In both the Windows and PlayStation versions, Drake starts with no weapons, but the player can quickly find a melee weapon and shield. The game is partially combat-oriented, though features an inventory system with a range of equipment to locate and choose from. While the Windows version features a simple experience system which involves defeating enemies to level up, the PlayStation version expands upon this, allowing the player to improve their skill with individual weapons, spells and projectiles through battle.
Drake himself also gains in experience as he defeats enemies. With each new experience level, he is restored to full health and gains an increase in maximum hit points, mana and offensive ability. The game has three difficulty levels to choose from. Selecting an increased difficulty rating primarily affects Drake's ability to dodge and attack enemies.
Over the course of the game, the player can discover spell books which allow Drake to cast new spells (or, in the Windows version, upgrade spells they already possess). In the PlayStation version, spells themselves do not cost mana in a traditional sense; after each use, a spell requires a cooling down period before it can be used again. The Windows version instead employs spells which cost mana to be cast. Spells also have a brief casting time, during which Drake is vulnerable to attack.
While similar locations are present in each, both versions of the game feature vastly different level design. One such common location is the Citadel, a floating city depicted as a standard medieval castle in the Windows version, with conches and shell-like structures prominent in the PlayStation's variation. Other similar areas include Duskwood, populated by the tribe-like Dashers, Corantha, the underground realm of the Dwarves, Stronghold, the bastion of the Legion of the Fallen, and the Glaciers in southern Ardon, populated by hostile snow-dwelling creatures.
The PlayStation version features the ability to "empower" weapons and armor by purchasing elemental-, essence- and aether- based talismans and runes, attuning each to different properties - respectively Fire, Earth, Water, Air; Spirit, Mind, Body; and Light and Dark. Every individual character in the game is based upon one of these nine properties, and use of separate runes and talismans allows the player to defeat certain foes more easily.
In addition, the PlayStation version contains a New Game Plus feature. Completing the game on any of the three difficulty levels unlocks a "Special" difficulty level, which grants the player all weapons, spells, talismans, runes and infinite items at the outset.
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