Thursday, March 26, 2020

Planet's Edge: Two Seasons

The Moonbase commander congratulates us on retrieving one of the eight artifacts.
           
As several commenters have noted, Planet's Edge has shaped up to have a real Star Trek feel, with the quest titles obvious analogues for episode titles. In fact, it's safe to say that without budget constraints for things like costumes and special effects, Planet's Edge's scenarios are considerably more imaginative and innovative than the typical Star Trek episode (particularly the Original Series). Like their counterparts on Starflight II, the authors here clearly don't believe in convergent evolution. We've seen aliens based on birds and plants and lizards, some with no mouths, some with multiple arms, although all exhibiting fairly human-like personalities and flaws. I just wish the game had given us more portraits for these creatures; there's only so much you can tell from the icons.

I remarked last time that their stories were "a bit silly and trite," and I'll back off a bit now. At the time, I was thinking primarily of the princess looking to escape her arranged marriage, but the subsequent stories have been a little more interesting.

But while I concede that this game could be fun and interesting, I still don't like it. There's nothing in it that I particularly like about RPGs. A certain quality of narrative and variety of quests are important to me, yes, but only when accompanied by meaningful character development or tactical combat. Still, I think the thing that bothers me most about Planet's Edge is not what it lacks but rather a particular quirk unique to me: I don't like to know exactly how long something is going to last, or exactly how much time I have left. When I have to do a long, boring chore, I typically find a way to hide the amount of work I have to do or how much time I have remaining. For instance, when I decide to walk on the treadmill for two hours, I put a magazine over the display so I never know exactly how much time I have left. If I have to clean 200 data records, I'll write a process that feeds them to me one at a time without showing me my overall count. I prefer the unknown even when making it unknown makes a task longer or require more effort. If I have to drive somewhere, I'll often take a longer route with an unknown time rather than stick to the empirically shortest route. Yes, I know I have issues. Irene tells me all the time.
             
Planet Edge's sin was telling me that I had to recover exactly eight pieces, then giving me a map that shows the galaxy divided into eight roughly-equal sectors with similar numbers of stars, so that I know each part is going to require about the same amount of time--and that means a 40-hour game at least. I want to know I'm facing a 40-hour game at Hour 37, not Hour 10. This is why I always insists that quests that are about assembling n parts of something always vary the length and difficulty of finding each part. Some you should just be able to walk up and grab. Ultima VI did that particularly well.
           
I had to get rid of all my weapons just to get six cargo units on board.
         
My final complaint, though, is that I don't particularly enjoy blogging plot-heavy games. It's a bit exhausting. If I ran The Adventure Gamer, I probably would have given up already. There's always a question of how much I should include and how much I should summarize. Challenge of the Five Realms was a recent challenge; in blogging that game, I erred on the side of describing nearly every plot point. Other times, I've tried to summarize large sections of plot. My readers don't seem to have a strong preference either way. I'll try to take a middle path here.
               
When I left off last time, my crew was in Sector Algieba, where we managed to get ourselves appointed as emissaries from the Magin to President Ishtao. The president was on Ishtao station, orbiting Algieba, and I couldn't even scan the planet until I'd paid 6 cargo units to the orbiting platform. I had to go back to Moonbase, remove all weapons from my ship, and load up with cargo.

Upon my return, I donated the units and the crew was able to beam down to an episode titled "Inauguration Day."
          
On television, this would have been a two-parter.
        
It was the best scenario so far. The Algiebians are a reptilian race fond of extra-long "s" sounds in their speech, which would normally make them evil, but they don't seem to be here. They were in the midst of a celebration for the second inauguration of their president, Ishtao. The festivities had been infiltrated by the Geal A'nai, the Algiebian faction that had also tried to kill the princess in my previous session. They also plotted to cripple Ishtao's space yacht and drive it into the sun, killing all of the visitors to the inauguration, and using a body double of Ishtao to give the order. It was a complicated plot. There were signs that the Geal A'nai may not in fact be the "bad guys" of the scenario, and that Ishtao had been mercilessly persecuting them, but it wasn't fully explored.
         
I ended up on the yacht almost immediately after entering the palace, owing to my order of exploration, but I think the events could have been done in any order. The inhabitants of the yacht were obsessed with a card game called, probably, "Chasqua." I say "probably" because the natural speech of the Algiebians put a variable number of letters "a" and "s" in the name. It involves a group of five cards, each aspected to a particular color, which must be inserted into a number of slots in a defined order--specifically, red, yellow, green, orange, and blue. The problem is that there's no objective way of telling which card goes with which color. They all look the same to humans, I guess. You have to show the cards to other denizens in the station and get their opinions. They look at them and say things like, "I'm pretty sure this #2 card is blue," but they give no indication how they're coming up with that information. In any event, they're often wrong, so you have to take notes to whittle it down and go with the highest probability.
          
I'm going to get a second opinion.
         
In the midst of this exploration, a bomb went off on the ship, crippling the engines and the electrical system. The engineer explained that to fix the doors and teleporters, he needed a "gravity bar," which happens to be the prize for winning Chasqua. President Ishtao's doppelganger came over the P.A. and announced that he had ordered the yacht to plunge into the sun so that the Geal A'nai saboteurs would die, trusting everyone else would be willing to sacrifice themselves for such a noble end. The ship's captain, shaking his head at such an out-of-character moment for Ishtao, begged us to get the ship's engines back online and return with the command code so he could override the order. Meanwhile, the fake president demanded the command code for himself.

In due order, I figured out the Chasqua sequence, gave the gravity bar to the engineer, used the now-functioning teleporters to move around the otherwise-inaccessible parts of the yacht, and got the engines back online. Re-starting the engines involved inserting Chasqua cards in a particular sequence; one of the NPCs remarked that the game had been "designed by engineers as a mnemonic for complicated tasks."
       
Although a bit more of an adventure game than an RPG, at least Planet's Edge doesn't put you in a lot of "walking dead" moments. There's a lot of backtracking, sure, but I've found that if I simply stick to an exploration pattern, talk to everyone, and search everything, I'll eventually get what I need.
     
There were several battles with Geal A'nai during the exploration, and combat isn't any more exciting than it was last time. A lot depends on luck. So far, I haven't found a battle that wasn't easy enough to win by reloading. I've found a few weapon and armor upgrades, which I've been distributing according to skill. It also makes sense to keep a couple of different types of armor on you because certain armors defend better against certain weapons. Each item comes with a detailed item description, incidentally, which is something that few RPGs have done thusfar in my chronology.
          
A description of Reflec Armor.
          
Once I had the command codes, I tried both potential endings. If I gave them to the fake president, he continued the ship's course into the sun, rejoicing that, "News will soon reach Algieba IV that a ship full of innocents were killed and they will believe that Ishtao was responsible!" Giving the codes to the commander saved the ship. Either way, my party was allowed to escape in a pod. I decided to go with the "good" outcome (save the ship) because it's my natural tendency, but it occurred to me while writing this entry that 90% of players probably do that. Since I'm not really that excited about the game anyway, why not spice things up by taking the evil path? Maybe you'll see that reflected in the next entries.
           
The party gets the command codes after inserting more cards in those slots.
           
Anyway, the Geal A'nai weren't done. They had also infiltrated the kitchen staff and other key positions in the presidential palace and had plotted to kill Ishtao through a mechanism I completely didn't understand. It somehow just involved pulling a lever. I found a Geal A'nai in a prison cell, and when I showed him one of the amulets I'd looted from a corpse, he thought we were part of his faction and told us where we could find the "sixth key" in a crate in the kitchen. Using it on the lever somehow resulted in the president's death--which I tried, then reloaded.
            
The causal mechanism escapes me here.
          
The "good" path involved getting to see Ishtao by pretending to be reporters (one of his minions assumed we were and gave us a press pass). He wanted proof that the Geal A'nai had infiltrated the palace, which we provided in the form of the amulet. He then wanted us to find the sixth key, which apparently isn't just a key, but the "holiest of relics from the ages of darkness!" Fortunately, we already had that. He rewarded us with an amulet that would grant us passage to the depository on Koo-She Prime.
           
The party enables the president's self-destructive war.
        
I had originally thought I would finally find the sector's quest item--Algiebian Crystals--at Koo-She Prime, but they actually turned up as the result of an innocuous side quest in the presidential palace. One of the rooms housed a museum of Algiebian history--each of the exhibits making that history sound all the more brutal. The curator hinted that she was thirsty, so we bribed her with a bottle of wine we'd received from a bartender. She wandered away from her post, allowing us to throw the switch that controlled the force fields over the exhibits. By now accustomed to searching everything, I searched each exhibit and serendipitously found the crystals in one of them. To solve this quest if you already knew where the crystals were, you'd just need to beam down, get into the palace, and kill the curator.
             
Search everything, kids.
              
Koo-She Prime kicked off an episode called "Solitaire." Shortly after we arrived--and got in with the presidential amulet--we tripped a trap that caused three of the party members to get beamed away and held in stasis. William had to solve the area by himself, some of which required referring to clues from random NPCs back on Algieba. There were a lot of traps, hostile beasts, and reloading. After puzzling his way through a series of caves, he arrived in a science facility, where he had to switch bodies with a four-armed creature to operate four levers at once. Ultimately, he released his friends and found some technical plans that allowed for better weapons and ship parts back at home.
  
Back at Moonbase, Commander Polk congratulated us for getting the Algiebian Crystals and suggested we explore Sector Kornephoros next. I was unhappy with being told where to go, so after I scrapped the Ulysses for an upgraded ship--which the game named Calypso--I headed for Sector Caroli for no other reason that it was clockwise from Algieba.
              
Outfitting my second ship.
          
Caroli had a lot more stars than Algieba, most with absolutely nothing to do, not even elements for my higher-capacity starship. One planet--Zavijava Prime--had an orbital platform occupied by those goons again, and it was here that I fought and (badly) lost my only attempt at ship combat this session.
          
I stumbled on the sector's quest at Alula IV, in an episode called "Desolation." It soon transpired that Alula IV was the agricultural planet of a species called the Eldarini. I never found a description of them, but the species apparently goes into hibernation for long periods of time and then awakens ravenous, killing and eating anything nearby if there's no other obvious source of food. Alula IV and its "Iozam" grain was supposed to be that food, but both the harvester and the transport ship had broken down. The place was also swarming with hostile carnivores that we had to kill.
             
The alien explains what's going on with his species.
        
We had to get the local boss, Agricol, to take us on as field hands before we could explore the place. This involved a puzzle where he put us in a room with seven items and said they could all easily fit into a pack, but I should select the one that he wouldn't want to take with him. They were an industrial badge, a levitator, a stone, an assault laser, a gold wire, ceramic armor, and a rifle. I chose the stone because it was the only item that had no real utility, and it turned out I was right. I'm just not sure I was right for that reason. As he welcomed us aboard, he gave us tickets for the "life gallery" on Merak I.
     
Solving the quest required us to go to two other planets--Denebola IV and TK--for the parts for both the vehicles. Denebola IV was the Eldarin homeworld, and its episode was titled "Forsake the Wind." Exploring the area, we had to be careful not to brush against sleeping Eldarins, or they would wake up and try to kill us. The surface of the planet was filled with hostile sandworms erupting from pools of lava. They occasioned enough reloading that we were definitely here a bit too early. Still, I pushed through.
          
These worms were no fun at all.
        
We had to solve a variety of navigation puzzles not worth recounting to get the part for the harvester. Returning to Alula IV, we fixed the harvester, which promptly went out of control when we turned it on and bashed through a fence. This allowed us access to a new area and ultimately the station commander, who gave us the requisition form to take to Oortizam Labs on Cor-Caroli Prime.
          
The next episode.
         
Cor-Caroli Prime's episode was "A Small Matter." The core part of it involved the party being shrunk to microscopic size and having to navigate our way through the circuit board of some computer while battling hostile nannites. I either missed or didn't record the encounter text or NPC conversation that explained why or how this happened. We had to switch a couple of computer chips and pull a lever to get out. When we did, one of the items enlarged along with the party was the Gravitic Compressor, needed for the Centauri Device.
         
Navigating the circuit maze.
           
Eventually, we were able to get the requisition form notarized, at which point an engineer gave us the "ComNav" needed for the ship on Alula IV. We returned, got that ship repaired (thus saving the Eldarins from famine), and were given a note to give to the supervisor on Denebola IV. He in turn allowed us access to the "rare treasures room" and suggested he'd look the other way if anything went missing. The room held two more sets of technical plans.
           
Good. My newly-evil party is going to need better weapons.
          
Overall, Sector Caroli's quests were the first that didn't seem to have any "evil" or otherwise alternate options, except I suppose just killing everyone instead of actually solving the quests.
       
Before I ended this session, I was interested in checking out this "life gallery" on Merak I, also in the Caroli sector. But when I visited, I found it guarded by hostile blue aliens who killed me when I resisted, so we went back to Moonbase with our tail between our legs.
             
His assessment of our capabilities was, alas, accurate.
          
Expect a change in tone in future entries as my party loses patience with this increasingly hostile and irrational universe.
         
Time so far: 15 hours
 


        

59 comments:

  1. So far, the game seems pretty solid, at least from the summaries. I get the impression (bolstered by my attempts to play it) that it isn't that great to actually play.

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    1. Indeed, it sounds quite inventive in terms of plots and scenarios.

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    2. I'd like someone else's take on it. It might just be one of those situations where it isn't the right kind of game for me just now.

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  2. I'm probably just showing my lack of fondness for adventure games here, but what point-and-clicks were people playing in 1992 that were heavy on the plot? I've played a few and watched/read let's-plays of many others. I remember them as mostly mute games full of arbitrary puzzles, sandwiched between a short intro sequence ("the bad guy has done a thing, go solve puzzles") and a hasty plot wrap-up. Hardly along the lines of CRPGs from the same era, and definitely far short of some games coming in the latter half of the 90's.

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    1. Secret of Monkey Island 2 was published around then. First Gabriel Knight little later.

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    2. Wasn't Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis a 92 game?

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    3. The early 90s were the golden age of adventure games mostly because of Lucas Arts, who made funny games with good plot and dialogue, puzzles that were clever (and while sometimes hard, never unfair like Sierra's) and a policy of no walking dead scenarios ever.

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    4. Even adventure games from the era usually had quite a bit of text even if it didn't contribute to the plot, which is probably why the connection is usually made.
      Also, why review adventure games if you don't like them?

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    5. Jimmy Maher has covered Monkey Island and Gabriel Knight recently over at the Digital Antiquarian for those interested!

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    6. Quest for Glory III came out in 1992, and although it hasn't the most sophisticated plot, it has a lot of great writing, character work, and world-building (as do the other games in the series). Certainly I'd put its elaborated version of "stop the big bad" up against the plots of western RPGs at the time, which were also just elaborated versions of "stop the big bad".

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    7. Well, I mean the most obvious comparison is Star Trek 25th Anniversary, which came out the same year as Planet's Edge and is straight-up trying to deliver several new episodes of the original series in adventure game format.

      But adventure games generally in this period, led by LucasArts and (in some respects) Sierra, are becoming pretty plot-heavy.

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  3. Oh man, if you think Star Trek TOS is *less* imaginative than later Star Trek... Well I guess it's another thing to add to the list of things we disagree on. I might give you TNG and DS9, begrudgingly, but certainly nothing post Voyager.

    Also, I like knowing roughly how long a game is going to be. Let me know up front, I'll feel far less exhausted 30 hours in if I'm mentally prepared for it.

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    1. I watched the 20 or so 'best' TOS episodes after watching all of DS9 and TNG. They were a lot better than I expected - posed some pretty good questions!

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    2. The TOS writers did a lot with themes and high concepts. Doesn't change the degree to which they were limited to "we're filming a Western om the other lot, repurpose those props and sets" scenariis.

      It is no coincidence that one of the !ost acclaimed episodes of the series -the entire framchise- is a time travel plot where 90% of the runtime is set om 1939s Earth.

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    3. The Original Series' high points are damn good. But the lows get really low.

      "The Menagerie" and "A Private Little War" are some episodes that I think don't get enough love.

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    4. "A Private Little War" is kind of locked into the early-Vietnam era when the Cold War was largely a matter of US proxies battling Soviet proxies, and direct military involvement by either power was very limited. From the midpoint of Vietnam onward, the Cold War was mostly a matter of one side's proxies against the other side directly (primarily the US in Vietnam and later the Soviets in Afghanistan). This makes the philosophizing from the ST episode hit a little flat.

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    5. Even when TOS was being inane as hell, the cast was still top notch. Every later series had some major character who felt like they were just there.

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    6. TOS gets denigrated for many things... but in reality it was at the cutting edge of lighting, design, scripting, etc. for the times. The budgets were so much smaller in the 60s, and the tech simply didn't exist for special effects at the time.

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    7. I honestly haven't watched TOS since I was a teenager, so I'm probably just suffering from selective memory. I just seem to recall plenty of planets that were "just like Earth" and plenty of aliens that were just like humans. The Gorn is the biggest exception that I can remember. But Gnoman makes a good point that a plot doesn't have to feature particularly outre aliens or concepts to be good or memorable, and obviously I realize how adeptly TOS navigated the social issues of its day.

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    8. You're quite right - there were a ton of Human Aliens and Earth But Slightly different planets. That was a combination of budget limitations (custom prosthetics were extremely expensive, even the really simple ones. All the Romulans in "Balance Of Terror" except the Commander wore helmets because fitting them all with pointed ears was cost-prohibitive, for example) and the studio being much more willing to share sets and reuse props than they were to buy something new. The novels written by the original writers tended to feature much more varied aliens and settings.

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  4. Have there been many other games offering a clear choice of Good vs. Evil quest outcomes, so far?

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    1. No, and if you're point is that the game deserves more credit than I've been giving for that element, I agree with you. Of course, I'm early in the game. I still don't know if that will be the norm.

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    2. It was an honest question, as I still haven't catched up with 2016-2019 posts and I didn't remember reading about it before.

      Might & Magic had something very basic, as you could choose to free or leave some prisoner you found chained in dungeons; but I thought we wouldn't see morality based choices used consistently before Fallout and Baldur's Gate, so it does sound as an interesting historical "first" for the genre and possibly worthy of a more in-depth discussion.

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    3. Don't think BG did much of that. Definitely more in Torment.

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    4. Baldurs gate has a lot of that. You can practically step on everyones toes the Moment you meet them. Downside is it will cost you a lot of quests and from a metaperspective a lot of content. It is more shining hero vs mercenary asshole, but it is in the whole game

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    5. I can recall opportunities to be randomly rude, not many opportunities to complete quests via alternative means. I think you can kill Garrick, Marl, and that fallen Paladin. I guess there are probably other instances, maybe you can lie about finding people’s lost proprerty?

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    6. Maybe I never really felt that BG was particularly open in terms of good and evil because the set up, and reputation rules, made being a bad guy feel a bit incongruous.

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    7. From the blog entries I got the impression that the choices in Planet's Edge, at least to some extend, aren't clear cut good or evil. That would make it rare even among modern games.

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    8. I'm pretty sure there were substantial evil options as far back as Dragon Wars.

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    9. The "evil" options in Baldur's Gate were crap. Do the quest the "correct" way, get a useful magic item, +2 to reputation, and a joinable NPC. Do it the evil way, get a leather armor and a short sword.

      Evil acts should be MORE profitable than good ones, to drive home how easy it is to be evil and how noble good is.

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    10. Funnily enough, the prime rewards for Good and Evil in KotOR were the Good and Evil xp you got. Was a bit immersion breaking. If you’re less of a jackass, your force lightning is less efficient? I don't remember that bit in the Sith Code.

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    11. Makes sense to me. Evil force powers come from being angry, doing bad stuff and having evil juju. A good guy would probably have a hard time using the Force to directly hurt somebody in that fashion.

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  5. I imagine that the "convergent evolution" of Star Trek was something out of necessity rather than a deliberate stylistic choice, as it is far more practical and convenient to strap a pair of pointed ears to a dude, rather than trying to animate a slimy yellow tentacled monster (and those times they made the attempt, you would wish they had gone for the pointed ears instead), especially for a TV series with a limited budget in the 60s.

    That's a clear creative advantage that books and videogames had over TV/movies, at least until CGI.

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    1. If we´re talking about fantasy and fiction, my view is that we inherently DON´T WANT it to be realistic, we don´t want it anything like the rules of the world we wake up to each day. So break every rule of the universe. If I want reality reflected in a book, I´ll just read a factual non-fiction title.

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    2. IIRC Klingons were always envisioned as having creased foreheads and slightly medievalish armor, but in the TOS episodes they just have long eyebrows and beards and that's it. Only in Star Trek the Movie did they get their iconic appearance. Roddenberry said it was due to budget constraints. Had he had the budget for a dozen custom face masks, he would have given the Klingons those foreheads in TOS already.

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    3. A fictional story grounded in reality, with no fantastic elements whatsoever beyond the events themselves, can still be very engaging.

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  6. I guess this game won´t rate high then. In terms of plot details, I prefer when you tell as much as possible about a game.

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    1. I agree, I enjoy reading plot details as well. Without them, I think we'd lose a lot of your extra commentary.

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  7. I don't know about playing the game, but looking at that long A in the title for 40ish hours would irritate me. I know pixel art has limitations, but ugh.

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    1. I've always found it a bit irritating when a game uses a big chunk of limited real estate with the name of the game on it. I think I usually knew which floppy disk was booting up back then!

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  8. "A certain quality of narrative and variety of quests are important to me, yes, but only when accompanied by meaningful character development or tactical combat."

    This exact comment could be made about Ultima VII as well. It isn't very strong in combat and character development either, to say the least. I'm curious to see how you will rate it as an RPG. U7 is one of my favourite games, but it really is an adventure game disguised as an RPG. Which is fine for me.

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    1. My guess is that the open world approach of Ultima is what will set it apart

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    2. The narrative of most RPGs on this blog barely holds a candle to U7. But then Addict tends to be very stingy with bonus points, and isn't kidding about character development or tactical combat.

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    3. At least U7 HAS character development, it's just not especially necessary.

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  9. I don't think it's fair to say U7 is an adventure in disguise.

    It fully complies with the Addict's definition for a CRPG, even if it is definitely more successful in (and clearly the devs deliberately put more effort into) things like plot, dialogue or world exploration,rather than others like character progression and combat.

    It makes it an uneven and lopsided CRPG (and the gimlet will likely reflect that), but it is still very much one.

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    1. True. Adventure games don't have parties that move in a group, or tile-based landscapes, or equipment paperdolls; and rarely have any combat whatsoever, and certainly not long spell lists with mostly combat spells. And they almost universally have inventory puzzles, which U7 really doesn't.

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    2. What makes U7 unquestionably an RPG to me is that it still features the classic core gameplay loop that goes back to PLATO: explore-kill-loot-upgrade. Very few adventure games feature this loop, and the ones that do (like Quest for Glory) are really obviously RPG hybrids. Adventure games have a loop more like observe-collect-solve (or, in the old school, more like explore-collect-die-die-die-eventually-solve).

      Both RPGs and adventure games also often employ the "chatty kleptomaniac" game loop (explore-talk-loot), but it's not really owned by either.

      (This is also why Star Control 2 "feels" like an RPG to a lot of people -- it has an explore-kill-loot-upgrade loop.)

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    3. @Radiant, every single element on your list was implemented in some Adventures, at least separately from the others. Off the top of my head, Shannar and Companions of Xanth had parties; Deathgate, Spellcasting 101 and Journey all had long spell lists; Veil of Darkness had both paper doll and tile-based maps.

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    4. @VK maybe you should read my entire post instead of selectively quoting some words while missing the other half...

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    5. I don't have a problem with your entire post - I don't consider Ultima 7 an Adventure game - only with your list of things Adventures supposedly don't have.

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  10. I think the part that I prefer the most about the blog is the personal takes on the likes/dislikes and the explanations why, rather than being concerned about 'more/less plot description'.

    For example, the little discussion about the quirk of preferring not knowing the time to completion was probably the most interesting/useful part of the post. It's sort of like reading TVTropes; you have an unconscious understanding of a trait or feature that is difficult to articulate until you hear/read someone else explaining it. Once you have that tool in the toolbox, you can use it as a point of reference ('I don't like how the character suffers from the Worf Effect', or 'Shaka, when the walls fell').

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  11. If my recollection is correct, there was a minor detail I appreciated. As you progress through the game, the moon base overview screen changes, with buildings being constructed and upgraded in the background. I could imagine the personnel were at least doing _something_ productive instead of just sitting around on their hands waiting for you to return, having solved all their problems.

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  12. FWIW I don't enjoy reading about plot heavy games as much - I think eliding some amount of side quests in your recounting is fine.

    How do you fare with books? Does it annoy you to know the end is 20 pages away?

    Some e-readers get around that I think?

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    1. Same here. I think that -- within the context of discussing/recapping a game's plot -- it's the problem-solving involved in navigating that plot that most interests me.

      And that makes sense, since my favorite things about this blog are typically the coverage of underrecognized/unknown games, and the Addict's analytical discussion of the problem-solving involved in completing any RPG (not so much min/maxing stuff as situations where X seemed impossible and then it became possible thanks to creative problem-solving).

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    2. I guess I just learned to get over it with books a long time ago since there's no great way to hide how much you have left.

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  13. "Expect a change in tone in future entries as [I lose] patience with this increasingly hostile and irrational universe."

    This pretty much summarizes my life.

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  14. I definitely *prefer* to know how much game I've got left. In fact, I regard it to some extent as a central premise of storytelling, that you open with "the promise" - which sets out the scope of the story you intend to tell, and clearly signals at what point the story will be over. (Think The Hobbit's subtitle of "There And Back Again") - Tolkien clearly regarded "and back again" as an important part of the journey, both in this and in LOTR, and without that warning the denouement of both works can feel a little long-winded.

    I remember abandoning Popolocrois on PSP because I hadn't been warned that the western release was actually a mashup of two full-length JRPGs, and upon finishing the first "half" I couldn't bear to do the same amount again, particularly when I'd been looking forward at that point to calling it "done".

    I very wisely abandoned Agarest: Generations of War because I'd been warned that it was a 200+ hour game, and after about five hours with its ugly backgrounds and opaque and complex combat, I decided I could stick it out for 40 hours, but definitely not for 200.

    I like to plan my level of investment around the game length as well. If it's super-long, and there are optional parts of it that aren't inherently enjoyable, I might decline to do those. But if it's quite short, I might do absolutely everything for the enjoyment of knowing I've *completed* it.

    ReplyDelete

I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

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