What exactly is this Falagar?
It is a 40+ hour adventure with both dungeons and open world maps that allow a certain freedom of progression, but some areas are sealed off by force fields or teleporters till you trigger a specific event (e.g. a boss fight). The mod tries to stay close to the original without implementation of fancy music tracks or assets. However, it offers some unique looking maps, including dark "open" caves/caverns and an indoor snow/ice dungeon.
Is it heavily story-driven?
Do not expect a "story", NPCs with tons of text or plot twists in Falagar, but rather a journey in which you encounter and overcome enemies and other obstacles. You are supposed to defeat the four guardians, collect the elemental spheres to eventually gain access to the dragonrider. Some notes give hints to hidden locations or recipes, others will shed some light on the death of bodies found by the party, and the locations and architecture might also function as food for thought, but that's it - plain and simple progressional gameplay.
Is there anything custom made?
Falagar uses custom items, races, traits, skills, spells, sounds, altered monsters and an enhanced alchemy and healing system, see the links below for more detailed information. Besides the marvellous Winter Tileset by Skuggasveinn, I created my own 2D graphics for items, and even some new 3D meshes for doors, fences, walls (but no custom portrait sets). Custom monsters behave differently, have altered stats and cause new conditions like intoxication or fevers. In addition to this, certain traits are not visible and require a keen eye to recognize what lies beyond, e.g. armor sets, a mundane looking item or negative effects of a shiney piece of heavy armor.
Is it another awefully difficult slaughter mod?
Not at all. The difficulty can be set to "hard" without running into insurmountable situations ("single-use crystals" has not been tested). You should always have the right tool for a job. Additionally, the difficulty varies depending on choice of races and classes and it is not intended to be the same with different parties. So if you are a seasoned player expecting a brutal challenge, look elsewhere. You might want to take care of your resistances, though. I would rate it "M" for medium difficulty.
As a heads-up: you will not stumble upon your first blue healing crystal before approximately an hour of playtime, so make good use of the few restoration potions you find early on. Unless, of course, you decided to pick "For the Faint of Heart" which can be considered the Easy Mode of the mod. This choice gives you an HP buff for the entire party, grants some useful starting items and a healing crystal.
Are there tough boss fights?
Besides the aforementioned guardians, you will run into a number of bosses, sometimes occuring in pairs or groups, but none of which should be too difficult to proceed. Naturally, some bosses may require more than one attempt to beat them and some environmental hazards and traps can be used to your advantage. Neither is this supposed to be another Souls-like game, nor a walk in the park. Also, some of the bosses appear in optional areas which makes them... well, optional. The rewards some of them drop are worth the risk, though.
Are there many puzzles?
Not quite, at least if you were to walk straight through without looking for secrets and hidden switches. However, since exploration is a huge part of the mod, there is a significant number of secrets to find, granting goodies and sometimes useful "tools" for specific situations. Or you might receive a weapon earlier in the run. Right now in version 1.33 we are counting over 100 secrets which give bonus XP upon discovery.
Is it very buggy?
There might be a few graphical issues with power attacks and the items lists aren't 100% clean, but none of this poses a problem. Certain immobile monsters may cause harmless console spam as they are forced to remain in place. I would recommend to turn the console off. Despite that, you can play the entire mod from start to finish. Death traps have all been removed and you can no longer get stuck in any area.
What about the replay value?
While there is no procedually generated content, there are five custom races, a number of new traits, custom-made classes and altered original classes. Each combination allows for a different specialization and therefore a different experience making certain areas harder and others easier. Items that were of no use before are becoming your favorites with the next group. Thus, I would argue that the mod has a lot of replay value and I just started another run myself.
What is the best weapon/race/class/misc?
There is no such thing in the mod. Each race and class has specific pros and cons and items resonate better with certain classes as bonuses are granted when wielding specific items. While weapon X does more damage, you might get a bonus to stats, crits or accuracy using weapon Y instead. Magic wand Z may not spout nukes, but it may prevent wounds for a moment instead. A shield may give negative values, however, it could be imbued with a spell...
The best advice I can give is to start a run, create a custom party and develop it to one's heart's content. Stick with your standard party or get creative, everything works in a way.
In case you need a helping hand, don't hesitate to ask on either platform. You can find my outdated playthrough in German and an English explanation of Races/Classes on Youtube (User Bunker Knacker). The former might function as a useful "walkthrough" if you are stuck, even if you do not understand a single word. Alternative Download Links can be found on NexusMods and the Steam Workshop, just look for "Falagar - A Journey".
Last but not least, any feedback is always welcome and please do not forget to rate the mod after you tried it for a bit, even if you dislike it. Thank you in advance.
Hope you enjoy your first playthrough and good luck with it.