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The Study of Perpetual Rain and other Weather Effects
- 06/22/2012 07:46 AM
In ages of RPG making gone past, there have been hundreds, if not thousands of adventures. There is a constant struggle to create something that is new, and original. A game that exceeds expectations in at least a single aspect of games. Be that an engaging storyline, deep characterizations, tight game mechanics, or even comic relief. Mana Quest 2: Corruption of Kings disappointed me in some areas, but also screeched of untold potential. I believe that most of this potential was wasted, and the end product was unpolished, a gaming experience difficult to swallow. Not that it did not have its strong points, but the weak points overwhelmed these strengths.
Sir Ryan, the very best warrior in all the kingdom of Azuli, was banished from the kingdom due to "sins" he has committed. The story begins with him being ousted from the king's castle by guards, much to the dismay of his lover Princess Lilly. After a brief scrap, she chucks down a silver key to our dear protagonist, which obviously has some importance. The King has been turned evil, and the world is in a state of perpetual rain, due to a curse involving a mysterious Forest of the Bitters, a cursed north-easterly tower, and demons. Lots of demons.
+ Evil king
+ Mysterious forest
+ Rumours in an inn
- Some characters had little depth
Evil kings suck, don't they? Poison drifts over the airwaves, choking royal officials and infecting them with wrong decisions. The love of your life is separated from you as you attempt to get her back, and save her from that evil, EVIL castle, and that evil, EVIL king. The wretched king. At least he would have some decency in letting go his daughter from the ravages of his reeking personality.
But really, the quest of a trained warrior (supposedly the best in his clique), seeking to get back his girlfriend, a thief seeking vengeance for his lost brother, parents of a miscarried child meandering into a toxic woodland, and a perpetual state of rain throughout the world. Who could ask for more drama? Add an inn filled with rumour-telling dwellers and a veil of secrecy over the royal kin, a secret tunnel, and an accursed towering structure, and you've got the recipe for a grand ol' time!
Seriously though, the storytelling is well-done, the suspense is unrelenting, the secrets are everywhere! Rumours in an inn, second-hand smoke wafting over serving counters. Retrieve the teddy-bear for your little child friend, and receive a special stone in return. The soft flicker of fire as you light the fireplace, and the whole room explodes with light. Climb down dank wells to retrieve lost trinkets in little chest-boxes. Yes, this story is done well, and it was in all honesty the only that kept me going. Thumbs up.
+ It's fighting
- Bad fighting
- Repetitive fighting
- Unbalanced fighting
- Game breaker involving ship
A game is an interactive movie, in essence. You press buttons that directly modify your visual surroundings, causing some form of interesting choices throughout the game. And this was definitely evident on some quest-driven proportion of the game. However, what the game lacked was a good combat system. I mean, I don't hold it against the developer that they used the default battle system (I've seen many great games made with it), but it was just not well balanced. Let me rephrase: the database balancing was horrible.
I first encountered 3 willowisps in the top-right ice dungeon, unaware of their apparent power. They hovered in front of me, their wisply tails dangling a couple of feet from the ground, eyeless souls out to eat my flesh. But what I didn't realise, was that defeating these monsters as a level 1 character was dang impossible. They one-hit-KO'd my entire party, leaving me with a sense of wonder and bewilderment. What had just happened? I blinked my eyes, and my whole crew, including me, was on the floor.
But yeah, the balancing in an RPG is one of the most important factors. You can't just get a bunch of stock enemies and populate bland dungeons with them. You have to create your own enemies, balance them with weapons, teach your user how to use items (and plentifully), and create a combat experience that is entertaining, and also non-repetitive. But this combat system felt thrown-together, default, and very repetitive. In fact, for most of the game I just mashed space-bar on attack. Which was very bad. Grinding is bad, people! (Unless it's fun. Then it's good.)
Oh yeah, and this is the time when I got stuck on shore because I parked my boat in the wrong place! Then I had to start the game over again. Wasn't that fun?
+ Sufficiently unnoticeable
+ Forgot it was there
- Perhaps plain
Balanced symphony is what is required for a perfect score. This was a very moody type of music, and it fit the mood of the game sufficiently. The eternal rain was reflected in the strings, in the very moody nature of the music, and the swelling that occurred was befitting of the mood. I'm not sure as to whether these were stock music/sounds, but they were used to good effect anyway that I didn't have to worry about them at all. They matched the game well, and didn't draw any attention to themselves. Sufficient.
+ Pretty nice-looking town
+ Good indoor mapping (sometimes)
- Bad indoor mapping (sometimes)
- Very bad dungeon design (in fact, you just used dungeon generator, didn't you?)
- Unmodified title screen (yes, it's the default houses :/)
Yes, the graphics were quaint. They were befitting of the general theme of the game. They were RTP, as I far as I know. But the dungeons... let's just forget about the dungeons, shall we?
And the indoor mapping. It was good sometimes. Other times, it was just...
Yeah, and that doesn't scream "unnecessary detail" much. In other words, laziness regarding mapping, or just plain lack of using your artistical eye. I mean, a lot of the buildings were great-looking, especially the inn, the general shop, the boy's house. Fantastic. But other buildings felt like there was no effort put into it at all, glazed over with little to no attention to detail. You know I'm talking about the dungeons here, right? Could have at least put a few ornaments on that dungeon-generator base. Am I right? Am I?
The world of Azuli is mourning. They have been placed in a game with a lot of good story topics, well-designed story, and interesting suspense, but have been deprived of one of the most important aspects of gaming: good gameplay. You need to think about testing your combat when you create databases, combat systems, enemies, etc. and not just pile together a bunch of random encounters without thought of how strong your characters really are. Testing is key here. But other than that, the atmosphere is grand, the story is deep and interesting, and this has a lot of potential.
I look forward to trying your future games.
Thank you! I loved your review and I agree on all accounts! This was my FIRST game ever made with RPGmaker VX. And I was only testing the program on the 30 day trial. Soooo therefore I didn't really have the chance to test the game to the extent that I desired to. That is also why I used the dungeon generator as well as the pre-made encounters. Personally, had I owned the program at the time, would have created a much better system and fully tested it. I also dislike the way the dungeons looked. The dungeons would have been much more elaborate had I had the time. I am glad the story was sufficient but am aware the characters (Especially Karie) were not explored. I would have delved much deeper had I had the time. So it seems the main issue is a lack of time and a lack of attention to ALL the little details. So after I get the full version of the program my games will be much more complete and not so thrown together. This indeed was a quick throw together game. Once again I'm thankful for your review and will strongly consider your comments and criticism as I work on my next game. so hopefully I can create a more fulfilling experience next time! Thanks!
No problemo. Because that's what separates the amateur games from professional games: polish. The little details are usually the things that count the most, and if you continue this game in the future, fine-tuning the mechanics, then I bet that you can make a legendary game. Cheers NCP.