Review - posted by Role-Player on Mon 29 January 2007, 04:01:05Tags: Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; The Bard's Tale (2004)
inXile's The Bard's Tale gets a Codexian smackdown for your reading pleasure. Bard lovers stay away.
Unlike most other hackâ€™nâ€™slashers, The Bardâ€™s Tale has no inventory to speak of nor does it have any loot that you can physically acquire from fallen enemies. All the items the Bard can acquire are either purchased at weapon stores and taverns, or handed out at several fixed points in the gameâ€™s story with the weaker equipment being automatically converted to the gameâ€™s currency. It's not hard to imagine some sort of brief setup on why this happens - considering the Bard's big mouth and penchant for making rash decisions, he might have angered some wizard or genie that made his desire for coin come true but at the expense of never being able to acquire items unless he spent the gold he cherished so much. But nothing ever explains the logic behind this quirky mechanic, ingame or otherwise. And since the Bard's equipment is improved once in a while by picking up better weapons and replacing the ones he has automatically with shinier and deadlier versions, why am still I finding poor weapons that are instantly changed to gold? Instead of just finding a ton of weapons the Bard won't equip and since automation was apparently a design goal, why not have enemies just drop gold right away? There's no point showing the player a weapon or item the Bard has picked up but won't be able to use. There could be a certain charm to the items you find on slain enemies but seeing Wolfs dropping the likes of picnic baskets and red hoods isnâ€™t exactly pushing humor to new heights.
Who would've thought loot in a hack'n'slasher was good?
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Editorial - posted by Vault Dweller on Thu 4 January 2007, 21:21:55Tags: The Year in Review
Another great year is done and gone. Let's take a moment and bask in the memories:
Bioware's younger brother kinda saved the year with Neverwinter Nights 2, which could be described as Baldur's Gate 2 meets Icewind Dale 2, which is great, because these are my favourite games. From Baldur's Gate weâ€™ve got the epic story reflecting the choiceless life of the Chosen One, and from Icewind Dale 2 weâ€™ve got endless waves of enemies and more combat than in Halo, which is another of my favourite games, so I'm pretty sure we are dealing with an instant classic and a game of the year material here. Any game that features a githyanki proctologist [spoiler] who will remove a two handed sword that got stuck in your ass during a questionable anal game when you were a child [/spoiler] has gotta be good. Don't worry about getting lost in the game though, it's one of the most linear games I've ever seen, and even individual maps feature super linear maze-like designs, firmly leading you in circles to your destinations through waves of unavoidable enemies. Every now and then you are given a dialogue option that can help you avoid 5% of combat in an area, to remind you that it's not a Diablo clone, but a fully blown role-playing game.
Review - posted by Role-Player on Mon 27 November 2006, 02:57:42Tags: Sir-Tech; Wizardry 8
Today we look back at a forgotten gem of a game, [URL='http://www.sir-tech.com/wizardry8/']Wizardry 8[/URL], developed by [URL='http://www.sir-tech.com/']Sir-Tech[/URL]. Here's a glimpse of our [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.com/content.php?id=138']review[/URL]. [INDENT]The depth of the character system really allows for some good party design and this shows in combat. There are all sorts of combinations one can pull off that take advantage of the strengths of party members. You can focus on going for direct damage spells to quickly take out single targets or use status changing spells to reduce enemy resistances then send frontliners to clean them up. You can have spellcasters depend solely on spells at every turn or equip them with ranged weapons to cause some damage while saving spell points for more drastic situations. Or just have Bards play their instruments and Gadgeteers use their gadgets while spellcasters cast Stamina on them. Working with each character's skill levels is also important. For instance an Alchemist may create potions but if he is not skilled at throwing them he may fumble and drop it on the party instead. In which case a Ninja might be a better choice given his excellence with thrown items. Frontliners who have problems with our of reach enemies can invest in ranged weapons, bomb throwing, or protecting weaker members by taking blows directed at them. You can also hire RPCs which may benefit the party by bringing in skills no one else in the party has. Eight characters not enough? Open a can of Canned Elemental on your enemies too. Dozens and dozens of ways to handle combat are available. And honestly, how many other games allow you to play as a Faerie Ninja?[/INDENT]
Review - posted by Vault Dweller on Mon 20 November 2006, 03:46:22Tags: Gothic III; Piranha Bytes; Vince D. Weller
I humbly submit our [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.com/content.php?id=137']Gothic 3 review[/URL] to your attention: [INDENT]The orcs in Gothic 3 are not some wild beasts, roaming the land, but a well organized tribal society that knows nothing but war and respects nothing but strength. No wonder they have finally won. The buggers have always dreamt of world domination, but were defeated and stopped at every turn, from The Lord of the Rings to Warcraft 3, until Piranha Bytes developers of equal opportunities gave them a chance to run the show. And you know what, it kinda worked. The war is finally over - a fact noted and appreciated by many humans who were sick and tired of it. The towns and settlements are properly guarded and managed. The slave business (trade, management, and hunting) is a booming industry that has even brought the hashashin experts from the south. Great employment opportunities are available for human mercenaries who don't think that hiding in caves & forests, playing Robin Hood, is a good career path.[/INDENT] Don't forget to take a look at the screens. My character risked his life many a time for them.
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Wed 8 November 2006, 17:23:17Tags: Drakensang
We present you our Drakensang interview with Jan Lechner, Project Lead, and Bernd Beyreuther, Creative Director.
5. You've also mentioned that you feel that a "purely turn-based system only addresses a minority of today's RPG audience". Even though I agree with you 100%, unfortunately, here is a simple question: why? Do you feel that the era of turn-based RPGs is over and no TB game, no matter how successful it is, can bring it back? Or do you feel that a TB game simply can not be successful these days, at least not the way a Baldur's Gate-like game can?
Bernd Beyreuther: That is a good and very interesting question. I donâ€™t think that a round-based RPG can not be a success, quite the opposite, I played â€œAdvance Warsâ€ obsessively for several weeks on my DS not long ago. I do believe that you can still make turn-based games that reach the masses. In fact, we are working on several concepts in this direction, especially with the new portable systems in mind.
It is another question, whether an RPG that aims to captivate and entertain â€“ which needs to have cinematic, dramatic, emotional aspects in addition to the rules and combat system â€“ is well served by interruptions. I believe that the intellectual, pondering chess-like style of a TB game does not mix well with atmospheric elements, story and emotion, as it breaks the playerâ€™s immersion.
Read the rest here
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Tue 12 September 2006, 17:32:48Tags: The Broken Hourglass
The Broken Hourglass is a promising indie title, inspired by the Baldur's Gate series. We asked Jason Compton a few questions about the game:
Augmenting the skills are traits, one-time purchases which enable new attack modes, or make a character better at managing the weight of his or her armor or weapons, or make certain types of attack more or less effective. Traits are point-buy and each has a unique cost, so no two traits are necessarily exactly alike or equivalent. We are presently planning to include negative traits as well, allowing you to "buy" points by taking a permanent hindrance.Negative traits are a great, but often overlooked feature. Definitely include them.
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Sun 30 July 2006, 16:35:58Tags: Prelude to Darkness; Zero Sum
We've tracked down Zero Sum's CP McBee and Mat Williams and pretty much demanded to answer our questions. Or else.
2. You must have realized that the game won't sell as much as an action RPG or at least as a somewhat familiar RPG with orcs and elves and knights in shiny armors would. Yet you made it anyway. Why?
Our goal was to build games specifically for hard core role playing gamers. Both Mat and I had worked at video game companies before, but it didn't take much foresight to tell where the industry was headed. Overhead costs were soaring and people were becoming much more conservative with what kind of creative risks they were willing to take on a game. They lacked originality and required no thought whatsoever. So, we decided to proceed even though there was not so much money to be made initially. It was more important to us to build a sustainable business model based on the creation of good games. We thought it would be feasible because our margins would be lowered via exclusively distributing through the internet.
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Sat 17 June 2006, 08:18:37Tags: King's Bounty: The Legend
In order to bring you the most comprehensive Battle Lord interview in the history of the internet, we've formed an unholy alliance with TCancer.
5. The game is being labeled as a fantasy RPG. What role-playing elements does it offer?
I would rather say that our game is more an adventure with RPG elements. First of all we have an advanced spell system, which is non-linear or offers a choice between enemy parties. Some quests or options of their accomplishment will be connected with your character development. And, of course, there will be character development. The hero has about 30 skills and a traditional for RPGs inventory/doll.
Click here for 23 more questions
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Sat 20 May 2006, 06:11:07Tags: Gothic III; Piranha Bytes
Here is the second part of our Gothic 3 interview with Kai Rosenkranz.
9. Tell us about factions. It's been mentioned that you can join more than one faction, and that you can leave a faction. Can you explain how that works? Also, why did you decide to move away from the "join one faction and stick with it" model? Any Orcish factions/clans?A controversial feature. If done right, it would add another layer of depth to the game. If not... deja vu.
We have increased the degree of freedom in most aspects of the game. To create a coherent gameplay, the guild-concept needed a little more freedom, too. The general idea is to turn limits into options. In the predecessors, joining a guild meant being forced into only one third of the game. So in fact one would have to play the game at least three times to get the big picture. In Gothic 3, the hero can pick out the plum jobs and sympathize with more than one guild, or with none. Whether or not a guild offers him a quest does no longer depend on his affiliation to the guild, but on its attitude towards the player.
Interview - posted by DarkUnderlord on Mon 8 May 2006, 03:03:42Tags: Dropship; Laidback Gaming; Michael Sean McCarthy
Remember Troika Games? You know, that small development studio founded by some former members of Interplay Entertainment which collapsed in financial ruin this past Christmas? Well, someone survived. Michael McCarthy, probably best described as an all-round art guy and part of the Troika team, got in touch with us recently and told us about something new he's planning. It's an RPG. An Action-RPG actually. With turn-based combat... and it's set in that good old 3/4 top-down "isometric" view. We've dubbed it Project T-BAR 3/4 and he's setup his own studio called Laid Back Gaming to get the game developed. We decided to ask Michael all about it.
So all right then, here are the questions...
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Wed 3 May 2006, 01:56:12Tags: Gothic III; Piranha Bytes
Piranha Bytes' Kai Rosenkranz has answered a few questions about upcoming Gothic 3 to satisfy our curiosity. Kai asked us to split it in two parts to protect the uninitiated from all secret Gothic knowledge contained in the second part, which will be posted a week after E3
13. How does Gothic 3 handle choices & consequences? How important are choices and what would they affect? Would my character (not the player!) ever get a reason to regret a previously made choice?That's all I ever wanted - an option to make choices I will regret later on.
Gothic 3 is all about choices in the first place. Yes, there are great sword fights, powerful magic, a lifelike gaming world... but yet choices are the main gameplay element. The player can literally shape the world and influence the story through the way he's handling things. Most decisions have to be made in the field of human relations. The way the player is treating others influences their attitude towards him, and thus their cooperativeness depends on the right choice of words. With a dexterous tongue the hero can even talk a whole city into a revolution. This can also backfire on him, of course. If he falls out of favour with someone, he will most likely not get useful hints or lucrative quests. And yes, if the whole world wants him dead, he might at last regret his choices.
Review - posted by Vault Dweller on Sun 23 April 2006, 05:23:23Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; Vince D. Weller
We proudly present our [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.com/content.php?id=129']review[/URL] of the first truly next-generation RPG, [URL='http://www.elderscrolls.com/']Oblivion[/URL]: [INDENT=1][CENTER][SIZE=13px][B]However, with Morrowind I think we saw that our kind of game appeals to a wider audience, given the game's success among more casual gamers who are neither "hardcore" nor "RPG geeks".[/B][/SIZE][/CENTER][/INDENT] [INDENT=1][CENTER][SIZE=13px]Gavin Carter[/SIZE][/CENTER][/INDENT] [INDENT=1][LEFT][SIZE=13px]That quote is probably the best and most honest description of Oblivion I've ever seen. It's a game for casual players. Hardcore fans of the series or RPG geeks need not apply. You shall not find depth or challenge in Oblivion.[/SIZE][/LEFT][/INDENT]
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Wed 19 April 2006, 01:08:40Tags: CD Projekt; Witcher, The
We've had a chat with CD Projekt's Joanna Kobylecka, who was nice enough to answer a few questions about The Witcher in great details:
7. Choices & consequences. CD Projekt has mentioned previously that different paths have different consequences, and that there are no right or wrong choices. Can you elaborate on that?After Oblivion that sounds very, very appealing.
Because we present a fantasy world that has no true distinction between good and evil there really isnâ€™t a right or wrong choice. The Witcher is morally ambiguous. Within the story thereâ€™s a large political struggle occurring between the races and Geralt is struggling with his own existence. As a lone wolf you are not affiliated with any group, but your reputation, based on your previous actions and choices, has a major impact your future actions and choices.
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Fri 17 March 2006, 04:05:40Tags: Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment
JE Sawyer has graced us with his presence and answered a question or two:
In Fallout 3, I wanted to make a serious attempt at balancing firearms through the availability of ammunition. I believed that ammunition as a valuable commodity made sense in a wasteland environment. Low-power ammo would be relatively common, but the stuff found in high powered rifles, machineguns, plasma weapons, etc. would be much rarer. The firearm specializations would have come through perks. I didn't really want to take depth away from firearms; I wanted to make firearm depth comparable to the depth of the unarmed and melee skills. As long as the nature of firearms and ammunition was made clear to the player, I think it would have worked.
Review - posted by Vault Dweller on Tue 14 March 2006, 19:49:54Tags: Elemental Games; Space Rangers 2: Dominators; Vince D. Weller
I've finally had time to [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.com/content.php?id=126']review[/URL] [URL='http://www.elementalgames.com/eng/r_all.php']Space Rangers 2: Dominators[/URL], the verdict is "Must Buy!": [INDENT]Completing quests will have consequences, improving your relationship with some races, and completely pissing other races off. Also, those damn aliens lie to you and a seemingly innocent mission may turn into an insult to another race. I was once asked to deliver a rare animal specimen to a certain planet as an act of friendship from one race to another. Turned out, you have just delivered an abused ambassador back to his native planet in a cage. Needless to say, a few quests like that will ensure that next time you are in the neighbourhood, you will see battleships speeding toward you to inform in an up close and personal manner that they would really like to see you dead. If you do manage to land on a nearby planet, you will be taken to a local prison, which is a lot more fun than it sounds.[/INDENT] Read the full article: [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=126']Space Rangers 2 Review[/URL]
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Wed 8 March 2006, 02:05:04Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment
Chris Avellone, peace be upon him, has answered [URL='http://www.rpgcodex.com/content.php?id=125']a few questions[/URL] about games he has worked on. [INDENT]I take no offense to your honesty. But stay right where you are, a missile is arcing its way toward your home right now, and there is a lightsaber-wielding Jedi on top of it. Okay, so character resonance - I do think Kreia was a deep character, personally, but I can see how you would feel that way with some other characters... people were strangely divided on Bao-Dur, for example, and G0-T0, while I enjoyed him and I thought his voice actor was awesome (Daran Norris from [I]Team America[/I]), he never really clicked, and that's my fault. I also tried to add more personality to T3, but I'm not sure how well that turned out, either.[/INDENT] Enjoy the interview.
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Fri 3 February 2006, 22:58:18Tags: Basilisk Games; Eschalon: Book I
We've had a chat with Thomas Riegsecker of Basilisk Games about Eschalon: Book I, an indie turn-based fantasy game that should be available this Spring.
7. What other non-combat activities are in the game? What does a skill like Cartography do? How do they affect gameplay?
All the Skills are based on a 1-100 range, with 100 being godlike and would require a lifetime of devotion to achieve. Cartography is a good Skill to talk about: the automap in the upper right corner of the screen does not work at all until you have at least one point in your Cartography Skill. With just one point, your automap will work but it will only produce a crude outline of your surroundings. The more points you allot to your Cartography skill, the better the automap will look as color and details emerge. Eventually you can even get creatures and NPC locations to show up on the automap if your Skill rating gets high enough. Other non-combative Skills such as Lockpicking, Skullduggery (trap disarming), and Move Silently work the same way.
Click here to read the entire interview.
Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Fri 13 January 2006, 09:51:35Tags: BioWare; David Gaider
David Gaider of Bioware fame was kind enough to drop everything and answer a few questions about ... well, a lot of things, so you better see for yourself. Here is a snipet:
2. Turn-based vs real-time, your thoughts? Disclaimer: I'm not asking if Bioware would ever make a TB game or which system is better. I'm asking for your own opinion, preferences, even bias - anything goes.
I enjoy a good turn-based combat system. â€œTemple of Elemental Evilâ€ did it very well, I thought, and I remember the first â€œX-Comâ€ game being one of my all-time faves (though itâ€™s not an RPG, of course). I remember when â€œX-Com: Apocalypseâ€ came out, however, and it was going from turn-based to pauseable real-time combat and the fans of the series were in an uproar â€“ me included â€“ enough so that the developers put in a way to optionally use the old turn-based system instead. Much to my surprise I actually found that I enjoyed the real-time combat more. It was faster, and so long as I could still pause and give orders I still felt I had the ability to oversee and control everything that I wanted to. When I played â€œBaldurâ€™s Gateâ€ (which was before I started at Bioware), I found I really enjoyed the pauseable real-time combat there, too, even if it could get a bit hectic during large combats. Full real-time, however, the kind where you canâ€™t give orders while paused â€“ that stuff I just have no time for. Itâ€™s the main reason I donâ€™t play most RTS games.
There is more where it came from
Editorial - posted by Spazmo on Fri 6 January 2006, 20:51:01Tags: The Year in Review
For the third time in a row, we've whipped up a long-winded article about why this past year was such awful crap for the RPG genre.
But apparently BioWare has gotten tired of catering to the difficult PC market, what with demands for interesting plots, NPCs that aren't a pain in the ass and hey, maybe something without elves in it for a change? No, it's much easier to pander to console kiddies whose idea of RPG gameplay is collecting multicoloured ocarinas or watching twenty hours of FMV cutscenes. BioWare's forthcoming projects are mostly to be released on the Xbox 360 and include a whole trilogy of sci-fi "RPGs" called Mass Effect (colloquially known as "gravity" to those of us with a clue), which might be interesting if they weren't more FPS than RPG, according to press releases.Read on. We had a lot to whine about this year.
Review - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Sat 4 June 2005, 09:20:59Tags: Fate
Our review of Fate, that wacky dungeon crawling action rogue-like from Wild Tangent.
Probably the most important people in town, the ones you'll go to more often, are the quest givers. Quests int he game are simple, randomly generated missions involving the dungeon. They can vary in the goal, which can be to find an item, kill a creature, kill a certain number of creatures, or a combination of those things. In exchange for your time and risking your neck, you'll recieve additional experience, fame, and gold. In some cases, you may have an item as a reward as well. It may or may not be as nice as the item you pick up in the quest, though. In cases like that, if you decide you can't live without that quest item, you can simply cancel the quest and keep the item. No one will cry foul over it. After all, you're the one that went down there to get it. Finders keepers.
Yeah, greed is good.