The Tale of Bistun Preview

The Tale of Bistun Preview

By  Luz Victoria - 4th Jul 2022

A game based on a 12th-century poem named Khosrow and Shirin!

The Tale of Bistun Preview

The Tale of Bistun is an adventure title based on ancient mythology; the setting is based on the 12th-century poem Khosrow and Shirin, as players will take control of a protagonist that cannot remember their name or their past.

Without further ado, let's get on with our preview!

A Tale of Discovery

A Tale of Discovery

The Tale of Bistun's preview starts off in a section early on in the game, as our unnamed protagonist converses with a pomegranate tree named the "All-Seeds". Our protagonist seeks help from the tree, begging for assistance in remembering even the simplest of information, such as his own name. 

All-Seeds promises our protagonist that he'll help on the condition of him freeing all of his kin, which have been afflicted by a plague in the mountain. After agreeing, our protagonist heads eastward through a qanat gate to procure Talisman Stones, as All-Seeds advised.

After every level, night befalls the land and our hero returns to All-Seeds to claim a fruit from his branches. With it, he enters a dream-like state where he sees visions of his past and slowly remembers fragments of who he was, those he loves, and even his own name — Farhad.

What made the storytelling in The Tale of Bistun even better was the game's narration, as this omniscient companion tells tales of not only Farhad and his struggles but also things that the player isn{t made privy to. The narration includes voice acting from the narrator (presumably), which isn't the best, but I found it charming regardless! The narration is excellent and gives a lot of ambience to the game.

Part of the reason why The Tale of Bistun's lore feels so fully fleshed and in-depth is due to the fact that it is built from a Persian tragic romance poem named Khosrow and Shirin. Playing through the game, the depth of the story is noticeable through the impeccable writing and nods to those that know the whole story. This, paired with Farhad's carving of Mount Bistun, make the game feel very narratively satisfying, as the stories are told through beautiful carvings.

Gorgeous Visuals

Gorgeous Visuals

The Tale of Bistun's beauty doesn't end simply with the storytelling and narration, as the game has beautiful graphics that flow wonderfully throughout your adventure. Exploring Bistun is made enjoyable through vibrant colours that beautifully popped on my OLED display and smooth animations I really enjoyed; the way Farhad runs is so fluid!

The environments are often lush and green in colour, with some inaccessible ambient-specific areas that make the game feel vast without filling it with empty space. The last level available in the demo includes a swamp patch that Farhad walks slower through, though whether that becomes an integral part of combat or not isn't something that was showcased in the preview.

Once you've completed a specific area, the world turns a blue hue that is gorgeous and relaxing — much like the narrator said Farhad was feeling the first time it happened. The nighttime and the Revelation Realm (a puzzle world that takes place after every level) worked as the darker hues of the game, and although they weren't as much of a visual feast as the overworld, they were great in their own regard.

Battle Mythological Creatures

Battle Mythological Creatures

Finally, one of the most important things you'll be doing throughout The Tale of Bistun is battling foes. The qanat gate that you open eastward of the All-Seeds will lead you to the next level, where you will explore a small linear area to cleanse the pomegranate tree's kin of the curse that has afflicted them. To do so, you will need to advance through circular gates that will lock you into combat sections with foes encased in crystals that are freed when you walk closer to them.

In the demo, I was only able to fight two different types of enemies spanning six combat sequences. The first of which are goblin-like creatures named the ghoulches. These creatures are quickly dispatched with three hits from Farhad's weapons, get staggered with each attack, and don't deal much damage at all. As the common mob, The Tale of Bistun opts to swarm you with several dozen of them at any given time to remedy their weak attacks and resistance.

The second and final of the foes I was able to find were the paries, harpy-like creatures that fire the first hostile projectile in the demo. Of these, the most I had to fight at once were four, though that's because I began awakening all of the foes before entering combat since The Tale of Bistun isn't a particularly challenging game. They fly away from Farhad upon getting too close, but you should easily be able to run up to them and slay them with ease. The real threat with the paries is their homing projectiles; these attacks will follow you everywhere you run until they disappear, though you can use the I-frames (invincibility frames) given to you by your roll to remove them instantaneously. 

The combat sequences were straightforward to handle, even when I was running rampant trying to awaken every foe around to get a challenge. The combat was simple enough that I don't see it causing a problem to any newcomers, but not too simple so as to make the game feel boring.

Throughout the battle sequences, you'll use two abilities (shown in the demo, though I am unsure if more will be unlocked later on), which makes the combat feel straightforward and fun. The Tale of Bistun has a hack 'n' slash-style combat that feels fast-paced and fun.

Scattered throughout the levels are collectibles that you can interact with to get a peek at the diary of a person that resided in Mount Bistun before you did. These tellings work to explain some world elements, including the name of the numerous foes and how their behaviour in combat is. The stone tablets were easy to find and provided sufficient text that was enjoyable to read and never felt too invasive nor long.


My 80 minutes with The Tale of Bistun left me itching for more; I can't wait to learn more about Farhad, his story with Shirin, and the conclusion. Aside from the narrative captivating me, I look forward to witnessing more of the enemies that Farhad will have to face on his travels.

If you're excited about The Tale of Bistun, pre-purchase the Persian videogame and experience this captivating experience exclusively on Fanatical with a 20% discount! Look forward to the release of the game on the 13th of July.

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