Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Defender of Boston: Not Lovely, but Crafty

 
There's a lot to unpack in this paragraph.
    
With eight hours invested in Defender of Boston, I still barely know what to make of it. It is simultaneously brilliant and amateurish, meticulously detailed and riddled with errors. Part of me wants it to be over, and part of me wants it to never end.
    
I corresponded with author Tim Wisseman after my first entry, and he said that he based the themes and mechanics on the Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG (1981), which is itself based on the Basic Role-Playing rules first developed for RuneQuest (1978). This explains the attributes and skills in Defender; not all of those used in Cthulhu appear, but those that do appear are in Cthulhu. Defender also uses the tabletop RPG's crafting and chemistry systems.
      
Karem Bradshaw fills in some of the island's lore.
     
But the game interface is completely original. Wisseman admits that he "really didn't know what [he] was doing." I covered some of the odder elements, like the outdoor movement system, last time. That really doesn't work very well, although like most things in this game, it is more sophisticated than I realized at first glance. The character's movement speed is affected by terrain, injury, energy level, encumbrance, and the enemies and NPCs around him, and making it real-time is supposed to (and does) increase the anxiety level when the character is approached by eldritch horrors. It's still unsupportable, but it does have a certain logic.
    
In fact, that's true of most of the game's elements. Most times that you encounter something that at first seems stupid, it later turns out to make a certain amount of sense. Early in this session, for instance, I was attacked by a lion as I wandered from one place to another. I laughed at the absurdity of a lion in Massachusetts and mentally chided Wisseman for not creating a sensible game world. Later, an NPC told me that some animal rights activists had kidnapped some animals from a circus in Boston and released them on the island. You get a lot of whiplash like that.
       
Oh, my.
       
Thanks to the map that BillBull dug up, I was able to explore most of the island over about three game days, speaking to about a dozen NPCs and exploring that many locations. The game's lore is complex and deliberately confusing, meant to be pieced together through a variety of clues, including NPC dialogue and found journals and notes. I'm still not on the verge of fully understanding the plot, but the initial quest to learn the fate of Fred Black has morphed into a tangled web of Deep Ones, aliens, and government conspiracies.
        
The island has numerous caves with drawings and petroglyphs.
      
The best I can tell, Rock Island has been the epicenter for paranormal activity for centuries. Caves on the island have petroglyphs of aliens and monsters. A stone tower, which may predate the pilgrims, may contain a gateway to another world and/or the key to saving this world from disaster. Residents have experienced odd events almost annually, such as Naomy Machentar, who was picked up bodily by a gust of cold wind last winter and dumped into a cemetery with two broken legs. Mysterious lights in the sky and mysterious creatures in the forest are so common that almost everyone has a story about them.
    
On 13 July 1921, an explosion lit up the island and drew a host of men-in-black to the island, plus some bird-watchers, whose arrival mysteriously preceded the disappearance of all birds except owls. A few days later, Fred Black found a mysterious box-like device with colored lights on it, but it appears the men-in-black kidnapped him, killed his wife, and seized the device. They've tried to keep people away from the Williams farm by spreading a story about anthrax, and from the stone tower by telling people it's structurally unstable.
    
Every resident so far has been a bit loopy, but the three most suspicious are Scotty, Bob, and Andrew "Dice" Kennedy. They seem to be collaborating on something; Bob, at least, said that he and the other two "have things under control." Something weird is happening in Scotty's house; when I visited, my character nearly had a breakdown over one room's angles or something. I found a bunch of mysterious equipment there and a radio set. Kennedy also had a radio.
       
The MIB agrees with me about Scotty and Bob. And I get attacked by a lion.
     
Moving from place to place brought me in conflict with a lot of creatures, including wild dogs, bushpigs, bears, wasps, rat packs, and the aforementioned lion. As I explored areas, I started finding weapons that I could use instead of punching and kicking. I upgraded from nothing to a bull whip to an axe. Later, I found firearms and ammunition. The combat system is relatively original and complex for a shareware game. I assume it's an attempt to replicate the tabletop RPG's rules. You lock on to nearby enemies by clicking on them. You then select either a melee or missile weapon. Either way, a combat panel comes up giving you a few options, including aiming and attacking. As you strike successful blows, the enemy's health meter depletes.
 
Weapons realistically run out of ammo, after which you have to load the right caliber one bullet at a time, each one taking a few seconds. This is realistic: you find boxes of rounds in this game, not magazines. I found that I'm far more likely to miss using a firearm, but when I hit, it does significantly more damage.
      
After a few misses, I kill the wild dog in one shot. I'm badly injured, though.
      
Enemy blows affect not only your health, but also body part-specific damage tracked by a paper doll at the top of the screen. Yellow areas of the body are injured but will heal over time. Red areas are badly injured and will get worse without healing. Injured legs are especially bad because they get worse as you try to walk on them.
    
Healing depends on successful use of the crafting system, which I also assume comes from the tabletop rules. There are five crafting menus: "Mix Medicine," "Make Explosives," "Field Engineering," "Cooking," and "Butcher." I think the latter two are available to anyone, but the first three are dependent on "First Aid" and "Chemistry" skills and don't appear at all if the skills are low enough. Within each menu are recipes for a variety of items. For instance, a "Stomotic Elixir Drug," which cures an upset stomach, requires a can of beer, a bottle of sulfur, and a bunch of berries. "Nitrex Explosive" requires a bottle of acid, a lump of saltpeter, a bag of sugar, and a bottle of iodine.
        
This healing broth drink cures injuries to the body. I badly need it for my head, waist, and leg.
         
You find most of the recipe items just searching the ground outside. Various reagents and bits of junk pop up as you walk: hemlock, poison ivy sprigs, ears of corn, bits of barbed wire, seawater, swamp water, pinecones, and so forth. Other items are in people's houses or the general store. The "Field Engineering" button lets you turn barbed wire into iron wire and iron wire into lock picks. (This was an important discovery, as there are a lot of doors on the island to pick.) You can make explosives, fuses, and detonators independently and them bring them together to make bombs. I haven't found any use for bombs yet, but the system is pretty cool.
         
Picking locks is just a matter of time and patience.
        
After my introductory session last time, I began exploring the island somewhat systematically in east-west strips from the north down. Scotty's house is on the north coast, and it was there that I experienced its oddities and picked up some weird equipment and a green glowing stone. Scotty tried to warn me about the men-in-black wandering the area. There was a crop circle near his house.
    
The men-in-black were reportedly staying in an old farmhouse that used to be occupied by a reclusive family. I tried to visit, but they shot at me as I got close. One of the funny things about this game is that you can have conversations with people even as they shoot at you. While one of the MIBs, Nick, was pumping me full of lead, he warned me of a mob presence on the island. I eventually had to flee.
   
On the way to another location, I met a shirtless man named John Wilets in the woods. He spoke like he had been living there for years, cut off by society. He claimed that "the Great One from far away has come near to stop those who eat all things" and that Bob had "trapped the black one from under feet." He also told me that the men-in-black had taken Fred Black to the north. Later, I met Wilets' wife, and she claimed he had only been missing for a few days. The Wilets home was oddly filthy, so perhaps they just live like that.
           
I'll bet he's just hiding from the Britannian Tax Council.
      
You can only explore dark places in this game with light sources, and you can't celebrate when you find candles or a flashlight because you also need matches and batteries, respectively. But once you have all of that, things open up. On a revisit to Andrew Kennedy's house, I was able to explore the dark parts. I found a weird object called a "p vortex inductor." Using his radio, I was able to send a mission report back to the Foundation, but I got no reply. Kennedy had a safe, but I couldn't figure out how to open it.
   
Eventually, I came to Bob's house. The stone tower is technically on his land, and Bob said that his father, Uri, warned him that the tower would be vital some day to the preservation of the world. Bob tried to warn me away from the investigation. In his journal, he claims to have invented "anti-dimensional shift glasses" based on his father's design. He claims to have used the glasses to shoot a Deep One in the head and kill it. "The elder sign is in place," his journal mysteriously reports.
      
Approaching Bob's mansion.
         
Black's house also had a mysterious document called the Pisro Scroll. It seems to be in German, but not good German, and a lot of it is just nonsense. If my German readers think it makes any sense and is worth translating, I'll take another shot at it.
       
This reads like gibberish to me.
          
I had been saving the Black farmhouse for last, assuming that I'd find plenty of clues there, but the place had nothing at all, just a description. After thinking it over, I decided to head back to the men-in-black house, which I hadn't explored at all, and try again. Night fell on the way, and any question about whether the "Deep Ones" were real or imaginary disappeared when I encountered one in the forest. The very sight of the creature made me sick, and it didn't respond at all to my weapons. I ended up dying and having to reload.
         
I guess there's no question that they're real.
        
The men in black were hostile when I returned to their house, so I killed three of them with an axe and then set about exploring the place. There were rooms suggesting they had been doing experiments on someone or something and keeping someone prisoner. I couldn't get through the door of a large vault in the house, but I did find a "mission journal." It indicated that the men-in-black were part of something called Operation Nightbird, an attempt to recover an alien spacecraft that had crashed on the island, apparently causing the explosion on 13 July. The Artifact that Fred found was from that crash. The MIBs decided to send an antagonizing letter from Fred to some local mob characters, leading the mafiosi to kill Fred and his wife without implicating the MIBs. They are now investigating Scotty and Andrew Kennedy and managed to figure out the combinations to both of their safes.
         
Dealing with the MIBs with my axe.
        
I returned to Kennedy's house and opened his safe with the combination, revealing a map of the island (it's now part of the interface, and I can find my position when I look at it), a Geiger counter, and a book called the Sussex Mystro. It describes the Deep Ones, or Children of Dagon, and the dangers they pose. It particularly warns against the Black Goat of the Woods and its young ones, "the trees that walk." 
      
The map is a nice touch, but like everything in the game, it's a little too small and hard to read.
           
On the south side of the island, I found the mob house and a "mob journal" which detailed their activities on the island, including shooting Deep Ones for target practice! None of the mobsters wanted to talk with me, but they didn't attack me, either. One of them, Lefty, did say that he saw the MIBs digging a hole somewhere on the eastern side of the island. I had found a shovel in the MIBs' house, so that made sense.
       
The mafia goon is cagey.
         
As I continued to explore, I started digging at each new location, and this paid off when I dug at some ruins near the Black farm. I found a large brass key near an old willow tree.
    
I headed back north and first used the combination provided by the MIBs to open the safe in Scotty's house. His journal mostly detailed his electrical experiments, which I couldn't follow, but it suggested he belonged to some group called the Esotoric Order of the Golden Twilight, perhaps a group of paranormal researchers and enthusiasts.
       
Bob's journal.
       
The large brass key unlocked the vault in the MIB house. There, I found a tank with a "membranous octopoid" floating inside it. "You feel the dark cloud of an unspeakable alien intelligence learing [sic] at you unseen with an unquenchable hatred," it said. There was an option to open its container, which I did, and the thing somehow immediately escaped, destroying the room on the way out.
       
I free a hostile alien and am rewarded with a Super Simon.
        
In the rubble, I found Fred Black's artifact--a boxlike object with four colored buttons. I reloaded, but there was no way to get it without also freeing the creature. I hope I was supposed to do that.
      
Open puzzles include:
    
  • There are reports of a "criminal" loose on the island. Bob may be hiding him in his house. There's a locked door in Bob's house that Bob won't let me open. I need to distract or kill him.
  • A lighthouse on the north coast had something horrible happen in the past. When I tried to visit, I couldn't get past the door lock, but that was before I realized that picking locks was just a matter of patience.
  • In a cave, I found a stone disc on the floor with a pentagram symbol. Moving it released some kind of black ooze that drained my life away. I reloaded and left it alone, but I wonder if that's the thing that Bob has trapped. Can I kill it? Should I leave it alone?
        
Note that the items in the room suggest a particular pop culture icon died here.
    
  • I have no idea what to do with a ton of odd equipment I've been picking up, including the Pisro Scroll, a Geiger counter, a spark coil, a loading coil, a glowing green stone, the Artifact, a p vortex inductor, a hormonic emi sender, an extorneutronic gun, and a scalar altogenerater. I guess I just need to start using them in various places and see what happens.
     
All of the mysterious items have their own interfaces.
     
Of course, there are still probably places that I haven't explored yet in my fairly cursory first run of the land. 
     
By far, the oddest part about this very odd game is the way NPCs tend to follow you after you've talked with them. I have about half a dozen trailing me at any given time, and I can only outrun them with a very fast pace. They generally catch up whenever I stop. At first, I was wary of them, but now I like to think of them as my fan club, excited to see if I solve the quest.
 
I'm glad you all could be here.
      
Let's see if I can win it in one more. 
             
Time so far: 8 hours

 

56 comments:

  1. "A proud and fearsome bovine"

    Sounds like my ex-wife! HAW HAW HAW

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    1. "That donkey used to call me a cow" - ex-wife.

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  2. The Pisro scroll does read like gibberish. The words are indeed German - with a few exceptions such as "ausung", "Norge" (the Norwegian name of Norway) and "Atanticanis" (any relation to Atlantis?), but quite a few are misspelled, and they don't form coherent sentences. I'd be surprised if this "text" held any relevant clues, especially since the game was released far before there were online dictionaries and translation services.

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    1. The mention of "Kuhen prall und suss" made me bit hungry, though.

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    2. I initially read "Kuhen" as a wrong version of "Kühe", which is a whole lot more bizarre :D

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    3. Excellent. Thanks for verifying that.

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    4. This is one of the most masterful segments of faux German I have ever seen, because it does actually manage to create a somewhat eerie and alienating effect even if you know German. If I try to render the effect this has on a native speaker as well as I can in English, this could be the result (emulation of spelling errors included):

      Spenning and having
      Atanticanis man haveth
      Comparing and saying
      Goat what blakk
      Lett the stone excrufiate
      Stuff and have
      Shörten the cöast
      Cööl and böld
      Northerly Kïng
      Often to the Fatherland
      In the North Helligoland
      Closed still the morrow
      Caik stout
      And swëët
      Gnawing Pisro ausing
      Egress!
      And extinction!
      Northerly lighten

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    5. Sure sounds like weird babbling from a mind broken by a brush with an elder god to me. Thanks for the translate.

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    6. That's a great translation and captures the effect it has on German readers very well. There are chunks of meaning in there, but it doesn't make any sense as a whole. Kinda like a madman's ramblings.

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    7. I wonder if it is a code...

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  3. did you have a chance of asking about the scaned pictures?

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    1. He only said that my commenters were correct about who they were. He offered some detail on the process, which I'm saving for the last entry.

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  4. "There's a locked door in Bob's house that Bob won't let me open." - I find it extremely funny how NPCs don't seem to mind you rummaging through their houses, looting everything not nailed to the floor and emptying out their safes, but that one door - no, that one is completely off limits.

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  5. The stone with the pentagram symbol is probably the Elder Sign mentioned in Bob's journal. It's usually a bad idea to remove or destroy Elder Signs in Cthulhu-related games, unless the plot demands it.

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    1. ... and the black ooze sounds like it could be a Shoggoth.

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  6. Your first post on the game made me think of Call of Cthulhu, so it makes sense that Wisseman did indeed base his game on the tabletop rpg.

    That said, your descriptions of the mechanics here don't match my experience of the game. There is no crafting system in CoC for example, at least not a formalised one. A player wanting to make some medicine would probably be instructed to procure equipment and materials then make a Medicine -- or Chemistry if the GM is feeling generous -- roll, and in CoC, skill tests are simple success/failure rolls made on percentile dice. That's about it. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a more complicated crafting system in some supplement or magazine article, but it's not there in the base game. Wisseman's crafting system looks quite interesting and robust for a 1992 game, to be fair.

    (The combat system as you describe it also looks quite different to the tabletop game, but I suspect that's because of the translation to the computer game's interface.)

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    1. Yeah, Call of Cthulhu has a pretty complex character definition with a million skills and attributes, but mechanical resolution is simple and up to the GM's interpretation.

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    2. Just because the rules are left ambiguous doesn't mean there isn't a crafting system. The skill descriptions for CoC make it clear that if your "Chemistry" skill is high enough, you can "create or extract complex chemical compounds, including simple explosives," and that if your "Craft" skill is high enough, you can "make or repair practical things." That's what this game has operationalized.

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  7. I remember that thing about the NPCs all following you, too. I never did find a way to make them stop.

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    1. I mean, that's one way of cutting down on backtracking. "Gotta return to Katie now and give her... oh hey, she's right behind me!"

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  8. Of all the games you have played so far, and apart from bugs I feel like, this is the game that feels the most like a tabletop RPG session with a game master.

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  9. As if the mystery island of the LOST tv show has been put into an RPG...or actually, the other way round.

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  10. An odd game certainly... the strange force at the bottom of the well that turned the house to dust references the short story "The Colour out of Space." The Deep Ones are in a number of his stories.

    Looking forward to hearing more from this one!

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  11. After your first post on this game I thought "Yuck, what an interface," but now I'm strangely captivated. The part with the NPCs following you around is disturbing.

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  12. "when I visited, my character nearly had a breakdown over one room's angles or something."

    Very on-brand for Lovecraft! Hideous, cyclopean geometry informing the eldritch walls and gambrel roofs?

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    1. The angles!! Those monstrous, non-Euclidean facades that bespoke chthonic horrors, antediluvian dreams only whispered of in the ravings of madmen, or in certain tomes from the Orient kept in secret places in the librariums of Miskatonic University!

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  13. "Weapons realistically run out of ammo, after which you have to load the right caliber one bullet at a time, each one taking a few seconds. This is realistic: you find boxes of rounds in this game, not magazines."

    Unironically, this reminds me of the severe irritation I used to get in Resident Evil games (after the first, and excepting the Magnum in RE2), where the ammunition is found in boxes but you always reload via magazines.


    Indeed, this entire game (as you describe it) feels more like a protozoic Survival Horror game than a traditional RPG.

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    1. It really isn't an RPG. None of the stats get better during the game.

      I wouldn't normally praise "realism" except that it serves a purpose of not making guns too easy. Otherwise, between a gun and an axe, there would be no choice.

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    2. I still maintain that a game with character creation is an RPG, no matter if your character improves during the course of the game or not.

      In fact, a lot of Call of Cthulhu pen and paper sessions don't have any leveling up because your characters are going to die or go mad at the end of the session anyway. One-shots are very common in that system.

      You could also play a one-shot D&D session where there's no leveling. Imagine there being another Gold Box title between Silver Blades and Pools, into which you could import your party, but it's much shorter than the others and there's not enough experience in it to give your imported party a levelup. Would it not be an RPG because of this?

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    3. No. There's no way you're getting me to change my definition and add 20% more games to my list. I can't speak to tabletop games. In a *C*RPG, the character has to improve to meet my definition. Period.

      In your Gold Box example, the characters would at least be earning experience that would contribute to level-ups in the next title. I'd probably allow it for that reason, but unhappily.

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    4. The popularity of one-shots does not negate that virtually all TTRPGs have mechanisms to improve your character via play - this is almost universally a primary reward mechanic.

      Ignoring this, "character creation without character development counts as an RPG" raises the question of what constitutes character creation. Is simply naming the character enough? Is "pick the sword guy or the bow girl" character creation? From a purely categorical perspective it makes things much easier to have character development as a core genre criteria.

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    5. I feel like this has been discussed before, but in this hypothetical I imagine he'd definitely play and rate it, and the one-shot equivalent just wouldn't rate nearly as well as the full games on the GIMLET because of the lack of character progression feedback loop that most people immediately think of when they think of CRPGs in particular.

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    6. Did Hillsfar give experience, because to me "short Gold Box spinoff with importing and no real development" sounds exactly like what Hillsfar basically was

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    7. Yep you get XP - but not necessarily enough to gain a level.

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    8. Games that import saves between titles are rare nowadays, but if they make a comeback I'd love to see more Hillsfar-esque spin-offs. I think there's potential in the idea that has never been explored, much like the whole concept of save importing has been sadly underused and unappreciated.

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    9. Call of Cthulhu has clear mechanics for improving your character over time. That some players choose not to use those mechanics doesn't mean they're not there.

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    10. In response to Gnoman's question on what constitutes character creation for me, it's basically what this game is doing: providing you with a full character sheet where you allocate stats and skills and pick your character's sex and appearance. There's dozens of character variations you can create in Defender of Boston, which can play very differently based on their skills.

      In fact, I would consider a game with character creation this complex more of an RPG than one where you merely get to name your character at the start (and not even get a choice if it's a he or a she, only the name) and improve your HP and/or attack on levelup. Chet has played a couple of games like that. No real choices during character creation, and levelups only give you more HP and that's pretty much it. That means every player's character will have the exact same start, and the exact same progression through the game. Contrast that with a game like Defender of Boston, where every player will have a different experience based on the character they created. It feels much, much more like an RPG to me than those simplistic Ultima clones where you gain XP but all it does is add +10 HP and +1 attack per level, with no player choice in how to distribute points.

      I guess it really depends on what the core feature of RPGs is for you. For me, character creation and variety has a higher priority than gathering XP to level up.

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    11. I'm not trying to convince Chet to allow more games in his list by changing his definition btw, just arguing my point on what I feel RPGs are all about ;)

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    12. Games with reasonably complex character creation but virtually no character improvement are pretty rare, though. I doubt it really matters. I can think of MT2, this game... both have been played.

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    13. @Alex: I think nowadays we see so few save-game imports because instead of separate games we get spin-offs via DLC in the main game. The downside is that everything will be using the same engine and can't diverge too much from the original game.

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  14. It seems like this game has some interesting mechanics, but I wouldn't be able to abide the interface for more than a few minutes. It's like trying to play MechWarrior 2 without the 3D view and with all the submenus up at the same time.

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  15. "It is simultaneously brilliant and amateurish, meticulously detailed and riddled with errors. Part of me wants it to be over, and part of me wants it to never end."

    https://www.reddit.com/r/outside/

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  16. I have a question, CRPG Addict, and other readers. What do you feel about evasion and accuracy in rpgs? Is it really annoying as it is or do you accept it as just being part of the game?

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    1. It depends if it feels "cheap" or as an actual mecanic to build strategy around.

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    2. By "evasion and accuracy" do you mean including accuracy as a variable and giving enemies a chance to evade? I don't mind at all as long as it doesn't significantly prolong combat. (I think of Realms of Arkania with both enemies and characters constantly missing.) Otherwise, skill checks like accuracy and random things like evasion are part and parcel of an RPG.

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    3. For me it depends on the specific kind of RPG. In hybrid or real-time games it annoys me to no end to sit there hitting nothing but air because the computer decided that I missed despite all visual feedback to the contrary. It's the one criticism of Arena/Daggerfall/Morrowind that I 100% agree with.

      In more "RPG-like" CRPGs like Gold Box or KOTOR, or even tactics games like X-Com (both old and new) it provides important variation. In those games, dodges (and related mechanics like saving throws) make it so that the games aren't 100% deterministic which can be just as frustrating as 100% randomness.

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    4. I like it if it's a core part of gameplay like Fallout where if you shoot from 10 hexes away you might have 10% accuracy but spend action points to move closer and you increase to 60%. I don't like it where it feels unnatural and involves characters whacking away at each other missing all the time and is something you can't really control.

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    5. @CRPG: Yeah, that. I know you complained a bit in a couple of games how there is a series of missing that goes on, especially in Wizardry, so it feels like you're just rolling the dice quite literally. I never know if it can be too much and lower a game's quality. I always liked the kinda misses where it wasn't frequent in the game, and it was more of a special thing that happens.

      In Fallout, as pointed out, they do a good job in making you modify how well you miss or not. Choices like that I think make a lot more sense. Give a tradeoff for increasing accuracy sort of deal.

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    6. I like it in principle, but if there is too much of it it means a lot more clicking for the same combat. There's something to be said for lumping it with other parameters.

      I don't know if games actually do this, but what if increased evasion made you take 50% damage from arrows? Unrealistic, but practical in gameplay terms.

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    7. It's often impossible to tell if evasion is going to be a good idea to build up, or if it's basically pointless and a trap. Same with accuracy. That, I think, is what's most annoying about those systems.

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    8. Yeah 'evasion' sometimes feels like it's either on all-in cheese or something to completely ignore.

      I don't mind evasion modifiers on armor/items but I don't really like it as a character skill.

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    9. It adds to the complexity but is annoying if you play with low dexterity. On the other side it's immensely satisfying to build a rookie chracter into a crack shot. As with most rpg elements, it's a matter of patience after all.

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    10. I found it funny when both combatants in a Baldur's Gate duel kept swinging and missing because their THAC0 batting average was awful. Once my Fighter/Mage/Thief character got to Baldur's Gate 2, this became less of a problem.


      Evasion can be significant in Japanese RPGs as well. A glitch in the Super Nintendo version of Final Fantasy 6 means you can dodge most attacks if you put on enough MBlock equipment, since Evade doesn't work. A solo White Mage can beat the 1st boss in Final Fantasy 1 at Level 1 with the RUSE spell, which increases evasion.


      The most extreme example may be Xenoblade Chronicles 1. If you're 6 levels or more below the enemy, you'll practically never hit with physical attacks. If you're 6 or more levels above, the enemies are out of luck if they don't have Ether (i.e. magic) or Talent Arts (which don't miss). Dunban has a passive Skill that increases his evasion if he's wearing no armor. Combine that with his Serene Heart evasion buff Art, and he can solo even some high level unique monsters in his shorts.


      Hopefully the follower NPCs can be used as cannon fodder against whatever Lovecraft monster you end up summoning in Defender of Boston.

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  17. As later shown in Fallout4, the defence of Boston was for naught.

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  18. While I have no interest in actually playing this game myself (the survival horror genre just does not appeal to me), I love how Chet covers all of these truly obscure titles -- and particularly when the original author is available to provide some background information. Kudos!

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  19. Please, Chet, I really hope you finish this! The story is like some mishmash of Oxenfree and Stranger Things while the gameplay is surprisingly sophisticated but unpolished, probably due to that same sophistication.

    I cannot not know how this all turns out...

    ReplyDelete

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

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.