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Reply 3540 of 3594, by Joseph_Joestar

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Namrok wrote on 2021-11-19, 02:38:

Man, Jagged Alliance just keeps frustrating me to death with UI and saving/restore issues.

I last played the original Jagged Alliance as a kid, so my memory is a bit hazy. But from what I remember, it gets much easier later on when you are able to hire better mercenaries.

At the start, get a semi-decent doctor to patch your guys up, and a tinkerer who can upgrade your weapons and armor. Even slightly better gear is a huge improvement over the crap that you have initially.

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Reply 3541 of 3594, by DracoNihil

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There's a even worse problem with Jagged Alliance 1 where the AI just completely breaks and your game is softlocked in a never ending "OPPONENTS TURN" phase and you have literally no choice but to abort out of the game and relaunch.

I've seen this happen a few times on a Polish streamer who was streaming the first game before moving on to the second one.

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Reply 3542 of 3594, by badmojo

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I've been trying to play Keen 4 in a semi-serious way for the first time in a long time and it looks great, sounds great, and is super atmospheric / nostalgic, but dang it's hard! I'm playing on easy mode and still getting stuck in spots for ages, reload, die, reload, die. Not much fun really and I think I'm done.

I ran through the first episode of Jill of the Jungle a little while back and loved it so I know I can still do an old-school platformer, oh well.

I've also been playing a bit of Wolf3D with this GM and quality of life patch and it's fantastic - initially the GM tunes were weirding me out after a lifetime of Wolf3D FM but they're so well done that I'm coming around.

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Reply 3543 of 3594, by robertmo

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DracoNihil wrote on 2021-11-22, 07:33:

There's a even worse problem with Jagged Alliance 1 where the AI just completely breaks and your game is softlocked in a never ending "OPPONENTS TURN" phase and you have literally no choice but to abort out of the game and relaunch.

I've seen this happen a few times on a Polish streamer who was streaming the first game before moving on to the second one.

This also happens in CivNet if you play on a map with less than 16 pieces of ocean in a rather central part of the map (somehow not enough for barbarian's ship)

Reply 3545 of 3594, by kixs

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After a long time... run the DOSbox and played some Dune II 😀

Also managed to get to my Arcade Cabinet (it's been stuck in the utility room for over a year behind stacks of insulation panels - doing the ceiling insulation in the garage now) and played some Street Fighter, Streets of Rage II, Prince of Persia (Mega drive version) and KiKi KaiKai 😁 I need to move it upstairs to my man cave (after I finish it but ETA unknown 🤣 ).

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Reply 3546 of 3594, by Namrok

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Huh, wasn't expecting that.

Went to go saddle up in Jagged Alliance again, and it offered to load my quicksave on startup. Out of curiosity I say yes, and it's the one I thought I'd lost. The one it wouldn't let me load in game, as the hotkey didn't work, and the menu option for quick loading was missing. So yeah, I was very much not expecting that.

Maybe it felt sorry for me.

So I took a few more sectors, got my economy roughly positive, although that was with a lot of mercs resting, training or being healed.

I'm deeply curious how accuracy works. I had a few guys I thought were real killers, but lately after they take a few flesh wounds they can't hit the broad side of a barn. I'm guessing health effects marksmanship? Or am I finding patterns in RNG noise? I think I need to go back through previously taken zones and scour them for resources as well. There are actually a ton of doors and crates that don't seem to open for me. I spent way too long attempting to lockpick a door to no effect, but I have no clue how to get crates open if they won't on the first try. I don't even know if that's a thing. I did read the entire manual from front to back, but I don't recall if it answered any of these questions.

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Reply 3547 of 3594, by appiah4

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I just finished Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire and wanted to share some final views about the game. Some of it will be rehashing my previous ideas but I thought posting them all in one place wouldn't hurt anyone.

It was a good game, but it wasn't a great game and I can definitely understand the less than stellar reaction and sales. In hindsight, the team should have known that following up on the original's success would be a tall order. It was essentially a remake of Baldur's Gate II in many ways, and it hit all the right tones and strengths of the game it drew inspiration from. And this, I think is what complicated things. You see, the classic Baldur's Gate II does not, so far, have a successor that has come to surpass it, not even its own proper sequel. It's certainly not perfect and I wouldn't consider it one of those lightning in a bottle games that just did everything right in a way that can not be repeated, but that achievement has not yet been reached. And Deadfire was an attempt at reaching it.

In trying to do so, the developers seem to have leaned far too much into the strengths of another contemporary game that seemed to fair commercially very well for itself: Divinity Original Sin. Every idea in Deadfire that seemed to be borrowed from that game felt out of place and poorly executed. The turn based mode, introduced post-launch as an experiment for the original game, simply does not make the game more enjoyable, and the real-time with pause experience has suffered significantly from what seems to be a problem of a small team trying to balance two completely unrelated game modes against each other. Yet, at the end of the day where Deadfire fell flat most for me was the writing.

Chasing a god across a dangerous archipelago in a ship with eccentric and esoteric companions sounds like a great idea for a fantasy novel but it really does not translate to the interactive medium well. At least in this attempt. I mean, it does have its merits - I loved how every single faction you can ally with are downright evil bastards in some way and how every faction quest pretty much results in the slaughter and suffering of hundreds to thousands of innocent people. In that regard, it conveys the complicated political and moral situation in Deadfire very well. What it doesn't do is to make it interesting and fun. There are two things severely lacking in this writing that turned me sour quickly and I never really recovered that interest: 1. There is no urgency, 2. There is no agency. At the end of the day Eothas set on a mysterious island waiting for almost a year for me to arrive while I was having my jolly old time sailing across the seas and grinding for gear and experience. That kind of gameplay does not mesh well with this kind of story, no.

I think what really got me down after hoping even up until the final confrontation that the game would redeem itself, ultimately, it ended with me having zero agency with regards to the main plot. Sure, I made dozens of decisions which resulted in end game slides and caused all kinds of things in many parts of the setting, but the main story basically resolved itself with my decision affecting the outcome even less so than picking a color at the end of Mass Effect 3. For that, I feel cheated. The final DLC for this game, The Forgotten Sanctum, is a 20-25 hour long high level and self contained campaign that has better writing, better urgency, better agency and a more satisfying ending than the whole game - that alone tells you something was missing with the original.

All in all, it was a sad farewell to Eder, Pallegina and Aloth. There were some very memorable new NPCs, and Maia will forever be the best waifu, and I will miss them all a lot. A third game in this series seems to be a very long shot after the poor sales of Deadfire, but one can hope.. All in all, I will recommend this game if you were a fan of the original, but Tyranny was better.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-11-24, 23:09. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 3548 of 3594, by Sombrero

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-11-24, 11:15:

All in all, it was a sad farewell to Eder, Pallegina and Aloth. There were some very memorable new NPCs, and Maia will forever be the best waifu, and I will miss them all a lot. A third game in this series seems to be a very long shot after the poor sales of Deadfire, but one can hope.. All in all, I will recommend this game if you were a fan of the original, but Tyranny was better.

Avowed, the open world Elder Scrolls type of game from Obsidian is set in the same world, so I guess that's as close as it gets for Pillars III. Obisidian is now under Microsofts ownership, pretty hard to see them releasing a top down party based RPG for Xbox.

Reply 3549 of 3594, by Joseph_Joestar

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-11-24, 11:15:

the main story basically resolved itself with my decision affecting the outcome even less so than picking a color at the end of Mass Effect 3.

Ouch. That's a pretty bad way to top ME3.

It sucks when the developers give you a lot of choices over the course of the game, and then the final sequence pretty much ignores everything that came before and provides a few simplistic options which then determine the ending.

I much prefer something like the original Fallout, where you get a slideshow at the end describing how your actions affected the places that you visited and the people that you interacted with.

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Reply 3550 of 3594, by appiah4

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-11-24, 11:36:
Ouch. That's a pretty bad way to top ME3. […]
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appiah4 wrote on 2021-11-24, 11:15:

the main story basically resolved itself with my decision affecting the outcome even less so than picking a color at the end of Mass Effect 3.

Ouch. That's a pretty bad way to top ME3.

It sucks when the developers give you a lot of choices over the course of the game, and then the final sequence pretty much ignores everything that came before and provides a few simplistic options which then determine the ending.

I much prefer something like the original Fallout, where you get a slideshow at the end describing how your actions affected the places that you visited and the people that you interacted with.

Pillars does the end game slides and your choices throughout the game result in various end game slides and drastically different outcomes for the small settlements you visit. The problem is that

Don't read if you care for how the story ends

regardless of whatever you say to the other gods throughout the game, regardless of who you side with, regardless of whether you are good or bad, regardless of how your communication with Eothas has been,he goes on to destroy the Wheel thereby stopping the reincarnation process for mortals. You can not change this. You can find the body of another god and get him to physically attack Eothas, you can find the spirit of his former Avatar and bring him along to speak sense into him, but no - none of them stops him. The only dialogue option that has a different outcome is trying to attack a god with your sword and there is not even a fight - just an ending slide that lets you know your soul was consumed by Eothas. It is the equivalent of not picking a color at the end of ME3, basically. The only agency you have is convincing Eothas to help the mortals in one of two ways in the upcoming age of strife, or make one of the remainings gods their leader. Which changes nothing really.

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Reply 3551 of 3594, by clueless1

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I'm remembering what really drew me to the Realms of Arkania series. If you're a fan of micromanaging inventory items to optimize your party, this will satisfy your OCD tendencies. 😉 I'm VERY OCD in this regard, and have spent a very satisfying hour pouring through my inventory, learning what items do, which character would benefit most them, and organizing inventory slots. This game does not just tell you what things are. Sure, you get a basic description, like "silver bracelet" or "Amulet (blue)", but what exactly does it do? And which party member would benefit most?

There are also certain magical items that you'll come across in your travels through the trilogy that carry over to the next game and can enhance quality of life. Like a magic water skin that never empties and automatically keeps your party's thirst satiated. Apparently, there's also a magic bread bag in the game that I have not found yet, that does the same for food. Until I find it, I do have to carry around rations for each member to keep them from starving.

Another quality of life improvement in the final game of the trilogy is that now a single party member can use a whetstone to sharpen every character's weapons (which should be done every few combats to keep weapons from breaking). In the previous two games, you needed to pass the whetstone around to each character for sharpening.

So these are some reasons why this series has gained a reputation for being difficult and "hardcore". But if you happen to enjoy such things anyway, it's just a satisfying, slower-paced experience. They did make one more quality of life improvement that helps with this: an item distribution screen (separate from character inventory screens). This is basically a screen that lets you dump all your inventory in, then organize and distribute to who you want. You can see the evolution of modern RPG features at work in this series!

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Reply 3552 of 3594, by Shagittarius

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-11-24, 11:15:
I just finished Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire and wanted to share some final views about the game. Some of it well be rehash […]
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I just finished Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire and wanted to share some final views about the game. Some of it well be rehashing my previous ideas but I thought posting them all in one place wouldn't hurt anyone.

It was a good game, but it wasn't a great game and I can definitely understand the less than stellar reaction and sales. In hindsight, the team should have known that following up on the original's success would be a tall order. It was essentially a remake of Baldur's Gate II in many ways, and it hit all the right tones and strengths of the game it drew inspiration from. And this, I think is what complicated things. You see, the classic Baldur's Gate II does not, so far, have a successor that has come to surpass it, not even its own proper sequel. It's certainly not perfect and I wouldn't consider it one of those lightning in a bottle games that just did everything right in a way that can not be repeated, but that achievement has not yet been reached. And Deadfire was an attempt at reaching it.

In trying to do so, the developers seem to have leaned far too much into the strengths of another contemporary game that seemed to fair commercially very well for itself: Divinity Original Sin. Every idea in Deadfire that seemed to be borrowed from that game felt out of place and poorly executed. The turn based mode, introduced post-launch as an experiment for the original game, simply does not make the game more enjoyable, and the real-time with pause experience has suffered significantly from what seems to be a problem of a small team trying to balance two completely unrelated game modes against each other. Yet, at the end of the day where Deadfire fell flat most for me was the writing.

Chasing a god across a dangerous archipelago in a ship with eccentric and esoteric companions sounds like a great idea for a fantasy novel but it really does not translate to the interactive medium well. At least in this attempt. I mean, it does have its merits - I loved how every single faction you can ally with are downright evil bastards in some way and how every faction quest pretty much results in the slaughter and suffering of hundreds to thousands of innocent people. In that regard, it conveys the complicated political and moral situation in Deadfire very well. What it doesn't do is to make it interesting and fun. There are two things severely lacking in this writing that turned me sour quickly and I never really recovered that interest: 1. There is no urgency, 2. There is no agency. At the end of the day Eothas set on a mysterious island waiting for almost a year for me to arrive while I was having my jolly old time sailing across the seas and grinding for gear and experience. That kind of gameplay does not mesh well with this kind of story, no.

I think what really got me down after hoping even up until the final confrontation that the game would redeem itself, ultimately, it ended with me having zero agency with regards to the main plot. Sure, I made dozens of decisions which resulted in end game slides and caused all kinds of things in many parts of the setting, but the main story basically resolved itself with my decision affecting the outcome even less so than picking a color at the end of Mass Effect 3. For that, I feel cheated. The final DLC for this game, The Forgotten Sanctum, is a 20-25 hour long high level and self contained campaign that has better writing, better urgency, better agency and a more satisfying ending than the whole game - that alone tells you something was missing with the original.

All in all, it was a sad farewell to Eder, Pallegina and Aloth. There were some very memorable new NPCs, and Maia will forever be the best waifu, and I will miss them all a lot. A third game in this series seems to be a very long shot after the poor sales of Deadfire, but one can hope.. All in all, I will recommend this game if you were a fan of the original, but Tyranny was better.

Interesting. I loved the turn-based combat much more than the paused combat from the original. What I really didn't like and ultimately why I bounced off this before completing it was the Ship combat. It sounded like a good idea to me in concept, like the castle you had in the first game only you take it with you. The execution didn't give me what I wanted from that concept and it became a tiresome chore. Maybe someday i'll try to push through to the end.

Last edited by Shagittarius on 2021-11-24, 19:23. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3553 of 3594, by appiah4

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Shagittarius wrote on 2021-11-24, 19:21:

Interesting. I loved the turn-based combat much more than the paused combat from the original. What I really didn't like and ultimately why I bounced off this before completing it was the Ship combat. It sounded like a good idea to me in concept, like the castle you had in the first game only you take it with you. The execution didn't give me what I wanted from that concept and it became a tiresome chore. Maybe someday i'll try to push through to the end.

I can only agree with this. I tried the naval combat twice before getting bored with it and just choosing to board the opponent and blasting them away with AOE spells. I think the developers also realized this and that is why boarding is an option even if you are 1000m away from the enemy ship.. The naval combat was just a bad idea - I think when two ships entered battle there should be an auto resolve that will decide on the opponent's encounter difficulty (you whittled down some of the enemy crew or not) before a regular combat encounter begins. But yeah, it's a bad experience overall.

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Reply 3554 of 3594, by badmojo

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+1 on the naval combat in Deadfire growing old quickly - it turned into the equivalent of an Oblivion gate. I like the setting of that game a lot and the companions and dialog are generally good but yeah the unfocused nature didn't work for me I guess - I don't remember rage quitting or even deciding not to play anymore, I just stopped at some point.

I've been playing Keen. As mentioned earlier I've found it quite frustrating at points but something keeps dragging me back. I finished Keen 4 and am now working on 5. They're such great looking games and I really like the level designs in general, particularly the verticality of them. I still dislike that dying isn't your fault pretty regularly - I'm not interested in playing levels from the start after death, so save-scumming is the only way to go and the save/reload process is a pain.

The free time and persistence I had at age 15 are both long gone 😢

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Reply 3555 of 3594, by newtmonkey

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Shard of Spring (Apple II)

I decided that this will be my next computer RPG to play through. It's sequel, Demon's Winter, is a childhood favorite of mine... but even though I knew of SoS from the SSI catalogs, I could never track a copy down back in the day. I considered playing it on the C64, but I had such a great experience playing through Phantasie on my Apple II recently (disk access is so fast compared with the C64, even if using JiffyDOS on the latter) that I decided to play the Apple version. The game was originally programmed on the Apple II, so that's another point in the favor of playing this version!

I put some time into it, rolled up my party, did some exploring, and fought some battles. It plays a lot like Demon's Winter (unsurprisingly), but quite simpler—less classes, less skills (only Warrior and Wizard!), similar options in combat, and what seems (so far) to be a much smaller world to explore. Even so, it's a lot of fun and the combat, which plays like a prototype version of the Gold Box series, is still quite satisfying.

One thing that's very interesting here is how magic is handled. Each spell has a minimum spell point cost to cast, but you can pump more points into it for a more powerful effect, so that spells can remain useful throughout the game.

The quirkiest thing about this game is how movement is handled. You use the left and right arrows to turn your characters left and right, and press Enter to move forward. In other words, it controls like a step-based first-person game (Wizardry, Might & Magic, The Bard's Tale, Dungeon Master, etc.), but uses an overhead tile-based perspective (like Ultima). It's strange at first but you quickly get used to it.

Last edited by newtmonkey on 2021-11-28, 17:06. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3557 of 3594, by clueless1

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newtmonkey wrote on 2021-11-28, 11:26:
Shard of Spring (Apple II) […]
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Shard of Spring (Apple II)

I decided that this will be my next computer RPG to play through. It's sequel, Demon's Winter, is a childhood favorite of mine... but even though I knew of SoS from the SSI catalogs, I could never track a copy down back in the day. I considered playing it on the C64, but I had such a great experience playing through Phantasie on my Apple II recently (loading from disk is so fast!) that I decided to play the Apple version. The game was originally programmed on the Apple II, so that's another point in the favor of playing this version!

I put some time into it, rolled up my party, did some exploring, and fought some battles. It plays a lot like Demon's Winter (unsurprisingly), but quite simpler—less classes, less skills (only Warrior and Wizard!), similar options in combat, and what seems (so far) to be a much smaller world to explore. Even so, it's a lot of fun and the combat, which plays like a prototype version of the Gold Box series, is still quite satisfying.

One thing that's very interesting here is how magic is handled. Each spell has a minimum spell point cost to cast, but you can pump more points into it for a more powerful effect, so that spells can remain useful throughout the game.

The quirkiest thing about this game is how movement is handled. You use the left and right arrows to turn your characters left and right, and press Enter to move forward. In other words, it controls like a step-based first-person game (Wizardry, Might & Magic, The Bard's Tale, Dungeon Master, etc.), but uses an overhead tile-based perspective (like Ultima). It's strange at first but you quickly get used to it.

I love reading your comments on these old RPGs. I was about to head into my senior year of high school when this game was released and it does not ring a bell to me. Not even the box art looks familiar. It looks like even then, SSI did not put much emphasis in graphics. It looks inferior in every way to Ultima IV, which came out the previous year. I probably was still knee deep in IV at the time, and most other games I was playing on my IIe were pirated platformers, so I can see how I would've overlooked this one at the local Egghead Software.

BTW, if you're looking for an incredibly fun platformer on your IIc, give Dino Eggs a try. It's easily my most favorite non-RPG on the Apple II. The author came out with a modern remake of it several years ago, which I bought up like it was the last loaf of bread during the apocalypse.
https://www.dinoeggsrebirth.com/

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Reply 3558 of 3594, by newtmonkey

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Hello clueless1, thanks for posting that! I'm glad to hear you enjoy reading my thoughts. It's always great to read your RPG posts as well.

I really get a lot of enjoyment out of these really old RPGs. There's just something fascinating to me about the approach these old games take where you are just dropped in the middle of a world with a couple hints in the manual but otherwise left to figure the game out as you go along. It's always very satisfying to start out with a bunch of weak characters and slowly figure out little tricks/strategies to keep everyone alive until you can start to level up, etc.

I never saw SoS in a store, either; I went right to Demon's Winter back in the day, thinking it was a standalone game. It's a bit simple, but I'm enjoying it so far. It definitely pales in comparison to Ultima III/IV, Phantasie, and Might & Magic, though.

I'll definitely give Dino Eggs a shot! I haven't really used my Apple IIc for anything except RPGs, so it will be interesting to play an action game for a change.

Reply 3559 of 3594, by henryVK

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Currently playing The Curse of Rabenstein, a 2020 multi-plattform IF game by Stefan Vogt.

I'm playing the MS DOS (VGA) version but I couldn't find a screenshot, so here's the C64 one:

kJXrmn.png

The game is divided into days and I'm already on the third "morning" and have arrived at the dark and forboding manor house that sits above the village of Rabenstein, where strange disappearances have left me stranded and investigating a Dracula-style plot. It's definitely more of a light novel to the latters epistolary style but the descriptions are on-point and the puzzles fair and unobtuse. The parser only tracks two-word combinations so "use [item]" in the right scene will reliably make the game progress.

I wish this had been a more ambitious game as far as scope is concerned but I'm still amazed that such a pretty text adventure for DOS is released in 2020.