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A World Immersion Like I Never Felt Before

  • jaydee15
  • 11/30/2014 10:20 PM
  • 1749 views
PREFACE:
Because what was published in the Demo was primarily focused on the introduction, my critique/review will be based on what was given as far. And I will also try to reveal as less as possible to avoid spoiling a lot of plot points as possible. With that said, this review will focus on five main aspects I consider the most important: Setting/Plot, Music/Score, Visual Display/Appeal, Gameplay, and my Overall Experience. Let's start!

SETTING/PLOT:
From the beginning, the player can already immerse him/herself into the world of LINUS. It is dark and gritty; and it rains water and blood. Fear of death by swords and diseases overrule the hearts and minds of the Pale King's army, as they wage war with the House of Lunet. The atmosphere is greatly portrayed and could be felt, through dialogues and visually. The player can feel the despair and turmoil of each and every soldier with whom s/he interacts. There was, as far as I could tell, little place for humor (so it is not well-suited for children) and demands a good deal of maturity, patience, and understanding to comprehend the concept that is discussed in the story: war is not a game!

The Demo builds up its events a little slowly for my taste, but it doesn't remove too much of my enjoyment. In all honesty, the pace was great for the type of story this game delivers: it introduces the player to the characters the player will control, then places him/her within the current context very quickly, then slowly builds the tension to a climax one would have not expected--at least, I didn't.

But what I liked the most was the political plays and personal selfish agendas every character had within this Demo. It was well-portrayed and greatly written. I always felt curious about the Leaders' and soldiers' inner motives: some sought glory, others to return home/run away from the war at all cost, others sought to defend what was precious to them in any way they could, etc. None of the characters felt like empty shells, in that sense. Kudos on that, for these are some of the primary and valid motives one would have in a war...

I also found it interesting that each and every character in the game, even the NPCs, felt like people, each with a story, a background, and a personality. I cannot say that any of them felt bland. I also noticed that, through every interaction, I would constantly think "It's the last time I see you anyway." I felt connected, with some more than others...

The ending did move me a lot to a point where I was thinking about it and what I expect and hope to see subsequently, when I went to bed. Wow...

MUSIC/SCORE:
It seems to me that the Director carefully chose each and every song to capture the mood of each scene. None of them seemed to have a fast pace, as they made sure the player could captivate the seriousness of each note played--except, of course, for the Battle Theme--and truly immerse him/herself into the current situation. Alas, little can I add to this particular section...

VISUAL DISPLAY/APPEAL:
Most of the Demo partakes within a forested and mountainous area: logical for strategical purposes, especially for guerilla tactics... Each map that were displayed felt real and organic.

From an artistic perspective, the colors and tones used matched well. Cold colors (primarily hues of greens and blues) captured the coldness of the weather and the lush of the forests and grass (life, in other words), while the subtle oranges captured the dying hope of the kindled campfire (which could also be interpreted as the hearts of the dying soldiers). Furthermore, all of these colors were slightly de-saturated to add to the grittiness of the story, as well as to capture the ever-present storm that looms about. It is strange how these colors complement each other (blue to orange, green to red, purple to yellow, etc.).

GAMEPLAY:
I greatly appreciate the fact that the difficulty curve did not sky-rocket. The enemies were neither too easy nor too hard. Every fight was consistent (even the Boss fight, which I almost stressed about, because I wasn't expecting it to happen so early).

The only problem I had (if one can truly consider it a problem) is that strategy was only required for a few fights: the most important ones. But, because anyone could KO the party members at any time, the player has to constantly watch over his/her health, so that the enemies don't kill anyone by surprise. It was a good way to balance everything out. But when I had to strategize, especially with limited resources, I was kept at the edge of my seat, hoping no to die and having to restart all over (I seldom save...).

As far as technicality goes, I cannot say whether or not there were any bugs, for I was much more focused on the story...

OVERALL:
I can declare that it is a game to play--for serious gamers. If one expects to find comedy or a "light of hope", better turn away from it now (not to discourage the curious gamers, though). I can tell, from that experience, that it will only get darker.

The game truly feels like a novel, and the Demo felt like a chapter. I cannot wait to see what the Director has in stock, what surprises he intends to reveal in his own time. I hope to experience more of the lore and history of this world, so that my immersion within it stays constant--if not more.

Posts

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Wow, jaydee. Where on earth have you been?
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
Appreciate the notes on the battles, m8. Happy to see this (continue) getting stellar reviews. Personally, I've been quite remiss in playing the latest build m'self, but I'm looking to correct that before long.
@Yuna21:
I've been busy with my studies at the university. I missed you, AK47, and BluePeriod a lot, though. How have you been? :) I saw that you finished Enelysion? (Let's carry the convo elsewhere, though.. hehehe)

@Max_McGee:
You won't be disappointed in that Demo. I'm a harsh critique, and I was swept off my feet. LINUS is a great teaser for a well-fleshed story and world. :)
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
@Max_McGee:
You won't be disappointed in that Demo. I'm a harsh critique, and I was swept off my feet. LINUS is a great teaser for a well-fleshed story and world. :)


Important clarification: I am the battle gameplay designer for LINUS. That should be on the game page and rather hard to miss.
Thanks for the review, Jaydee! I do agree with you that the story takes a while to get going in the prologue, but I felt it was necessary to slow things down a bit in order to give the scenario the weight that it needed. I'm also glad that you took note of the aesthetics, since I put quite a lot of effort into giving the world a certain feel and emotion. Too much time, I could say. :p

In any case, thanks for the feedback and for taking the time to download and play through the game!
@Max_McGee:
Oh!! Sorry about that! I should have known: the name sounded familiar. LOL! The Battle System was good. The difficulty curve was balanced in my opinion. I did mention the following: "The only problem I had (if one can truly consider it a problem) is that strategy was only required for a few fights: the most important ones. But, because anyone could KO the party members at any time, the player has to constantly watch over his/her health, so that the enemies don't kill anyone by surprise." But, really, the following statement summarizes my thoughts: "It was a good way to balance everything out. But when I had to strategize, especially with limited resources, I was kept at the edge of my seat, hoping no to die and having to restart all over."

Meaning that, certain fights, you do have to brush through to get back to the story as soon as you could; but when you have to strategize, it's because you know it's an important fight and it will advance the plot. It's not really a complaint, but my not well-formulated idea either. Just saying. :)

@BluePeriod:
I can tell you put a LOT of effort in your story. It'd be great if it turns out to be a novel to be read at some point too. Maybe prequels to LINUS, or sequels? Or even side-stories? I don't know. LOL! :)
Ha ha. Actually, now that you mention it, I have tons and tons of ideas for other stories that take place in this world. House Milhaven, Linus' family, has existed for hundreds of years and several of the members of the clan have lived... interesting lives. At some point, I do want to create a game based on Grace Milhaven, Linus' ancestor who founded the Etonmarch School. She has a pretty amazing story which I think would make for a great prequel. So yeah, maybe look out for a project called GRACE in a few years (hopefully on a bad ass 3D engine :p).

Oooh, can't wait for that, bp. :D And what's with the new DL?
Oh it's not a big deal, really. Some people were having trouble with the last download link (mediafire is blocking files that contain copyrighted music, it seems) so I'm hosting the demo on RMN now. :)
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