• Welcome to ResetEra 2.0! Guests should now be able to save their dark or light theme preferences, found on the left sidebar.

RPG Community |OT| Take the Epoch to a New Era

Oct 27, 2017
471
0
Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s Log, 11/8/18


Ah, fresh and air sunshine again. The surface elves aren’t too happy to meet with me though, seeing as I just came from the lair of their mortal enemies who are well known for their devious tricks. The captain in charge of this outpost gets some polygraphomancers to determine if I’m telling the truth while he interrogates me. When asked if I was an ally of the Drow or simply running from them, I answered neither, I’m not running just racking up a pile of dark elf corpses as I pass through.

Result: TRUTH

Next question: They hear I am looking for Irenicus, am I an ally of his as well? Response: I’m looking for him so I can utterly destroy him for what he’s done to me and take back the shattered fragments of my soul.

Result: THE TRUTHIEST TRUTH THAT WAS EVER TOLD


The elves are pleased with these answers. The are no friends of Irenicus because

he took their whole entire city from them! It’s just gone. They know it’s some kind of powerful illusion but they have no way of dispelling it and getting inside. There is an ancient relic in the form of a Lantern that can always lead to the heart of the city, but Bodhi has stolen it. And both Bodhi and Irenicus have been way powered up by absorbing mine and Imoen’s demigod souls.


Unfortunately he cannot help me find this lantern since they cannot leave the entrance to the Underdark here lest the Drow invade. But he advises that I will need lots of help against my powered-up enemies, so I should seek out allies I have helped in the past and see if they can return the favor. All right time for another world tour since now the map is open to us again.


I set out for the main city of Athkatla, but along the way I am stopped by some other travelers. Turns out it is the man, the myth, the legend himself Drizzt Do’Urden. He greets me, and my companion Jaheira reminds me that although he is a drow he is a good guy and known throughout the land as a hero. He addresses me and through the dialogue choices I can respond with my familiarity with him.


See, you also can meet Drizzt in Baldur’s Gate 1. And depending on your alignment, you can either work with him on a quest or kill him and take his stuff. Although I imported my character from BG1, it was only the character stats, not the decisions made during the game. So right now my dialogue choices are:

1> Who are you?

2> Remember me? I helped you kill some gnolls.

3> Didn’t I kill you and steal all of your stuff?


That’s right, you can kill the most famous guy in D&D lore in the first game. That’s like if Square let you kill Mickey Mouse at the start of the first Kingdom Hearts. Anyway since I didn’t kill him though, I chose option 2. We shoot the breeze a bit, and I get around to asking him if he can assist me in the upcoming fight since I’m supposed to looking for allies. He agrees! Alright, we’re starting out of a good foot already, and continue on the way to Athkatla.


Once I get to the big city I head over to the Order of the Radiant Heart, the Paladin’s guild. Earlier in the game I rescued a local lord’s daughter from the red dragon Firkraag, and he said he would put in a good word for us with the order. Unfortunately I didn’t check back with them before sailing away from the city earlier. But now I can speak to the head of the Order, and he gives me the option of joining their organization. My main character is a Paladin and this is a good opportunity for some progression, so I accept. He immediately has some tasks for me to go on.


The first task is to rescue a party of paladins that went to the Umar Hills to fight some orcs but got in over their heads. No problem there, since I completed a few quests in the Umar Hills area earlier and had it fully mapped out. I travel there, flick some orcs away, and all paladins survive. Simple enough, I head back to HQ in the city for some sweet quest XP.


The second task is to settle a dispute between a local Duke and some farmers. The Duke has hired us because he says the farmer have gone crazy and started to attack us out of nowhere, and he wants us to “sort them out”. Well we’re paladins not a mercenary service so I talk to the farmers first. They say he’s not even the legitimate landowner, and he’s been burning their crops in an attempt to chase them out. I try to arbitrate and let the Duke know that I won’t just do his dirty work to eliminate innocent farmers. He throws a tantrum that he should get everything he wants because he’s rich, even if he doesn’t have any right to their lands. It’s such a bad tantrum that he attacks us. Big mistake, buddy. Let’s just hope everyone has now learned a lesson with this meaningless bloodshed.


The head of the order is a little disappointed that we had to get violent, but understands given the situation. Task number three: a prominent family in the city here has all but been slaughtered for speaking out against the slavers. The only survivor was the daughter of this family who had managed to hide and is now in a safehouse. Our job is to guard her until more distant relatives can come and take her away to safety. She has a terrible attitude though, and doesn’t appreciate us being there. But it’s easy enough to just ignore her and do our job. Several waves of assassins later, the uncle finally shows up and the mission is over.


The fourth and final task is much tougher than the previous ones, and takes us back to where this quest line started. We must head back to the Windspear hills and take out the red dragon Firkraag once and for all. The prize: a +5 Holy Avenger sword that Firkraag has in his stash.

THIS is what is makes this side trip worth it. The Holy Avenger is what every level 1 Paladin dreams of at night. The Paladin-only weapon that has big bonuses to hit and damage, gives magic resistance on equip, and dispells magical defenses on every hit. It’s the perfect anti-wizard weapon, and as most folks know in high level D&D the wizards are always the biggest threats.

So I make my way back to Firkraag lair. There’s no damsel in distress to rescue this time, just me and the big lizard. I buff my party with as much fire resistance as possible, summon the highest level creatures I have spells for, and go in swinging. About 15 quick-loads later he goes down without any (non-summoned) party members lost. Nailed it!




I recover me sweet sweet sword and head back the Order HQ to finish off a job well done. Also I speak to the head of the Order about the big fight coming up, and he agrees to help us out with as many paladins as he can. Nice!


One more destination for now, back to the Shadow Thieves guildhall in the docks district. I have a word with the guildmaster about the traitorous sea captain Seamon he set us up with. The guildmaster claims there was nothing he could do, the guy was outsourced and nobody else was willing to sail to that crazy Mage Asylum island. But on a positive note, he also has a bone to pick with the enemies I’m facing in the battle ahead, so he pledges to help us out as well.


Things are looking good. For the upcoming throwdown in the boneyard I’ve enlisted the help of the Shadow Thieves, the Order of the Radiant Heart, and Drizzt Do’Urdern and his motley crew. I don’t know for sure is this is enough, but it sure sounds good on paper. Next time, to battle!
 
Nov 4, 2017
1,241
0
About 5 hours into FFX atm and I'm really in love with this game. Just love everything about it. The music, the characters, the setting it's just great all around.

Big fan of the sphere grid as well.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,518
0
Crossposting since I made a threadabout it, but I'm very excited for Virgo Vs The Zodiac! It's inspired by Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario, Mario & Luigi, Mother, Undertale, and more!



Check the trailer!


 
OP
OP
FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
I'm working on a response to Ratchetdude231 's FFVI post (and also I want to take this opportunity to say I'm still loving the BG2 writeups Taborcarn ) but in the meantime:

Any Ultima Underworld fans in this thread? Y'all still alive after all these years?!



Well good news - if you didn't know already, Underworld Ascendant is releasing in four days on PC and is looking pretty awesome. Launch trailer:


It's a spiritual successor to UU "From the creative minds behind the System Shock, Thief and Underworld® series." Definitely keep it on your radar if you don't have it there already.

On an unrelated CRPG note, I picked up PoE2 after reading so much in the sales thread about how different it is from PoE1. For those of you who either beat it or put decent time into it, is it true that it's pretty different? Is it good? Is the setting (Pirate Polynesia...?) as interesting as it sounds?
 
Beat the Robot's story in SaGa Frontier. Two down! Might take a break from it though. The two I beat so far, Red and the Robot's stories were not that compelling and I get the feeling thats how the rest of the game is. Though I am tempted to start another character ASAP now that I understand the game a bit more.

Maybe after I make some progress in P5 I'll return.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,493
0
It's a spiritual successor to UU "From the creative minds behind the System Shock, Thief and Underworld® series." Definitely keep it on your radar if you don't have it there already.

On an unrelated CRPG note, I picked up PoE2 after reading so much in the sales thread about how different it is from PoE1. For those of you who either beat it or put decent time into it, is it true that it's pretty different? Is it good? Is the setting (Pirate Polynesia...?) as interesting as it sounds?
Not to be a debbie downer but I thought PoE2 was inferior to the first game in almost every single way.

PoE2 has better:
- Itemization
- Graphics

PoE1 has better:
- Encounter design
- Dungeon design
- Combat system
- Difficulty balance
- Music
- Story
- Writing
- Characters
- Music
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,894
0
I posted about Underworld Ascendant on Twitter the other day, and someone asked me if it was a new Underworld movie.
This game is going to tank. :(

But I'm extremely excited about it. I backed it, of course, and I've cleared my week for it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,511
0
Austria
So.....Microsoft wouldn't buy both inXile AND Obsidian to completely ignore the genre those two excel at right? Right? That would be like buying Bioware and having them make mediocre third person shooters, nobody would do that.

I posted about Underworld Ascendant on Twitter the other day, and someone asked me if it was a new Underworld movie.
This game is going to tank. :(

But I'm extremely excited about it. I backed it, of course, and I've cleared my week for it.
Now I want an Underworld movie RPG.
But yeah, I also worry for the game
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,493
0
I'm more worried about the quality of Underworld then I am about the sales. From what I've seen of the beta the game is a mess on pretty much all fronts. The game is in fact so bad that GOG has rejected it entirely and the devs are now scrambling to find an alternate DRM free solution for backers.

All signs point to UA being a unmitigated disaster.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,894
0
I'm a bit dubious of the idea that GOG rejected it for quality reasons considering some of the garbage that shows up on GOG.

As far as the game itself goes, I'm remaining optimistic despite it very clearly not being the game that was pitched. I'm hoping I'll still enjoy it.
 
Oct 26, 2017
784
0
GOG rejecting a game doesn't mean anything. They rejected Opus Magnum at first because apparently it looked like too much like a mobile game.

That said, from what I've heard the beta impressions aren't that positive though.
 
Oct 27, 2017
471
0
Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s Log 11/9/18


All my preparations are in order so now it’s time to assault the Graveyard District… again. As soon as I enter, Bodhi greets me and gives the usual villain taunting. But on top of that she sees that Aerie is my romance option… and it would be a shame if I lost her. Bodhi abducts Aerie and transforms her into a vampire. Damnit! Not only do I have to rescue her, but I’m down a person too. I see that Viconia, another potential party member that I haven’t used yet, is still hanging around the graveyard. I ask her to join, but since she’s evil I lose 2 points of reputation. Nah screw that, I’ll leave the spot open in case I can get Aerie to re-join. Quick-Load.


Most of the old entrances into the underground dungeon have been collapsed, so I have to find the one that still work. Doesn’t seem like a trap at all. But when I get downstairs, a group of paladins is waiting to help us. Hooray allies! But as soon as I clear out the first major room, the captain of the paladins tells the rest of his men to go home and he’s the only one who stays. Ah well. There’s a couple of coffins here, so I use some wooden stakes I’ve collected throughout the game and permanently end some vampires (usually they turn to mist and escape when I defeat them in battle).


I keep heading north, and Drizzt & company are battling another group of undead. Same deal as with the paladins though, once the room is cleared only Drizzt stays. And repeat for the third big room and the Shadow thieves. That seems to be all the vamps there are except for the big boss Bodhi, so I guess I was able to get the maximum number of allies. I buff my group and prepare for the fight.


Have I mentioned I hate energy drain? With almost every hit, vampires make your characters lose entire character levels. These can be recovered with a Restoration spell, but that immediately exhausts the spellcaster and they need to rest again. Since I lost one of my divine casters when Aerie was abducted, now I only have poor Sir Anomen who can use Restoration. So even though this is a super urgent battle, I’ve spent at least 2 weeks resting to recover status and spells. Such is life in a CRPG.


All that’s left now are Bodhi and a couple minions, and they go down with less of a struggle than I expect. Unfortunately one of those minions is Aerie and I am forced to strike her down. There is a bright side though, as it seems like the vampirism process is not complete and it may be possible to reverse the process, according to some ancient books found in Bodhi’s study. Also I get to stake Bodhi once and for all, and keep her black heart as a souvenir. Also I collect the relic lantern that the elves had sent me here for.


According to the books I found I need to take Aerie to the fallen temple of the Sun God in Umar hills. I’ve already been here for a previous quest so it’s fully mapped out and cleared of enemies. I find a statue in the center of the temple and lay Aerie’s body there along with Bodhi’s heart. A big flash of light and my party is complete once more. And while I’m here, there’s an undead Shadow Dragon in the basement that I wasn’t able to beat the last time I was here (I had to use a ward stone to sneak past it undetected). But that was many levels and tons of equipment upgrades ago, so since I’m in the neighborhood it’s time to take another crack at it. Success! Bonus XP and gold are always nice, and I get some shadow dragon scales for crafting.


Now it’s time to take the lantern back to the Elves. They use it, and are able to create an entrance back to their city. I’m treated to a very since, circa-2000 CGI cutscene of the city running at a solid 15FPS at 640x480 resolution. Neat.


Also, some critical backstory:

Irenicus and Bodhi used to be elves that lived here. But Irenicus tried to tap into the life force of the world tree to turn himself into a god. He failed and damaged the world tree, causing a majority of the elf population to become sick. As punishment the Queen exiled them, and turned them into humans. To Bodhi and Irenicus this was a death curse, since humans have such shorter lifespans. Also now they’d never get into Elf Heaven. Bodhi turned to vampirism to extend her life, but Irenicus didn’t want to go down that path. Instead he made his plan to steal my demigod soul, and use to it become a god where he had failed before. And he’s going to do it in the palace here, the main path to the world tree.


The elf captain who was guarding the Underdark border stays at the city entrance and tells me to direct any survivors I can to him so they can escape. There a still a number of these survivors so I do my best to help them while working past the army of trolls, rakshasa, and golems. I’m even seeing some Adamantite golems, which are some real tough bastards. I find the high priestess and she tells me there are 3 relics spread through the city needed to activate the temple and take down the barrier around the palace. The first two are easy enough to obtain but the third is held by a black dragon. Another one?


Well this dragon is about the same level of difficulty as the last 2 I just fought, so he’s manageable. I take all three relics to the temple and it summons an avatar of the elven god whose name I’m not going to attempt spelling. He takes down the barrier around the palace and releases a bunch of vengeful elven spirits that kill off the rest of the invading army.


Time assault the palace. This seems like a good breakpoint to end the session. Tommorrow, to battle (again)!
 
Oct 27, 2017
134
0
I've actually been playing 2 RPGs mainly, lately, but both of them kinda don't require me to post in this thread. They both have dedicated threads of their own.

It's been a lot of DQIV (which is beyond lovely; I'm about 20 hours in and I love how much the game has opened up). Playing DQ on my commute has been one of the joys of the past year.

The other game I've really been digging into (and am almost finished with!) is Shadowrun: Dragonfall. I've been posting my thoughts about the game in the RPG Club thread, which can be found here. It's really an excellent RPG, and thanks to FiveSide and his encouragement, it's my first CRPG. I'd highly recommend that if you're interested in dabbling in CRPGs, this would be an excellent start. Not too challenging, not too long, and if you've played SRPGs or games like XCOM before, you'll find the combat comfortingly familiar.
 

Box of Kittens

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,600
0

After about 3 weeks of having a rough time with real life stuff I finally sat down last weekend and finished FF6. Overall I had a really fun time with the game. The characters are by far my favorite characters in the series thus far and I think it's strong cast is what elevates it for me. I love Terra and I just love her story. Her character arc throughout the game was just fantastic and I love how much she has changed by the end of the game. Celes is another character that I just really loved. I just honestly love the entire cast and I love how the game tries to explain their past and how their past experiences changed them. this is the 7th FF game and I've through to completion and none of the other games have had characters that I loved and adored as much as this game. Unfortunately I can't really say the same for Kefka as a villain. I think overall he's a fine main antagonist, but he doesn't quite top Sepiroth for me as my favorite villain in the series.

Another thing I wanted to note was that I adore this game's soundtrack. There are just so many amazing tracks that I can't even begin listing them all here, but the soundtrack just elevates the overall experience so much for me. Despite not playing many SNES games this game is just downright gorgeous as well. The art is great, and there are some scenes that just blew me away. While I'm sure there are SNES games that look better than this, this was a massive step up from FFV in the visuals front. The translation was a bit awkward to see at first having already played FF1-4 and FF5 with the GBA script, but outside of Fenix down I thought it was pretty good overall.

When it came to the combat system I really enjoyed it overall, but I admittedly had a lot of FF4 PSP flashbacks when it came to difficulty. I didn't experiment with FF4's combat enough to speak for how broken it was mechanically, but my biggest takeaway from FF6 is that it's not only a very easy FF game, but also one that can easily be broken. This isn't really much of an issue for me in particular since I kinda suck at videogames, but there were some things that were a bit jarring in the game. Sabin is incredibly powerful, and Edgar's tools can be abused like mad. Mages are incredibly powerful as well once equipped with things such as earrings and the enhancer swords. With that being said there is an aspect of the combat in this game that I did love and that's the Espers. I really enjoyed how the espers played a role in the story, it made them feel less like summons that you just got throughout the story and made them feel like allies who were fighting alongside you. Likewise I really love the role they played on a gameplay level. Experimenting with new Espers, gaining their abilities was just really fun, and when you couple that with the relics it almost felt like there was a mini job system in the game where all your characters just feel incredibly versatile. Why depend on a mage in your party to heal your characters when each individual character can learn cure 3 from an esper? I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the game, and while yes it definitely makes an already easy game a hell of a lot easier I think it gave the player a lot of room to experiment which I very much enjoyed.

This is a completely other topic in it's entirety, but I think perhaps my biggest regret when it comes to playing the FF games was that I started with 7 and went backwards instead of starting with 1. While obviously FF6 and FF7 aren't identical they share a lot in common and I can't help but feel that I would have had a much stronger appreciation for FF6 had I gone into FF7 already played it. With that being said I likely would still be in the same situation I am now where I can't really pick a favorite between the two.
FF6 is definitely an easy game to break. Most characters have a super powerful setup, though in some cases it's easier to find than others. When I first played the game, Edgar pretty much instantly became my favorite character the moment I broke out the AutoCrossbow, and by late game you can get a lot of milage out of him with the Dragon Horn (Mog too). Sabin is probably the most famously broken character, since you can obtain Bum Rush relatively early, although several characters can actually surpass him by the end. Terra and Celes are great for their combination of high base magic power and elite equipment (especially in the original release with the Evade bug), Gau's Rages make him incredibly versatile if you build up a good collection, Setzer has Fixed Dice + Offering, etc.

The comment you made about a mini job system kinda ties into a thought I've had bouncing around my head about how FF4 and FF6 both build off of their immediate predecessor's job systems. Each character in FF4 takes the role of one or more of FF3's jobs (Kain = Dragoon, Rydia = Summoner + Black Wizard). Where FF3 gave you the ability to change jobs (and tended to have dungeons with certain jobs in mind), FF4 fixes who you have and sets up its dungeons around your party). FF5 introduced subclassing to the job system, and so FF6 uses Espers and Relics as a means of subclassing. Again each character in FF6 has a class (though it doesn't always map to one present in FF5, you have Locke = Thief, Mog = Geomancer, Strago = Blue Mage, and the like). Espers of course allow (almost) every character to use Magic to their hearts content, and much of what Relics do is what was handled in FF5 by assigning secondary abilities like Cover or Two-Handed. FF4 takes FF3's system (where a character's current role is entirely defined by their job) and uses it for a system where each character has a fixed identity. FF6 does the same with FF5's system (where a character's current role is defined by their job and their secondary ability).
 
Oct 25, 2017
419
0
Vienna
I'm a bit dubious of the idea that GOG rejected it for quality reasons considering some of the garbage that shows up on GOG.

As far as the game itself goes, I'm remaining optimistic despite it very clearly not being the game that was pitched. I'm hoping I'll still enjoy it.
What has changed from the initial pitch?
Haven't really followed the game since it was announced, but I've been looking forward to it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,442
0
Got to Chapter 5 in TitS SC now. Cookies once again saved the day--I really needed to kill the small monsters quickly and they were very dodge-happy and also liked to interrupt magic (and distribute random status effects) so I got rid of half of them with cookie spam and then had more room to cast magic on the second half. The rest of the fight was between two large enemies, one of which absorbed physical and the other of which absorbed magic. I killed the absorb physical one first, keeping the caster interrupted mostly.

There was a lot of post-chapter content though and I also left some of the exterminate monsters quest until the end (was unsure I could do that until I tested it tbh), so mopping up chapter 4 took a while.

It is interesting that I have now, already, spent more time in TitS SC than I did in TitS FC. It really doesn't feel that way; it is not like I didn't do all the sidequests in FC too! The story is much slower going and it is a sort of strange mix of redux, remix, and new content without as tight a cohesive journey. But...it is fun and when it is on wrt narrative, it is quite strong.

It was interesting playing as Joshua again in the intermission--I really miss his skill profile and hope I get him back some day before the end! I died to Mueller (playing on hard). Think I had to take the turns where he was focusing on Josette buffing myself/debuffing him; didn't know just how hard he was going to hit me.

The dream at the end of Chapter 4 was interesting and it was nice to see her family before Lena's death (and the dialogue was charming) and transforming into a child and working my out of that (that was a nice depiction of her being lulled into the dream's trap). It was also nice that this trap-dream was actually benevolent? In form if not function at least.

It is notable how good they are at depicting Estelle's loss and longing because, honestly, Estelle falling for Joshua in TitS FC felt pretty forced to me. They had their underlying dynamic, but so much of it was a lot of people suggesting to Estelle that she might feel that way or they would in her place ("so lucky to live with a cute boy!" and such) despite the faux brother/sister relationship. Yet here, every scene that deals with her pain, loss, longing, resolve, jealousy, etc. feels well delivered and believable. I think, so far, this is a better game for her.

It was strange seeing young Schera!
 
Oct 27, 2017
471
0
Baldur’s Gate 2 Cavalier’s log 11/10/18


I’m all rested and buffed up and it’s time for an assault on the elven Palace. It actually looks smaller on the inside, since at first I’m only able to see the main foyer, a room that’s empty except for a fountain and 2 statues. Each statue looks like there’s a piece missing, which thanks to thorough exploration of the outside elven city I’ve already found and don’t need to backtrack. With the pieces in place, the fountain fades away and a staircase is revealed. I head down and the rest of the palace is actually made up of branches of the world tree.


From here on out things are pretty spoilery for the main story, so I’m going to break out the tags.

As my party steps onto the tree we’re met by an image of the elven Queen. She states that she is trapped by a cage of corruption by Irenicus and this is as far as she can send her projection. As he is, Irenicus is now invincible since he is draining energy from the World Tree into himself. To do this, he has 3 giant parasites leaching this energy directly from the tree and funneling it to him. If I can kill these parasites I can sever the link.


And the parasites are just as described, big ugly bugs. They each are protected by a different type of elemental. Fortunately throughout my travels I’ve acquire staffs that can destroy fire and air elementals, so only the earth elementals are a fight and even they aren’t that tough. The real battle starts after the third parasite is destroyed and I am warped to the center of this area to face an enraged Irenicus himself. The Queen is in a cage behind him, but she does her part to sever his link to the tree and we attack.


Irenicus has pretty much every magical protection known in the realm on him at the start of the battle, so I make liberal use of such spells as Spell Breach, Spell Thrust, Secret Word, and Dispel Magic to try and take some of these barriers down. My paladin’s prized Holy Avenger comes in handy too as it dispels magic on hit. But during the battle he continues to cast such additional spells as Absolute Immunity which does what it sounds like and is completely un-dispellable, and Time Stop that also does what it sounds like and gives him the opportunity to cast 3 or 4 more spells without me being able to react. Persistence pays off though, as I just need to for the Immunity spell to wear off and keep myself alive long enough that I can whittle down his health.


I strike the final blow and Irenicus falls in disbelief. My expected result it that with Irenicus dead, my stolen soul will return to me much like Imoen’s returned to her when we killed Bodhi. No such luck here I’m afraid. Pretty much the opposite result, really. Irenicus is sent to Hell with my soul, and the bits of it still in me are dragged along with it. And it’s such a big effect that my friends get to come along for the ride too. Just super.


My party’s not too happy about a premature journey to hell, especially the more pious ones. They’ll still stick to my side but hopefully we can find a way out of here. I explore a bit and find the spirit of Saervok. If you don’t recall he’s my half-brother, a fellow child of the God of Murder Bhaal, and the main villain of the first Baldur’s Gate. He says the way to get out of here is to collect MacGuffins called Bhaals Tears. He has one of them, and he will give it to me if I give in the spirit of the Lord of Murder, turn in the Slayer monster and become evil. I refuse, and he attacks me instead. He’s got a lot of hit points for a dead guy, but I defeat him and take the tear.


I then find a number of other demons with names like Greed, Fear, Selfishness, and Pride. They each have tears and either a good or evil way to get it from them. Taking the good way usually involves a sacrifice of some sort, either giving up a powerful item or even permanently losing a stat point or some XP. I’m a Paladin though, a paragon of virtue, so I take the good route each time. This pays off too as I use the collected Tears to open the locks on the main gate out of here. Each time I open one I get a boon, including a big XP bonus, different stat boost, and even immunity to all physical weapons +1 or weaker. Neat.


On the other side of the gate is Irenicus, and it’s time for a showdown once and for all for the custody of my soul. But this time he takes on my own Slayer form, and he has four high level demons backing him up. Each of this is as strong as a Balor, the boss in the gnome area of the Underdark.


But after taking the demons down one by one, Irenicus isn’t so tough on his own. He casts the same spells as before and has a high level of regeneration this time, but through persistence I’m able to outlast his buffs through a war of attrition and whittle him down. Defeating him this time gets me my soul back, and I am able to depart this plane with my friends.





And that’s the game. For anyone who’s read along with these with me, thanks! It’s so liberating finally finishing a game I first started 18 years ago. After all this time I’m shocked at how good this game still is and can’t believe I really didn’t get back around to it again until now. I’ve got the Throne of Bhaal expansion as well, but I’m going to give it a break and finish a couple other games in my backlog first. But when I get back to that, I’ll most likely bring these logs back too.
 
Last edited:
Nov 4, 2017
1,241
0
Started AC Odyssey over the weekend, and I figured I'd give my first impressions on the game. I'm about 7 hours in I'd say and so far I'm finding the game to be quite good. Here's some quick bullet points if you will

  • Unsurprisingly the world is stunningly beautiful. At this point this is just a series staple, but Greece is just stunning and while I'm partial to the Ancient Egypt setting of AC origins this is just as good.
  • The changes for the combat are interesting and overall quite good. In Origins your character had a shield and there was almost this focus in the game on knowing when to be defensive and when to be aggressive to take out your enemies. Dodging and parrying attacks are still in Odyssey but the game is much more heavily focused on you being aggressive, getting in your combos and wrecking havoc on your enemies.
  • Al the core RPG systems added into Origins are back just as you'd expect. Loot, Gear, and Weapons all largely work the same. There's an engraving system which I honestly haven't quite gotten very into yet largely because I'm still getting my barrings with the game.
  • Skill trees are back (again not surprising), but they're noticeably better than Origins. Origins Skill trees were fine but a key problem with Origins was that there felt like there was just too much fluff within the skill trees. That's all gone in Odyssey and the end result is a much more straight forward still trees that basically boil down to 3 ways you want to play the game. There's an Assassin, combat an archer tree.
  • Side quests are surprisingly good in the game. There are the usual fetch quests but there are also quests with good stories and yes the choices you make in the game have implications on the world and characters. So far choices in the game have been surprisingly gut wrenching in their impacts on the story and world.
  • Navel combat is back and it plays and feels almost exactly like AC4 black flag. This can either be a good or a bad thing depending on how much you've enjoyed Navel combat in the past but personally I love it. What's perhaps interesting about the Navel Combat is that the way you manage your crew reminds me a lot of the Brotherhood system from AC Brotherhood but even more than that there's almost this mother base (from MGSV) like element to the crew system. Basically enemies in the world have stats and rather than kill them you can choose to knock them out and recruit them.

Overall in a strange way this feels like a dream AC game to me. Origins reinvigorated my interest in the series and AC Odyssey not only builds on Origins but it also brings back some of my favorite elements from previous entries in the series. Only 6 hours in for now so my opinions could definitely change but so far I'm having a very good time with it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
621
0
Don't pay attention to gaming news for a weekend and miss the news that your favorite developer has been bought. Even if we ignore the rumor about this very thing I am not surprised Obsidian was bought. They have always had ambitions to make AAA games and weren't ever exactly subtle that they were open to the possibility of being bought. I will be interested to see how things work out for them under Microsoft.

inXile getting gobbled up as well was the more surprising bit of news for me.
 
OP
OP
FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
Don't think I've posted in here about the InXile and Obsidian acquisitions (well, I did about Obsidian a while back, but not the former). MS gobbling up InXile actually gives me more optimism about the Obsidian buy, after all InXile is not particularly a power player in the industry and I would assume that if MS bought them, it was for interest in the genre that InXile primarily works in, and not particularly a general interest in InXile as "raw power" developers for some other venture. And this inherently makes me feel better about the Obsidian acquisition, because it makes it more likely that "you will now make CRPGs for us" was the motive behind it, rather than "we need your devs for this new multiplayer open-world shooter."

We will see how this pans out, but at the moment I'm not pouring one out for Obsidian and InXile's WRPG/CRPG output just yet.

After about 3 weeks of having a rough time with real life stuff I finally sat down last weekend and finished FF6. Overall I had a really fun time with the game. The characters are by far my favorite characters in the series thus far and I think it's strong cast is what elevates it for me. I love Terra and I just love her story. Her character arc throughout the game was just fantastic and I love how much she has changed by the end of the game. Celes is another character that I just really loved. I just honestly love the entire cast and I love how the game tries to explain their past and how their past experiences changed them. this is the 7th FF game and I've through to completion and none of the other games have had characters that I loved and adored as much as this game. Unfortunately I can't really say the same for Kefka as a villain. I think overall he's a fine main antagonist, but he doesn't quite top Sepiroth for me as my favorite villain in the series.

Another thing I wanted to note was that I adore this game's soundtrack. There are just so many amazing tracks that I can't even begin listing them all here, but the soundtrack just elevates the overall experience so much for me. Despite not playing many SNES games this game is just downright gorgeous as well. The art is great, and there are some scenes that just blew me away. While I'm sure there are SNES games that look better than this, this was a massive step up from FFV in the visuals front. The translation was a bit awkward to see at first having already played FF1-4 and FF5 with the GBA script, but outside of Fenix down I thought it was pretty good overall.

When it came to the combat system I really enjoyed it overall, but I admittedly had a lot of FF4 PSP flashbacks when it came to difficulty. I didn't experiment with FF4's combat enough to speak for how broken it was mechanically, but my biggest takeaway from FF6 is that it's not only a very easy FF game, but also one that can easily be broken. This isn't really much of an issue for me in particular since I kinda suck at videogames, but there were some things that were a bit jarring in the game. Sabin is incredibly powerful, and Edgar's tools can be abused like mad. Mages are incredibly powerful as well once equipped with things such as earrings and the enhancer swords. With that being said there is an aspect of the combat in this game that I did love and that's the Espers. I really enjoyed how the espers played a role in the story, it made them feel less like summons that you just got throughout the story and made them feel like allies who were fighting alongside you. Likewise I really love the role they played on a gameplay level. Experimenting with new Espers, gaining their abilities was just really fun, and when you couple that with the relics it almost felt like there was a mini job system in the game where all your characters just feel incredibly versatile. Why depend on a mage in your party to heal your characters when each individual character can learn cure 3 from an esper? I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the game, and while yes it definitely makes an already easy game a hell of a lot easier I think it gave the player a lot of room to experiment which I very much enjoyed.

This is a completely other topic in it's entirety, but I think perhaps my biggest regret when it comes to playing the FF games was that I started with 7 and went backwards instead of starting with 1. While obviously FF6 and FF7 aren't identical they share a lot in common and I can't help but feel that I would have had a much stronger appreciation for FF6 had I gone into FF7 already played it. With that being said I likely would still be in the same situation I am now where I can't really pick a favorite between the two.
Terra and Celes are interesting characters because their role as the "main character" of WoB and WoR respectively makes them natural foils to one another. Terra spends one half of the game assembling a team; Celes spends the next half re-assembling this team after their failure. Both of them struggle with regret and self-doubt; Terra finds meaning through motherly love and Celes finds it through romantic love. Both of them were women used by a system that sought to eradicate their independence and turn them into machines of war. Terra begins the game confused and unfocused, and gradually becomes determined and strong; Celes begins the game as a strong character and learns instead to place her trust and vulnerability in the hands of another. Terra's true nature is something that alienates her from others; Celes, too, has a hard time cultivating relationships within the party.

What I've always found very interesting about them is how comparatively little they seem to interact with each other. How exactly does Terra feel about Celes and vice versa? They have some dialogue exchanges but for the most part, this is largely up in the air, which is peculiar given that they are two of the most central characters in the game. I think there are a lot of alternate character interpretations regarding their relationship, whether it is quietly sympathetic/convivial or if there is some sort of tension there. Tension is entirely possible, considering Celes' high rank within the empire that essentially destroyed Terra's community and enslaved her. Notably this is a subject that is never properly broached between the two of them.

I've said before that I'm not particularly fond of Kefka either. In my opinion he works better as a thematic tool, a contrast of nihilism and isolation compared to the optimism and camaraderie of the party, than he does as an actual character. In a sense this is a good thing; as someone who represents emptiness and a lack of relationships, it's fitting that he has no real history or characterization beyond the pageantry of his clown-like insanity. He is just a black hole of nothing, making his ascent into godhood even more disturbing because it represents an elevation of meaningless, abstract capriciousness into some sort of divinity that controls the world. The party then becomes the counterpoint to that, proof that people can band together and actually conquer a universe that feels maliciously uncaring about the value of life and love. So in that respect he works well, but those strengths derive more from the plot and themes itself than from his existence as a character per se. In that sense I find Sephiroth much more compelling, yes.
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,756
0
I just don't see big investments being made without big returns being demanded. It will obligate Obsidian and InXile to adapt their games to whatever promises the greatest returns, which means RPGs that have mainstream appeal. Or in other words, Bioware-styled RPGs (which might as well be action games).

Their immediate projects might be safe, but I can't be positive about their future as RPG developers. We've seen how this goes already.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,196
0
I have been playing Wild Arms 3 for the first time (after completing Wild Arms 2) and I can't help but ask, where was this series my whole life? It fits my tastes and ideas so well it is almost scary. I'm working on a big write up about it as I go through, so by the time I finish the game expect an effort post from me. This genre continues to impress me. I've finished hundreds of RPGs, and yet I keep finding new favourites that blow my mind all over again.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,516
0
Beat Final Fantasy VIII the other day and it's been on my mind since. This is one game that never appealed to me aesthetically and I never felt inclined to try it like others in the series... I even started it like three times before this one and I always got bored like an hour or two in.

Recently though, getting older I've come to appreciate quirky and more "flawed" experiences more, and I think it was the perfect time to give this one more try because I loved every second and now is one of my favorites in the series. The craziness of its plot, the non-intuitive nature and quirkyness of everything relating to junctioning, etc, it's all so charming and fun to mess with.

Admittedly I found a lot of flaws in the game, mostly in the narrative department. I felt like almost every plot point was underdeveloped or poorly explained, the cast, while fun and likeable, never quite sold me on the fact they're supposed to be friends with good chemistry, I found the romance angle was tackled a bit hastily and non-naturally too, but it evolved in a quite sweet conclusion so I don't mind it too much. I didn't really mind any plot point per se (I know a lot of people take issue with the villain's motivations, the "amnesia" plot point, etc), but yeah the way some of it was told was clunky and lacky, IMO. Still, I enjoyed the story still and I find the mystery and tragedy behind the antagonist really cool and kind of refreshing, I also loved the whole Laguna story working in parallel to the main plot and how it paid off in the end.

I hear the gameplay is often criticized for making it easy to break the game, but honestly it wasn't the case for me. I feel like you have to actively try to break it and indulge in dull stuff like drawing everything until you have 99 of it (basically the game's equivalent of level grinding) to easily destroy everything, which I didn't do, so while the game wasn't /hard/ at any point, it was still relatively challenging and very fun. I only really had trouble against the final boss because despite destroying every phase, one of them had a mandatory attack that always did more damage than i had HP, which was hilarious but I managed. I love some resource management in RPGs and drawing and junctioning is basically all about that, so yeah I had a blast.
 
Oct 25, 2017
621
0
Don't think I've posted in here about the InXile and Obsidian acquisitions (well, I did about Obsidian a while back, but not the former). MS gobbling up InXile actually gives me more optimism about the Obsidian buy, after all InXile is not particularly a power player in the industry and I would assume that if MS bought them, it was for interest in the genre that InXile primarily works in, and not particularly a general interest in InXile as "raw power" developers for some other venture. And this inherently makes me feel better about the Obsidian acquisition, because it makes it more likely that "you will now make CRPGs for us" was the motive behind it, rather than "we need your devs for this new multiplayer open-world shooter."

We will see how this pans out, but at the moment I'm not pouring one out for Obsidian and InXile's WRPG/CRPG output just yet.
I am hopeful as well. My favorite games from them were back when they were doing AAA RPG stuff, New Vega and Kotor 2 for example, so I am hopeful this is a return to those days.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,493
0
So over the course of the past year or so I've finished off every single Gold Box game. Here's some random thoughts on each one.

Pool of Radiance - This was the first ever GB game but they got so much right here. This has my favorite structure, you aren't given a main quest initially instead you just show up in the town of Phlan looking for adventure. You take jobs from city hall in a somewhat non linear order and slowly explore the city and eventually head out in the wilderness beyond. This is a wonderful game but it's held down a bit by the character level range (roughly 1 - 7) which is not when D&D is at it's best and there are some interface issues that get fixed in the later games (notably the lack of the Fix command). Overall though this is a fantastic game.

Curse of the Azure Bonds - This is my favorite game in the whole series. They took what they learned in PoR and improved on just about everything. The quest is fun and interesting, the dungeons are varied and cool, there are all kinds of wild challenging combat situations to get through and even a really cool optional super boss. This takes place from levels 7 - 10/11ish and is the sweet spot for D&D. All in all this is an amazing RPG.

Secret of the Silver Blades - So this one they decided to try something different. Gone is the world map and multiple towns from the other GB games, instead this game is structured more like a classic Wizardry with a hub town and 1 giant super dungeon to explore. This is the first GB game to break the normal map size limit of the GB engine through some bizarre hacks (basically you teleport around to the same rooms from different locations giving the impression of a bigger map) which completely breaks the automap in Gold Box Companion so you'll either want to draw your own maps or use the ones in the clue book. This is an ok game but it gets kind of dull going through the same dungeon for the whole game. One of the weaker GB games.

Pools of Darkness - The big finale to the first series of GB games, this is the one of two epic level (20+) campaigns in all the GB games so things go pretty crazy in this one. You'll be fighting dozens of dragons, demons and stuff like beholders often all at the same time. This game also tries something new with the titular pools of darkness. The pools are portals to the outer planes where the big bads generals are located. You have to travel through the portals to the planes and take down the generals but there is one major caveat: The act of traveling through these portals destroys almost all of your equipment. So this means you need to store your stuff, go through the portals and scavenge equipment in the field to try and take these places down. Personally I think this mechanic would be cool for a single dungeon, but having to do it like 4 or 5 times starts to grate a bit, you don't even get to fight (the incredibly difficult) final battle with all your cool equipment. This is a really cool game but the portal mechanic is a drag, there are mods out there to remove the equipment removal aspect and i'd recommend playing it that way. Oh and big props for having a huge area take place in the corpse of a dead god floating in the astral plane, definitely one of the coolest dungeon ideas I've ever encountered.



----------------------

Champions of Krynn - The first game in the Dragonlance series there isn't too much to talk about here. With Dragonlance comes some new classes as well as a revamped magic system. There are now 3 different types of wizard each tied to an alignment (good, neutral, evil) whom get access to different sets of spells. There is also a lunar cycle system in which the 3 moons (again tied to the alignments) shift phases granting additional spells to mages of the matching alignment. Structurally this game is more linear and story driven then the forgotten realms games. All in all it's a decent game, doesn't do anything great but doesn't do anything poorly either.

Death Knights of Krynn - The conclusion to the story started in Champions, this one really doesn't bring anything new at all. It's also the shortest GB game in the franchise. It's a fine game and worth playing if you played Champions to get the end of the story but pretty unremarkable.

Dark Queen of Krynn - Hooo boy. So with the story concluded in Death Knights they opted to make a 3rd game anyways, they also outsourced it to a new developer instead of making it internally in SSI. This game is absolute wretched. Where to begin... So the dungeons are highly scripted, things need to occur in a specific order or they just don't function properly. This means that you'll spend hours walking back and forth through dungeons you've fully mapped trying to find the square that triggers the next scripted event in the sequence. Then there's the combat... This is the other epic level campaign and the developers shit the bed as far as combat balance goes. So you'll be fighting super high level wizards in almost every single battle and they will, without fail, open every fight with delayed blast fireball which will hit your whole party for over 100 damage instantly killing most if not all of your characters. So every single battle in DQoK is based on whether or not you win the initiative roll and are able to disable their casters. This game is a festering pile of rancid garbage, how I managed to push through to finish this I'll never know. Stay far far away. Even if you love the previous 2 Krynn games, there are no story connections here so avoid like the plague.

----------------------

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday - So this was a pretty interesting idea, they leave traditional AD&D behind and make a new RPG system (still heavily based on AD&D first edition) set in the Buck Rogers sci fi universe. You've got all new classes, a skill system (unique to BR), space travel, and even ship to ship space combat. So how'd they fare? Well... it's a bit of a mixed bag. For one there are like 50 skills in the game, maybe 10 are useful. So you could easily make useless characters by spending your skill points poorly. There is also no equivalent to magic in this, no psychics or techno wizards or whatever. So that means that in combat your options are to... well to attack or... not? Also since you'll be using ranged weapons almost exclusively you won't even have reason to move your people around. You'll just spam the attack command over and over. Pretty dull overall though there is some small tactical options opened up through the use of specialized grenades. I love the setting and ideas in this game, but honestly it's pretty dull to play.

Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed - This is just more Countdown to Doomsday. They didn't really change much, they did implement uses for a few of the useless skills from the first game but not many. All the issues I had with BR:CtD I have with this game. Not much else to say really.

----------------------

Gateway to the Savage Frontier - Back to the forgotten realms, this time to the Sword Coast region. Not a whole lot to say about this one, it's a very safe, but pretty plain Gold Box game. Nothing really notable though. Well it did do one interesting thing. The final dungeon is explored entirely through the combat interface. Instead of walking around in first person you instead navigate your party through the overhead combat mode, kind of similar to how certain rooms in Ultima 4/5 played out in their later dungeons. It's pretty awkward and kind of annoying, but it was at least something new so there's that. All in all this is an ok game, basically a paint by numbers GB game.

Treasures of the Savage Frontier - So this game is not very good at all. This entire game is spent wandering from town to town, doing little combat encounters in the town then moving on to the next. There are almost no dungeons at all in this game, just the town exploration and all the towns are ones you've already explored in Gateway. Tons of recycled combat and really boring scenarios all around. The finale of the game is also out of nowhere. You solve the games main story (preventing war between the different cities of the sword coast) everything is resolved and then they just ask you out of nowhere to climb a mountain to find a magic gem. The final dungeon of this game reminds me of Dark Queen of Krynn in that every battle is against high level casters, who instead of fireballing you open every fight with hold monster, disabling your party right off the bat. Once again you will have to reload over and over for each fight until you get a favorable initiative roll. Don't bother with this game folks, it's crap.

----------------------

So there they are. For people looking to get into the Gold Box I would recommend playing the 4 initial forgotten realms games (Pool of Radiance etc) and stopping there. Those games had the most budget and their veteran developers on them. The best dungeons, stories, combats and scenario design are to be found there.
 
Last edited:
Oct 27, 2017
471
0
So over the course of the past year or so I've finished off every single Gold Box game. Here's some random thoughts on each one.

Pool of Radiance - This was the first ever GB game but they got so much right here. This has my favorite structure, you aren't given a main quest initially instead you just show up in the town of Phlan looking for adventure. You take jobs from city hall in a somewhat non linear order and slowly explore the city and eventually head out in the wilderness beyond. This is a wonderful game but it's held down a bit by the character level range (roughly 1 - 7) which is not when D&D is at it's best and there are some interface issues that get fixed in the later games (notable the lack of the Fix command). Overall though this is a fantastic game.

Curse of the Azure Bonds - This is my favorite game in the whole series. They took what they learned in PoR and improved on just about everything. The quest is fun and interesting, the dungeons are varied and cool, there are all kinds of wild challenging combat situations to get through and even a really cool optional super boss. This takes place from levels 7 - 10/11ish and is the sweet spot for D&D. All in all this is an amazing RPG.

Secret of the Silver Blades - So this one they decided to try something different. Gone is the world map and multiple towns from the other GB games, instead this game is structured more like a classic Wizardry with a hub town and 1 giant super dungeon to explore. This is the first GB game to break the normal map size limit of the GB engine through some bizarre hacks (basically you teleport around to the same rooms from different locations giving the impression of a bigger map) which completely breaks the automap in Gold Box Companion so you'll either want to draw your own maps or use the ones in the clue book. This is an ok game but it gets kind of dull going through the same dungeon for the whole game. One of the weaker GB games.

Pools of Darkness - The big finale to the first series of GB games, this is the one of two epic level (20+) campaigns in all the GB games so things go pretty crazy in this one. You'll be fighting dozens of dragons, demons and stuff like beholders often all at the same time. This game also tries something new with the titular pools of darkness. The pools are portals to the outer planes where the big bads generals are located. You have to travel through the portals to the planes and take down the generals but there is one major caveat: The act of traveling through these portals destroys almost all of your equipment. So this means you need to store your stuff, go through the portals and scavenge equipment in the field to try and take these places down. Personally I think this mechanic would be cool for a single dungeon, but having to do it like 4 or 5 times starts to grate a bit, you don't even get to fight (the incredibly difficult) final battle with all your cool equipment. This is a really cool game but the portal mechanic is a drag, there are mods out there to remove the equipment removal aspect and i'd recommend playing it that way. Oh and big props for having a huge area take place in the corpse of a dead god floating in the astral plane, definitely one of the coolest dungeon ideas I've ever encountered.



----------------------

Champions of Krynn - The first game in the Dragonlance series there isn't too much to talk about here. With Dragonlance comes some new classes as well as a revamped magic system. There are now 3 different types of wizard each tied to an alignment (good, neutral, evil) whom get access to different sets of spells. There is also a lunar cycle system in which the 3 moons (again tied to the alignments) shift phases granting additional spells to mages of the matching alignment. Structurally this game is more linear and story driven then the forgotten realms games. All in all it's a decent game, doesn't do anything great but doesn't do anything poorly either.

Death Knights of Krynn - The conclusion to the story started in Champions, this one really doesn't bring anything new at all. It's also the shortest GB game in the franchise. It's a fine game and worth playing if you played Champions to get the end of the story but pretty unremarkable.

Dark Queen of Krynn - Hooo boy. So with the story concluded in Death Knights they opted to make a 3rd game anyways, they also outsourced it to a new developer instead of making it internally in SSI. This game is absolute wretched. Where to begin... So the dungeons are highly scripted, things need to occur in a specific order or they just don't function properly. This means that you'll spend hours walking back and forth through dungeons you've fully mapped trying to find the square that triggers the next scripted event in the sequence. Then there's the combat... This is the other epic level campaign and the developers shit the bed as far as combat balance goes. So you'll be fighting super high level wizards in almost every single battle and they will, without fail, open every fight with delayed blast fireball which will hit your whole party for over 100 damage instantly killing most if not all of your characters. So every single battle in DQoK is based on whether or not you win the initiative roll and are able to disable their casters. This game is a festering pile of rancid garbage, how I managed to push through to finish this I'll never know. Stay far far away. Even if you love the previous 2 Krynn games, there are no story connections here so avoid like the plague.

----------------------

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday - So this was a pretty interesting idea, they leave traditional AD&D behind and make a new RPG system (still heavily based on AD&D first edition) set in the Buck Rogers sci fi universe. You've got all new classes, a skill system (unique to BR), space travel, and even ship to ship space combat. So how'd they fare? Well... it's a bit of a mixed bag. For one there are like 50 skills in the game, maybe 10 are useful. So you could easily make useless characters by spending your skill points poorly. There is also no equivalent to magic in this, no psychics or techno wizards or whatever. So that means that in combat your options are to... well to attack or... not? Also since you'll be using ranged weapons almost exclusively you won't even have reason to move your people around. You'll just spam the attack command over and over. Pretty dull overall though there is some small tactical options opened up through the use of specialized grenades. I love the setting and ideas in this game, but honestly it's pretty dull to play.

Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed - This is just more Countdown to Doomsday. They didn't really change much, they did implement uses for a few of the useless skills from the first game but not many. All the issues I had with BR:CtD I have with this game. Not much else to say really.

----------------------

Gateway to the Savage Frontier - Back to the forgotten realms, this time to the Sword Coast region. Not a whole lot to say about this one, it's a very safe, but pretty plain Gold Box game. Nothing really notable though. Well it did do one interesting thing. The final dungeon is explored entirely through the combat interface. Instead of walking around in first person you instead navigate your party through the overhead combat mode, kind of similar to how certain rooms in Ultima 4/5 played out in their later dungeons. It's pretty awkward and kind of annoying, but it was at least something new so there's that. All in all this is an ok game, basically a paint by numbers GB game.

Treasures of the Savage Frontier - So this game is not very good at all. This entire game is spent wandering from town to town, doing little combat encounters in the town then moving on to the next. There are almost no dungeons at all in this game, just the town exploration and all the towns are ones you've already explored in Gateway. Tons of recycled combat and really boring scenarios all around. The finale of the game is also out of nowhere. You solve the games main story (preventing war between the different cities of the sword coast) everything is resolved and then they just ask you out of nowhere to climb a mountain to find a magic gem. The final dungeon of this game reminds me of Dark Queen of Krynn in that every battle is against high level casters, who instead of fireballing you open every fight with hold monster, disabling your party right off the bat. Once again you will have to reload over and over for each fight until you get a favorable initiative roll. Don't bother with this game folks, it's crap.

----------------------

So there they are. For people looking to get into the Gold Box I would recommend playing the 4 initial forgotten realms games (Pool of Radiance etc) and stopping there. Those games had the most budget and their veteran developers on them. The best dungeons, stories, combats and scenario design are to be found there.

Thanks for the great writeup Sinatar! I've really enjoyed watching you play through these on your Twitch channel. Baldur's Gate has really given me an itch for more D&D games, so I'll probably play through at least the original 2 games eventually.
 
OP
OP
FiveSide
Oct 25, 2017
2,343
0
Reading through Sinatar's GB write-up now, but I'd also like to plug his Twitch channel, he's playing Underworld Ascendant at the moment:
I have only played Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, and Gateway to the Savage Frontier. Sounds like I should really check out Curse of the Azure Bonds.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,493
0
Reading through Sinatar's GB write-up now, but I'd also like to plug his Twitch channel, he's playing Underworld Ascendant at the moment:
I have only played Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, and Gateway to the Savage Frontier. Sounds like I should really check out Curse of the Azure Bonds.
Thanks for the shoutout.

In case anyone is wondering Underworld Ascendant is a disaster in pretty much every regard. They get everything wrong from a design standpoint and on top of that it is absolutely riddled with bugs. I don't think any amount of patching is going to fix this.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,894
0
Why does Underworld Ascendant feel so awful to even move around in
Everything is so sluggish and bad

The save system only saves what level you're in

and why does an Ultima Underworld successor have "levels"

I tried to be hopeful and optimistic but there is nothing about this game that even makes me think of Ultima Underworld
 
Oct 25, 2017
632
0
Search function not cooperating, so sorry if already posted, but two games to possibly keep an eye on next month


Good evening, friends!

Finally, it’s time for yet another large update, 0.9!

This time around we made another huge step towards the finish line, which we, hopefully, will soon cross. While the previous update had the most new characters, this one will feature the largest amount of text, quests and new ways to solve old assignments!

After this huge leap, we only have one grand update remaining, after which ATOM RPG will officially leave the Early Access stage. Yes, that’s right! Release version 1.0 is going to be out this December!
 
Oct 27, 2017
471
0
Search function not cooperating, so sorry if already posted, but two games to possibly keep an eye on next month



Thanks, i haven't heard of either but they look like they're worth keeping an eye on.

Edit: Oh actually I have seen the Aeon of Sands before, it looked pretty amusing from a RPS preview the other day.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,511
0
Austria
Why does Underworld Ascendant feel so awful to even move around in
Everything is so sluggish and bad

The save system only saves what level you're in

and why does an Ultima Underworld successor have "levels"

I tried to be hopeful and optimistic but there is nothing about this game that even makes me think of Ultima Underworld
Mmmmhhh that doesn't sound good. I tried to remain optimistic about that game but nothing I've seen so far looked great
 

Jag

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,286
0
So over the course of the past year or so I've finished off every single Gold Box game. Here's some random thoughts on each one.

Pool of Radiance - This was the first ever GB game but they got so much right here. This has my favorite structure, you aren't given a main quest initially instead you just show up in the town of Phlan looking for adventure. You take jobs from city hall in a somewhat non linear order and slowly explore the city and eventually head out in the wilderness beyond. This is a wonderful game but it's held down a bit by the character level range (roughly 1 - 7) which is not when D&D is at it's best and there are some interface issues that get fixed in the later games (notably the lack of the Fix command). Overall though this is a fantastic game.

Curse of the Azure Bonds - This is my favorite game in the whole series. They took what they learned in PoR and improved on just about everything. The quest is fun and interesting, the dungeons are varied and cool, there are all kinds of wild challenging combat situations to get through and even a really cool optional super boss. This takes place from levels 7 - 10/11ish and is the sweet spot for D&D. All in all this is an amazing RPG.

Secret of the Silver Blades - So this one they decided to try something different. Gone is the world map and multiple towns from the other GB games, instead this game is structured more like a classic Wizardry with a hub town and 1 giant super dungeon to explore. This is the first GB game to break the normal map size limit of the GB engine through some bizarre hacks (basically you teleport around to the same rooms from different locations giving the impression of a bigger map) which completely breaks the automap in Gold Box Companion so you'll either want to draw your own maps or use the ones in the clue book. This is an ok game but it gets kind of dull going through the same dungeon for the whole game. One of the weaker GB games.

Pools of Darkness - The big finale to the first series of GB games, this is the one of two epic level (20+) campaigns in all the GB games so things go pretty crazy in this one. You'll be fighting dozens of dragons, demons and stuff like beholders often all at the same time. This game also tries something new with the titular pools of darkness. The pools are portals to the outer planes where the big bads generals are located. You have to travel through the portals to the planes and take down the generals but there is one major caveat: The act of traveling through these portals destroys almost all of your equipment. So this means you need to store your stuff, go through the portals and scavenge equipment in the field to try and take these places down. Personally I think this mechanic would be cool for a single dungeon, but having to do it like 4 or 5 times starts to grate a bit, you don't even get to fight (the incredibly difficult) final battle with all your cool equipment. This is a really cool game but the portal mechanic is a drag, there are mods out there to remove the equipment removal aspect and i'd recommend playing it that way. Oh and big props for having a huge area take place in the corpse of a dead god floating in the astral plane, definitely one of the coolest dungeon ideas I've ever encountered.



----------------------

Champions of Krynn - The first game in the Dragonlance series there isn't too much to talk about here. With Dragonlance comes some new classes as well as a revamped magic system. There are now 3 different types of wizard each tied to an alignment (good, neutral, evil) whom get access to different sets of spells. There is also a lunar cycle system in which the 3 moons (again tied to the alignments) shift phases granting additional spells to mages of the matching alignment. Structurally this game is more linear and story driven then the forgotten realms games. All in all it's a decent game, doesn't do anything great but doesn't do anything poorly either.

Death Knights of Krynn - The conclusion to the story started in Champions, this one really doesn't bring anything new at all. It's also the shortest GB game in the franchise. It's a fine game and worth playing if you played Champions to get the end of the story but pretty unremarkable.

Dark Queen of Krynn - Hooo boy. So with the story concluded in Death Knights they opted to make a 3rd game anyways, they also outsourced it to a new developer instead of making it internally in SSI. This game is absolute wretched. Where to begin... So the dungeons are highly scripted, things need to occur in a specific order or they just don't function properly. This means that you'll spend hours walking back and forth through dungeons you've fully mapped trying to find the square that triggers the next scripted event in the sequence. Then there's the combat... This is the other epic level campaign and the developers shit the bed as far as combat balance goes. So you'll be fighting super high level wizards in almost every single battle and they will, without fail, open every fight with delayed blast fireball which will hit your whole party for over 100 damage instantly killing most if not all of your characters. So every single battle in DQoK is based on whether or not you win the initiative roll and are able to disable their casters. This game is a festering pile of rancid garbage, how I managed to push through to finish this I'll never know. Stay far far away. Even if you love the previous 2 Krynn games, there are no story connections here so avoid like the plague.

----------------------

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday - So this was a pretty interesting idea, they leave traditional AD&D behind and make a new RPG system (still heavily based on AD&D first edition) set in the Buck Rogers sci fi universe. You've got all new classes, a skill system (unique to BR), space travel, and even ship to ship space combat. So how'd they fare? Well... it's a bit of a mixed bag. For one there are like 50 skills in the game, maybe 10 are useful. So you could easily make useless characters by spending your skill points poorly. There is also no equivalent to magic in this, no psychics or techno wizards or whatever. So that means that in combat your options are to... well to attack or... not? Also since you'll be using ranged weapons almost exclusively you won't even have reason to move your people around. You'll just spam the attack command over and over. Pretty dull overall though there is some small tactical options opened up through the use of specialized grenades. I love the setting and ideas in this game, but honestly it's pretty dull to play.

Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed - This is just more Countdown to Doomsday. They didn't really change much, they did implement uses for a few of the useless skills from the first game but not many. All the issues I had with BR:CtD I have with this game. Not much else to say really.

----------------------

Gateway to the Savage Frontier - Back to the forgotten realms, this time to the Sword Coast region. Not a whole lot to say about this one, it's a very safe, but pretty plain Gold Box game. Nothing really notable though. Well it did do one interesting thing. The final dungeon is explored entirely through the combat interface. Instead of walking around in first person you instead navigate your party through the overhead combat mode, kind of similar to how certain rooms in Ultima 4/5 played out in their later dungeons. It's pretty awkward and kind of annoying, but it was at least something new so there's that. All in all this is an ok game, basically a paint by numbers GB game.

Treasures of the Savage Frontier - So this game is not very good at all. This entire game is spent wandering from town to town, doing little combat encounters in the town then moving on to the next. There are almost no dungeons at all in this game, just the town exploration and all the towns are ones you've already explored in Gateway. Tons of recycled combat and really boring scenarios all around. The finale of the game is also out of nowhere. You solve the games main story (preventing war between the different cities of the sword coast) everything is resolved and then they just ask you out of nowhere to climb a mountain to find a magic gem. The final dungeon of this game reminds me of Dark Queen of Krynn in that every battle is against high level casters, who instead of fireballing you open every fight with hold monster, disabling your party right off the bat. Once again you will have to reload over and over for each fight until you get a favorable initiative roll. Don't bother with this game folks, it's crap.

----------------------

So there they are. For people looking to get into the Gold Box I would recommend playing the 4 initial forgotten realms games (Pool of Radiance etc) and stopping there. Those games had the most budget and their veteran developers on them. The best dungeons, stories, combats and scenario design are to be found there.
Great write up. Gold Box games were my favorite CRPGs back in the day. I was heavy into Forgotten Realms books and it was amazing to actually start playing in that world. Gold Box is up there with Infocom for my favorite early gaming memories.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,385
0
Man, Dragon Quest 11 is so stupidly pretty.

I've reached what I think is the second Act earlier today after a bit more than 40 hours, I guess. That was, uh, great. Whew.
The journey to Yggrassil was beautiful and then you reach the 'hope', and. Bam. That reversal. I honestly did not expect anything of that magnitude happening. And the follow-up in Nautica and the Last Bastion was just great too.
Just finished freeing Heliodor from the shadows and teamed up with a certain knight.

I've generally been liking the game more and more the more I play it. It's just so... pleasant to play. And so damn pretty.
I think I've also started liking it more once I've embraced auto-combat instead of doing everything manually, since mobs are so easy. I'm generally just taking over command during most boss fights.
And that's honestly not a negative. It may sound weird, but it makes the game feel so much more comfy and might have even made me less ambivalent towards the combat, paradoxically. How weird. But I'm not complaining.


Two questions out of curiosity:
- I've got my 500 battles accolade a bit into Act 2. ...Is that little combat or a lot?
- How many Mini Medals can you get in Act 1? I think I had 47 or 48.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,966
0
South Carolina
Thanks for the shoutout.

In case anyone is wondering Underworld Ascendant is a disaster in pretty much every regard. They get everything wrong from a design standpoint and on top of that it is absolutely riddled with bugs. I don't think any amount of patching is going to fix this.


I got thru BT4 (flawed, DEEPLY so in areas, but so damn good in others), so Im not in the mood to delve into that mess.

Huh

I guess I shouldn't be toooooo surprised to see a Top-Down RPG by the Grimrock people but I certainly didn't expect it.
Looks goo
ALMOST HUMAN ALUMNI

Now THERE'S a crew you can put full faith in. *throws money in Finland's direction*