Vladerag's Blog











    I must admit, I went into this game with high expectations, and why shouldn’t I have?  Aside from all the hype surrounding the game, it had a star studded cast, including my all time favorite author R. A. Salvatore and the lead designer for the amazing games Morrowind and Oblivion.  It was promised to have found a way to merge action and rpg, fixing the terminal problems of both.  The lack of story, holes in the story, in action style games.  And the weakness of combat in rpg styles (particularly western style rpg’s).

   To say I was disapointed is an understatement.  The story starts interestingly enough, your character, which you construct in a funny maner in the introductory cutscense wakes up on a pile of corpses, the only success in a series of otherwise failed experiments.  The action starts soon after, as your enemies, introudced as the Tuatha, attack for unkown reasons and you are forced to defend the facility with sword and magic.

   Initially, I was impressed by the fighting system.  It lacked the choppy feal of the Elder Scrolls series. and the graphics and actions were beautifuly choreograhphed.  The shift from magic, to sword, to dagger was almost seamless, allowing me to shift my fighting style as soon as the mood hit me, and usually not requiring using the menu.  Even in the  begining, I was never forced to adopt a particular style.  All the usual rpg classes were introduced, daggers and bows for the stealth/ranger, swords and hammers for the warrior, and staves and spells for the mage, and it seemed, for the momment, that this game truly was a synthesis of choice and action.

    That illusion was quickly dispelled as the game went on.  There were almost no improvements or additons to the combat past the intial point, only a few more weapons were introduced, and I soon realized that I had almost no real choice at all.  My standard test for my abillity to choose in a game goes like this:  Can I join my enemies and reak mayhem and destruction?  If yes, than that game is generally one with lots of choices that can affect the outcome in different ways, if no, then it probabbly isnt. 

   That said, I did not enter the game banking on that abillity.  I expected something along the lines of Dragon Age, where my choices would affect actual events, even important ones.  For example, if I have two objectives that can be pursued, but I have to do one before the other, I would want there to be consequences for it.  I would want the abillity to choose to right or wrong, or some stranger gray area that perhaps previous actions unlocked.

   However, I was sorely disapointed.  I realized that almost none of your choices have any affect at all.  If I go wild and kill an entire city of people, I will get a bounty and guards will chase me.  But nothing else will be much affected, if I leave a sick village alone and dont help it, it wont die off.

   My last hope for choice was in how I customised my character.  With the abillity to invest in three branches of skills and never being forced to choose one over the other, I thought I could customize my character into the perfect mage-assassain, but more than that, that there would be choices within each tree that would dictate what kind of magic I would have, and what kind of stealth user I would be.

   Alas, but it was not the case.  You can choose to be whatever you want, but within each tree you are practically required to obtain everything in order to meet the requirements for the next level of skills and improvements.  I could not focus on daggers and sneaking in stealth, or focus on summoing and offensive spells in magic.  I was forced to get a little of everything in order to proceed.

 

   In the end, this game is not as bad as I make it out to be.  It was good, but simply not as great as it could or should have been.  In the end I felt as though I had more choice in Assassain’s Creed and Deus Ex, and better action besides. 

Graphics: 9 

Absolutely stunning too look at, without a single detail overlooked.  With the exception of people, who looked a little stupid in the faces, and after Dragon Age, there is simply no exscuse to have stunning landscapes and ugly people.

Sound: 7

It was okay, but I never really noticed it.

Gameplay: 6

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.  This game promised choice, the abillity to change the games future and how you played it at will and in many different ways.  It promised a fighting system to rival action games.  It promised a good story and an in depth and detailed society.  Thank you R. A. Salvatore for being the one to come up with the story and legends that are found in the game, at least you did your job right.

Overall: 6

When I get the feeling that Assassain’s Creed gives me more choices and action, and mind you that I am talking about Assassains Creed I, than an wrpg touted as giving the best of both, something has gone horribly wrong.  The game is good, but many games are decidedly better.  Beauty and story are not replacements for gameplay, and trust me when I say that I did not even cover the half of my problems with this game.  (Don’t even get me started on the problems with stealth.)

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{October 17, 2009}   Review: The Legend of Drizzt

R.A. Salvatore’s, The Legend of Drizzt series is easily the best fantasy series there is.  With lovable characters such as the surly dwarf, Bruenor, the powerful, if naive, barbarian Wulfgar, the loveable archer Cattie-Bri, and of course the noble hero, Drizzt. 

Drizzt is born a dark elf, or drow, in the lightless caverns of the underdark, a system of tunnels underneath the surface world.  There, he is raised in Drow society, a society that has a heart darker than their tunnel home.  Drizzt, of course, as the nobel hero, is horrified by the darkness, and through many a twist and turn, ends up on the surface.

What he could not know is what he would face when he got there.  Drow have a reputation for evil you see, and not just any evil.  They are so evil that even demons, who are the emobiement of evil acknowldge Drow elves as their supperiors.  They rarely see the person past the heritage when they look at Drizzt, and so he is driven across the realms into the most remote wildernesses, the place where the rogue’s rogues go, outcasts even by an outcasts standards.  There Drizzt met Cattie-Bri, adpoted daughter of the dwarf king, Bruenor Battlehammer, and from there began a friendship that would outlast many a hardship.

Many of the Legend of Drizzt books have made it on to the New York Times bestseller’s list, and just recently the 20th anniversary of Drizzt was celebrated.  The story starts with the book Homeland, and the most recent one out in stores is The Ghost King.

Be sure to enjoy them!



et cetera