

The basic idea of the story (which you get from simply watching the trailer) is that you have awoken on a mountain with no memories of who or what you are. A strange land surrounds you and the only thing on your mind right now is to figure out something, anything, that will help you recall what has happened.

You eventually come in contact with something magical that can transport you to another world, known as the Revelations Realm. Here you will find a creature who you may not suspect, but it will help guide you on the quest of remembering who you are. All the while a narrator is telling you every moment of the story. While it is unclear who the narrator is, it seems he knows everything of our character. Maybe he is just here to guide the player through the game, or maybe he will be more knowledgeable than we expect. Either way, I am excited to see where the game takes us.

The end of the demo leaves you with a piece of information that can help us start putting together this puzzle of who we are, but definitely leaves you with a bit of a cliffhanger and wanting to know more. I will for sure be revisiting the game once it is released to continue on this magical journey.

The Gameplay

(Source: The Tale of Bistun Screenshot)

Gameplay was simple to pick up as these types of games normally are. You have basic movements and then the ability to sprint, roll, attack, and interact with story elements. Things felt smooth and the game guides you in the direction you needed to be in while still allowing you to take your time and look at the world. I enjoyed everything that there was to see and interact with. Little animals would run across your path, the plants and ground could glow, everything felt well done.

There was some combat in the game against the creatures terrifying the world. What I experienced was nothing too hard and really more of a break from the storytelling to give a little action to the game. While this was nice and a good break, I found myself wanting to get back into the story quickly and learn more about this epic journey.

The music was also very well done and maybe not what you would always expect. It has a classical RPG feeling with a Persian twist thrown in. I think it really adds to the narration and gameplay and serves to submerge you deeper in the story.

Final Thoughts

(Source: The Tale of Bistun Screenshot)

This game definitely has a lot going for it and I can honestly say has had one of the most intriguing stories I’ve seen in a while. This will be high on my list of games to play once it is released. You can see the development team has put a lot of thought and research into making things perfect. They have been able to take a rich piece of history and craft it with their artistic vision to bring it to life.

If you are looking for a game to really sit back and enjoy as it walks you through a fascinating time, this is a good choice. While I wouldn’t recommend this game if you want lots of action or hard puzzles. This game’s focus is on telling a story and allowing you to adventure through it without getting too distracted. It doesn’t throw any hard obstacles that bring you out of the story but instead weaves everything together so you are constantly focused on the journey ahead.

If you were as intrigued by the trailer as I was, check out the games page on Steam and the developer’s website for more information.

Joshua Myers
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Joshua Myers

Writer for Petition Play and lover of all things gaming

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