Two hundred years have passed since the events of Patapon 3, and it is now the 401st year of the Fourth Era (4E 401). The Mortal Almighty of Pata-Skyrim has been assassinated, and the threat of civil war looms over the land of Pata-Skyrim; One side wishes to evade from the crumbling Empire, while the other wishes to remain a part of it, believing that it is still worth fighting for. To make matters worse, this schism is the final event in the prophecy foretold by the Karmen Scrolls that will lead to the return of the dragons under Dongawrek, the Pataic god of destruction.
The player begins the game imprisoned, being led to their execution as a result of crossing the border into Pata-Skyrim. As the player lays his head on the chopping block, Dongawrek attacks. In the midst of this chaos, several Rainmantles, along with their leader and fellow prisoner, Aitic Rainmantle, assist in the player's escape. The player may choose between the assistance of Makof, the Rainmantle who arrived with Aitic, or of Bonedar, the Zitonic soldier responsible for reading off the names of the prisoners being sent to their execution. The player later learns that he/she is a Patahkiin, a Pataborn charged with the duty of defeating Dongawrek and the dragons. Eventually, the player meets Medsbern, one of the last Shivs.
The Karmen Scrolls IV: Pata-Skyrim takes place in Pata-Skyrim, where peace is threatened by the ongoing civil war between a Pataic separatist faction and the Empire's IV Legion, as well as the return of the dragons under the game's main antagonist, the great dragon god Dongawrek (seemingly separate from, but religiously considered the Pataic equivalent of Almighty).
Pata-Skyrim is in the northernmost region of Kamreel and its geography consists of mountains, snowy tundras, pine forests, rural countrysides and arctic plains. Its architecture and atmosphere is very similar to the town of Patapolis in Patapon 2. Although it is roughly the same size as Patapolis (approximately 41 square kilometers in area or 25.4 miles), it is the least populated of all regions in Kamreel and features more lush forests and grassy areas than Patapolis. Although there are only five cities within the province, they are larger than the cities of Patapolis and are complemented with smaller townships dotted through the land with huge swathes of wilderness separating them all.
New enemies to the series include Mountain Cyclops/Giants, Frost Fenrirs, Evolved Manboth, Icicle Spiders, Ice Deaths and Flying Dragons. The game will feature non-hostile dragons, but they are the rare exception.
Pata-Skyrim will have different mechanics than the previous Patapon games. The player is free to roam the land of Pata-Skyrim at will, either on foot or on horseback. The player can train in eighteen different skills, and increasing the levels of these skills contributes to raising overall player Level, with increases in higher-leveled skills affording a greater boost toward the next player level than increases in lower-leveled skills. The traditional RPG concept of a class system has been abolished in Pata-Skyrim; it has been supplanted with a very free-form system that allows players to use Abilities to specialize their skills in somewhat traditional fashion without actually locking characters into static Classes. Abilities are skill-specific abilities, organized in a system of branching groups called "ability trees". The player can choose from one of many perks each time their character gains a level. Player leveling extends somewhat further than in the previous Patapon games, reaching a maximum level around 80 when all skills have been increased to 100; this limit is due in part to a significant sharpening of the experience curve for leveling after 50.
Weapons and armors may be crafted by players at a Blacksmith, and all gear may be improved upon using other crafting facilities provided that the player possesses the requisite skill levels and abilities; this allows for a wide range of equipment variation and lets those characters with the highest skills outfit themselves with appropriately powerful equipment. The player can also enchant their weapons for extra damage and gain special abilities from them..
Melee combat has been overhauled from previous Patapon games, with weapon attacks taking a less fluid and a much more realistic pace. Weapon types such as the previous Slash and Strike have been condensed into One-handed and Two-handed weapon skills, with the Axes, Clubs, and Swords each benefitting differently from abilites inside these skill trees; for example, axes can add extra bleeding damage, swords strike quickly and can gain a higher chance of a critical hit, and clubs gain armor penetration while striking at a slower rate. Special "critical kills" have also been added, which show a slow-motion killing blow such as impalement or decapitation being delivered by the player character.
Spell mechanics have changed significantly in Skyrim as compared to Patapon. Fire, frost, and shock spells now have useful additional effects; fire deals additional burn damage, shock does an additional 50% of its damage to the victim's Magic, and frost spells deal 100% of their damage to the victim's Stamina. Quests have been implemented to gain Master-level spells in each school, and these spells have special casting animations and often much more powerful effects than their lesser counterparts.
There are eighteen abilities in all, six for each style of play (Magic, Combat and Stealth). They are as follows:
- Heavy Armor
- Light Armor
The leveling mechanic in The Karmen Scrolls IV: Pata-Skyrim is different to previous titles, with the player leveling up after enough skills have, themselves, been leveled up through use. Game director Rio F. Catus stated that the game's "mathematical" level cap is 70; however, the Jed Lyle Official Game Guide states the level cap is "around 80." One of the largest differences from previous Patapon games is that you no longer specify a group of major and minor skills; instead, all skills are treated the same, and all skills contribute towards leveling up. As a result of this change, there is no longer any class selection component to character creation.
A significant new feature to The Karmen Scrolls is the addition of a total of 251 Abilities, one granted each level, which allow for further specialization. Each skill is presented as a constellation, built up of node stars representing the perk tree, within a firmament. For example, a player using one-handed weapons could specialize in maces with a perk that ignores opponents' armor, select a perk granting swords an increased chance of landing a critical hit, or prioritize axes by choosing a perk that makes enemies bleed, causing damage over time.
Character visual customization has been further refined from previous Patapon games, introducing new customization options such as pre-built beards and faces, war paint and scars, and otherwise enhanced facial construction. Body size is also now an editable feature, along with different presets for nearly all facial features.
Unlike the prior Patapon games, which featured 8 attributes that could be increased through leveling, Pata-Skyrim has only three values to increase, one of which can be selected each level: Health, Magic and Stamina. This was done for the dual purposes of simplifying the leveling process and reducing unnecessary statistics, as the 8 attributes were considered to be simply a means of increasing the three above values.
The option to choose from one of the 5 main races. Each race is characterized by a specific power and passive bonus, as well as starting with a few skills at slightly higher levels. For example, Karmens begin the game with 50 extra Speech.
Patapon (Pata-Skyrim) - The Balanced
Zigoton (Zygodiil) - The Defender
Karmen (Karmenset Isles) - The Magician
Akumapon (Undlsweyr) - The Stealth
Bonedeths (Bouninium) - The Brutes
Combat has undergone a significant overhaul from previous installments of the series; damage is proportionally higher than in the past and the pace of melee combat has been significantly slowed from Patapon 3. Special spell effects and an increase in the utility of bows through the revised skill of Archery make for often more dangerous - and consequently more tactical - combat.
A major new aspect of combat, as well as significant plot device in the game, is the presence of Patagon Shouto or Pun'ums as referred to in game, which use the language of dragons to manifest the Shout-users' vital power as "Pun'um," which can have various powerful effects - these include fire breath, a sort of "force" push, and a demoralizing roar, among other effects. The shouts can be used intermittently and may be longer or shorter if more than one word of each Shout's three constituent words is known.
Stealth-based combat has also been improved with the presence of a sort of "assassination" kill move that involves the player silently reaching up and slitting an NPC's throat if the damage of the sneak attack is sufficiently high. Additionally, stealth detection and sneak attack damage bonuses are governed by perks that can turn a skillful sneak into a fearsome opponent, even giving the ability to turn briefly invisible in the midst of combat by sneaking.
One-handed weapons include swords, axes, maces, and daggers; while two-handed weapons include greatswords, battle-axes, and warhammers. Bows are featured as the game's only distanced weaponry. Weapons follow a material progression similar to that of Patapon, starting at iron weapons and ending with Divine metal weapons.
Due to the highly-criticized leveling system of Patapon 3, some locations are set independently of the player's level and will not be reasonable for the player to attempt to take on at a lower level, whereas other areas will have enemies and loot set according to player level at the time of the player's first entry into the location. In the second case, the enemies will stay at that level determined by the player's first entry, meaning that a player returning to a location visited early in the game will be able to clear the location of foes with greater ease.
Armor has been condensed somewhat further from previous Patapon games; rather than independently present Helms, Shoulderguards and Shields, the game features "armor," which unifies the three into a single piece of equipment. Helmets and Boots remain unchanged from Patapon. Equipment weight has generally been re-scaled, making even the heaviest of heavy armors more realistic in weight; this is due in part to the significantly greater limits on the maximum inventory carry weight the player can achieve in Pata-Skyrim. Heavy and light armors remain as the two available categories, and each follows a somewhat different material progression, with light armor favoring hides, furs, and leathers until high levels, while heavy armor favors metal throughout its course. Additionally, armor and weaponry no longer degrade with use and thus do not require any manner of upkeep. Instead, weapons and armor can be improved at the Blacksmith.