Talisman: Digital Edition review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Nomad Games
Developer: Games Workshop
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-6
Online: Yes
ESRB: E10+

First things first: I’ve never played Talisman before, so I have no idea how accurately Talisman: Digital Edition captures the nuance of the boardgame. The full extent of my knowledge of the analog edition of the game is what can be found on Wikipedia, and even then, if there were some kind of pop quiz, I’d be screwed.

In other words, if you’re reading this and hoping for me to tell you how accurately the game translates over to the Vita: apologies right now, because you’ll be sorely disappointed.

However, my lack of familiarity with the game also means I can state, unequivocally, that Talisman: Digital Edition does a very good job of making newcomers feel…not necessarily at ease, since it took me hours to figure out what was going on, but at least welcome. Even if I don’t know the boardgame, based on what’s expected of players here (and, obviously, what Wikipedia tells me), I get the sense that it’s somewhat complex. Here, by contrast, the game does just enough handholding that you don’t need the kind of in-depth knowledge the real-life version demands. It explains things, and, if that’s not enough for you, it autopilots you through some of the tougher moments. If left to my own devices, I’m not sure I’d be able to figure out a significant chunk of what I have to do here, but with a little help, I can get by.

That said, because the game is so quick to take steps for you, it becomes very easy for the whole thing to become monotonous. Heck, even without the game’s help, it becomes very easy for Talisman: Digital Edition to grow monotonous, for the simple reason that with six players and no “speed up” function, you spend a couple of seconds every few minutes rolling the dice and seeing what happens, and the rest of the time watching AI players battle their way around the board. It doesn’t exactly make for the most compelling gameplay.

But, at the end of the day, that’s basically what a boardgame is, isn’t it? Not all are created equal, to be sure, and some are inevitably better than others, but really, if you’re playing a boardgame, you’ll have to spend at least a few moments waiting for other players to take their turns. And such is the case with Talisman: Digital Edition. For better and for worse, it captures the feeling of what it’s like to be sitting around a table, rolling dice and moving your token around a board. It’s a pretty no-frills simulation, all things considered, but if that’s what you’re after, this will do the trick.

Grade: B