Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Review RPG Codex Review: Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
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    Tags: Golden Era Games; Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar

    Cleve Blakemore's magnum opus Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar seems to be causing just as much drama since its release as it did during its 23 year-long development. During its first week, it received a flurry of updates which broke saved games several times, and bugfixes have continued to be issued on a regular basis. Despite these difficulties, we resolved to review the game in a timely manner. The perfect man for the job was felipepepe, who is both an accomplished reviewer and an RPG historian familiar with Grimoire's inspirations. 16 days and 80 hours of gameplay later, I'm pleased to present his findings. (As opposed to Cleve, who summarily banned felipe from his game's Steam forum when presented with them.) Here's an excerpt, including both the bad and the good:

    Of course, every RPG has a few cheesy tactics or overpowered items, spells, skills and builds. With a good guide you can usually become nearly-invincible. But I played Grimoire blindly, without even knowing what most stats do. And there were so many overpowered things - items, skills, spells and even recruitable NPCs - that you basically need a guide on how NOT to cheese: don't use Deep Freeze, Bards, Hold Monster, Lethal Blow, Vorpal Sword, Paralysis, Psychopompic Orb, Time Stop, Crown of Gorgon, etc. But even if you stop cheesing, enemies certainly won't.

    More than just the numbers that pop up during combat, the enemies make little sense. Each area has an encounter table from which it draws enemies, and those can vary A LOT - in the same area you might get a large squad of fairies that will kill half your party before you can even act; OR you can get a dumb monk that will die in the first hit. Over 60 hours in I would still get to fight weak enemies from the first areas of the game! It got to the point that sometimes I had to save-scum encounters until they gave me a reasonable enemy.

    Yet even beating the most powerful foes the game threw at me felt unfulfilling. Enemies never drop anything except a few keys for chests, and XP rewards are also completely unbalanced. In the same area you might fight weak enemies that give you 4,000xp, while the deadly ones will give like 100xp. By the end-game my characters needed around 200,000xp to reach the next level, but enemies there gave only like 500xp - and the game's final quest gave me only 9,000xp! As a result, I never reached level 10 with any character, and never could try the whole class change feature that supposedly allows you to unlock classes like Pirate, Assassin and Jester.

    To make things weirder, Grimoire employs some controversial death mechanics: each time you resurrect a character, his constitution goes down. And some races can only be resurrected by rare spells. In games like Wizardry VII this was already a challenge but, in an unbalanced mess where character death is basically inevitable, this meant ALL my original party members eventually reached the lowest constitution possible. Since they had stopped leveling up due to poor XP, I was effectively growing weaker the more I played.

    For a final showcase of how unbalanced this game is, take the Hall of Gorrors in Wizardry VII. That was the game's ultimate challenge, an optional area with super-hard boss battles, some of which would take over 20 minutes to beat with a high level party. Grimoire, of course, has its own "Hall of Gorrors" near the end, with seven optional bosses.

    I killed all of them in the first turn.

    So, with the combat & game balance in this sorry state, why the hell did I keep playing Grimoire?

    Well, first I had a prestigious review to write. Second, because the game truly excels at one thing that modern RPGs just don't deliver: the constant call to adventure.

    After you finish the first major quest and find the first of the Stone Tablets, the game opens into a massive world (this was where the Super Demo ended). Now you can explore in any direction, searching for the remaining seven Stone Tablets. It's hard to convey just how large this world is. It's easily more than twice the size of Wizardry VII, possibly thrice. While at this point the maps lose that conciseness of the initial areas, they're still reasonably sized, meaning you go through them at a quick pace, constantly experiencing new things. And some of these are quite well presented - not with fancy graphics, but with charming descriptive text, that nails that old-school AD&D-ish vibe.

    You enter a new area, a giant pyramid looms in the horizon... as you get close, you cross a field of charred bones and see a humanoid rat desperately running towards you, his eyes begging for help. Before you can do anything, a light flashes atop the pyramid and burns the rat to a crisp. As the smoke dissipates, you see the giant doors of the pyramid, inviting you in. At that point, I'm sold - into the pyramid we go!

    Like a RPG version of Civilization's "one more turn" cycle, there's always something just waiting to be discovered. Got into the a flooded city raided by Naga? Now there's a pirate compound for you to infiltrate by disguising yourself! Got past the pirates? Here's a magical sea chariot! And there's a sunken ship! And next to it is the Kraken that sank it! Got past it? Here's a giant ancient tower! And so on.

    So yeah, the first 15-20 hours of Grimoire were an excellent RPG - the remaining 60 hours were basically a fun adventure game with broken combat.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar
     
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  2. bataillegender: ⚧ Learned

    bataille
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    Je suis Felipe.
     
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  3. Make America Great Again Lambchop19gender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lambchop19
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    Review does not confirm or deny presence of ride-able turtles. FAIL. :0/5:
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
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  4. tindrligender: ⚧ Arcane

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    at least i lived to see a day of release
     
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  5. Make America Great Again Lady Errorgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lady Error
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    Good, balanced review. One thing though:

    The food mechanic will likely be something else instead and the food you find is there to increase vitality, eg. when swimming.
     
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  6. just janior pretty pretty please.gender: ⚧ Magister

    just janior pretty pretty please.
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    every dungeon crawler has enemies that one shot your party tbh
     
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  7. J_Cgender: ⚧ One Bit Studio Patron Developer

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    This gonna be good.
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  8. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    I barely played it and even I know that food increases your vit so you don't have to rest every few steps. I guess the biggest indictment of Grimoire is that even someone who needs to learn2play can beat it.

    Anyhow, true to my word, I'd like to warn unsuspecting newbs that Felipe pretends to like classic blobbers more then he actually does, never actually having completed one (until Grimoire). Something to keep in mind. I'd also like to congratulate him on finally coming out of the balancefag closet.

    Figures, don't it, how someone who talked a big game about how much he hated "overbalance" and the Principles of Sawyerism was secretly sucking Sawyer cock all this time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
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  9. TripJackgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Hedonist

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    but did it make you believe a baby can fly
     
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  10. Make America Great Again Zorba the Huttgender: ⚧ Arcane Weasel

    Zorba the Hutt
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    Enjoyed reading the review.

    As far as the editorial goes - I'm pleased to present his findings. (As opposed to Cleve, who summarily banned felipe from his game's Steam forum when presented with them) - we discussed the banning saga at length in the other thread so without wanting to kick that off again I think it's fair to post what Cleve's actual response to being 'presented with the findings' was, before the argument over his previous comments on balance intensified:

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Make America Great Again Lady Errorgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lady Error
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    Someone got butthurt enough over Cleve's ban that they removed "MASSIVE INCLINE" from the title of the Grimoire release thread.
     
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  12. DavidBValgender: ⚧ Arcane Patron Developer

    DavidBVal
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Good and balanced review. Pretty much mirrors my experience in the first 25 hours, when I decided it was better to wait for V2.

    However it fails to address the biggest issue in Grimoire: awful title screen. Cleve should go back to the original one, or randomly rotate them.
     
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  13. Make America Great Again Lady Errorgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lady Error
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    "Blatant misrepresentation", like someone else said.
     
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  14. buru5gender: ⚧ Very Grumpy Dragon Patron

    buru5
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    Decent. I haven't gotten to the point where you get 4000xp from weak enemies yet, so I don't know if that's an exaggeration or not, but it seems to me if that's the case then you could use those encounters to grind the XP that felipepepe so desperately needed for multi-classing.
     
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  15. Viatagender: ⚧ Arcane

    Viata
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    So you don't consider Grimoire a classic blobbers, right?

    Still reading the review, will comment later.
     
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  16. AArmanFVgender: ⚧ Learned

    AArmanFV
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire
    Weak enemies who give a lot of experience exists since long time ago in blobbers that only Sawyer hate, like the Will O' Wisp or the Frost Giants in Wizardry.
     
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  17. Make America Great Again Lord Andregender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lord Andre
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    This part's not even true, you can right-click on the icon to bring up a context menu with all the actions.

    Shit review btw, as expected.
     
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  18. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Added a *until Grimoire, much obliged.
     
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  19. Viatagender: ⚧ Arcane

    Viata
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    Although I do believe he finished Wizardry VII.
     
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  20. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

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    He turned random encounters off since they were too annoying.
     
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  21. buru5gender: ⚧ Very Grumpy Dragon Patron

    buru5
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    Lmfao what a fucking joke
     
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  22. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    If you actually read the review you would see the reasoning behind it.
     
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  23. Viatagender: ⚧ Arcane

    Viata
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    Given how level works, he would have to grind for 600 hours to be able to get a Jester class. Guess that's where those 600 hours gameplay comes from.
     
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  24. Make America Great Again Lord Andregender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lord Andre
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    At least after reading this I know where felipepe's biggest anal pain comes from. He can't live with the injustice that Cleve charges 40 bucks for his game while his precious weaboo crap is being sold for the same price as a six-pack of toilet paper.

    Try the superdemo, it's free ! herp derp
     
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  25. Make America Great Again Lady Errorgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lady Error
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    Yeah, if I had to scroll through the icons I would complain about the UI too. Except right clicking absolutely works - from day one.

    Cleve already said leveling will be adjusted. People used to get to Level 27 at the end.
     
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