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A sequel that's....not a sequel?

~Eternal Paradise~
A review by Linkforce

Okay, let me begin by just saying this: I feel like I have just played the sequel to a previous game! From the moment I began playing until the moment I stopped, I felt like there was a very large, large, large amount of background information, story, character history, and relationships that I should have known about. The very first few sentences of dialogue were written as if I already knew who these people were and......I'll just get into the review, it'll better show how I felt about the game.

STORY: 4.5/10
So from what I can gather, the four main characters are seeking revenge on Ephiam because.....umm....i don't know. He messed up with their past or something like that? I don't know! I feel like there was so much backstory that wasn't told so it made everyone's motives meaningless. This brings me back to what I said about this game feeling like a sequel. I feel like there was a game before this that told the stories of Andrew, Alexander, Maria, and Laura. But there isn't. I was just thrown into the game with all the characters knowing who they were, where they were, why they were there, and what was going on. The game characters knew everything...I knew nothing. I think this was a major flaw in a story that seemed like it had a history...but ultimately failed to deliver.

I don't know what it is...but none of these characters seemed real. I think it was mainly the way they talked. They said things like "Shit" and "Bahaha" completely out of context and often sporadically. The game had a medieval theme to it and they were talking like they were kids in 2010. And speaking of kids, they all acted rather childishly. I don't know what their ages were but it seemed like they were in their 15's, but I know I'm wrong on that. Overall, I didn't much care for these characters, but not because I didn't give them a chance or read what they were saying! I simply knew nothing about them and had no way to relate to them in any way. They were simply...there.

Well there weren't really any systems implemented in this game, as far as battles go. The dark cave effect used was clever, but it was used too early and too often, especially right at the beginning of the game. Battles were standard and didn't drag on for too long. I liked that magic replenished a little every turn, it took the need out of constantly using ethers to replenish MP. I also liked that the monsters were on screen and there were no random battles, but boy were there a lot of them! Especially in the dark cave where I could barely even see where I was walking, I was constantly trying to avoid them, just cause there were so many! Also, those people/ghosts that sold you armor and weapons? Waaaaaaay too much variety waaaaaaay too early on, at least for me. I understand you wanted the player to customize their characters to their liking, but there were just way to many weapons and armor to choose from, it took the fun out of buying anything, at least for me. And each had specific stats, and I really didn't feel like mixing and matching, especially when I didn't even know what was going on with the game. For me, I think it was too much variety way too early on. And in all honesty, I defeated enemies with ease, and I didn't buy a thing.

GRAPHICS: 6.5/10
The maps in this game were actually alright. The cave (from what I could see) had a bunch of tunnels and had a true cave-like vibe to it. The island was detailed as well and the backdrops you used were used correctly. There was nothing spectacular here, it was all your standard mapping. The sprites were...funky. They were big and bulky, and unlike any sprites I've ever seen in an rm2k3 game. But you had some poses here and there and it was alright. There's not much else to say here, because there weren't too many different locations. When you tried to simulate other places, you just went to a black screen. This works, but only sometimes, and during specific scenes, not fleshed out conversations. I think you had good intentions with using the black screen/white text but you abused it and made the texts too long. I was sooo tempted to skip the conversations, but I'm not that kind of player so I endured it all. Might I suggest you actually map out cutscenes, it would really add another layer of storytelling for the game.

MUSIC: 7/10
This was probably your strongest point. I really liked the victory music, i don't know why. It just popped for me. The rest of the music library stemmed from various RPG games on various systems. For the most part they all worked and fit each scene appropriately. None of the music really moved me though, that's why I'm giving this section a 7. It was just average music.

To be 100% fair, I didn't get very far in the game. I stopped at Chimera II because it was extremely difficult and in all honesty I didn't have the patience to train up and beat it, because I don't think I would have gained any satisfaction by continuing on. I checked out the rest of the maps that were coming up...from what I can tell there are no towns. No NPC's, no exploring, no world map, no...anything! This begs the question, is this supposed to be an RPG? Or perhaps a demo of an RPG? Or maybe you were going for a story-like experience and this was a small chapter of it? I don't know but whatever you were going for, it's not for me. But please! Don't take this personally, I, in no way, are bashing your creativity or your game making skills and the like. I'm sure you put a lot of work into it and I respect that much. But overall, as a player that went into this knowing nothing, as most gamers are, it just wasn't for me. For everything I have said above and up until now, I just didn't enjoy it. But hey, I'm just one guy. One player. If everyone else likes it, I guess my opinion doesn't matter. Again, don't take this personally! This was my personal review from my experience with this game.


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I still wish there was a system to it. I know that it's all subjective but adding a scoring system makes something objective. I think that IGN takes user reviews into account which is why the website can give a game a perfect score in all categories but still gives a less than perfect score overall. This may not matter to some people but I think that it's a bit wishy washy to say one thing and then do another. It's like punching someone in the face in the middle of a conversation.
So it may seem that some people, including myself, are bashing reviews for giving low scores. This is not what's happening. I'm complaining about people who seem to actively WANT TO DISLIKE the games they play, and try hard to spot flaws that shouldn't really annoy them that much, and then list them extensively on reviews that don't really help the creator of the game that much. I apologize for my assumptions regarding Linkforce's motives behind this review, but essentially that doesn't change the whole point.

So since some people are having a problem with understanding my concept of "pointless negativity", here goes my negative review of a negative review:

Story 4.5/10
Linkforce says that he dislikes the story because the motives behind the desire for revenge are not explained. Playing a revenge game not knowing why the main characters are seeking revenge is indeed a huge flaw. I'll ask Ephiam to clear this issue, because I do not believe their motives were completely unclear like that. Also, if that was the only thing to be said about the story, it should have been a 0/10, not a 4.5. But if it's 4.5, there should be at least a handful of satisfying or even good stuff too. I mean, there's more to a revenge story then the revenge itself, right? There are things going on. Were they mentioned on the review? No. Not slightly.

Characters 4/10
This very section starts like: "I don't know what it is..." when trying to explain the low score. And then he uses arguments like "the kids acted rather childish". Again, if it were that bad, it should be a 0/10, not 4/10. Maybe there was something good about them. Were they different from each other in any way? Did they ever say anything fun at all, amongst those "shit" and "bahaha"? Was there any interesting moment, or appealing NPC at any point? Not mentioned.

Gameplay 5/10
Considering the good/bad ratio in this section, I'd expect a much higher score. I mean, variety of weapons when the game doesn't force you to own too much stuff isn't really a problem. And I think it is curious that you said you never upgraded your equipment and the game was too easy, but then you said you quit because of a difficult battle. Maybe you should have upgraded your equipment?

Graphics 6.5/10
This is the closest the review gets to complimenting so far by saying "maps were alright, it was all your standard mapping". But then the second half of the paragraph are complaints about the overuse of black/white screens, which isn't really a graphical issue.

"This was probably your strongest point". And then "I really liked the victory music, it just popped for me.". And then "None of the music really moved me though, that's why I'm giving this section a 7. It was just average music.". Welp.

Final Word:
"Is this supposed to be an RPG?"

Oh, and just to make it clear that Linkforce isn't trying to be mean:

"But please! Don't take this personally."


Now please, tell me: am I the only one feeling that this review is actively trying to make the game look worse than it actually is? If so, I'll stop this "let's try to be positive about the games we play" movement right now.

I'm not picking on this review because, like I mentioned, I believe this is part of a trend. But not a good one. And reasonable measure of how good a review is should be the reaction of the guy who made the game. In this particular case, Ephiam was elegant by just saying "each one is entitled to their own opinion". But in some other reviews like that, the reaction you get is "Whoa, what? Two stars????". And just like you'll restraining yourself from enjoying a game you decide to hate, you won't learn much from a review that hates you. You won't take it as seriously, or at least as carefully.

Finally, I'm not against reviews which don't use an average score as the final score. Maybe you have no huge complaints about specific aspects of the game, but you dislike the game in general. Maybe you give it a low overall score, but "you don't know what it is...". Just maybe.
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
Did you just review someone's review?
It would appear so....can he submit that? :D
Lol, what's wrong with that? If a reviewer can scrutinize a game-- why shouldn't someone else be allowed to post their opinions on the review itself (good or bad)? No one threatened the reviewer to change it, so they should be allowed to give their opinions, or even ask questions. Besides, I could have sworn there was a comment area for a reason. ;)
Calunio, you're my new hero.
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
Oh, there's nothing wrong with it per se, it's just kind of... hard to wrap my head around...
Their motives become clear roughly half-way in. The story is told in a sort of "In Medias Res" style, so it begins it in the middle, and then explains everything else (such as the past) through character dialogue and the like.

Or as wiki would put it:

"In medias res or medias in res (into the middle of affairs) is a Latin phrase denoting the literary and artistic narrative technique wherein the relation of a story begins either at the mid-point or at the conclusion, rather than at the beginning (cf. ab ovo, ab initio), establishing setting, character, and conflict via flashback and expository conversations relating the pertinent past."

Anyway, I'm liking this little discussion that's going on here. It gives me something to check in on every now-and-then. =B
Seems like this review needs to be "purged".
I'm a dog pirate
I'm agreeing with Strangeluv. You need to play an entire game before you review it.
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
I'm agreeing with Strangeluv. You need to play an entire game before you review it.
Not so! You just need to be more clear on why you quit. Look up some of Prickroad's later reviews for how to do this properly.
I'm a dog pirate
In that case, a general rule of thumb should be to not attach a star rating or section ratings. People look for the bottom line, especially in this "time crunch" society, and they will usually assume the boiled-down, bottom-line rating applies for the whole rather than a part. For all you know, the story could take off like a rocket or slow down like a snail. Same with gameplay, graphics, etc.

Ratings are meant for the whole picture. Imagine if the USDA graded meat based off half of the carcass. I know that's an extreme sample, but the concept applies -- we rate the entire package, and offer feedback on specific parts.
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
Well if the game drives you to quit with a horribly tedious dungeon or, more likely a game-ending error, then reviewing a game without finishing it is justified - that's likely what the players will be done of it as well. That's what I'm referring to. If a game doesn't hold your attention after the first five minutes, then why are you reviewing it?

E: To use your USDA example, if half of the carcass is removed from the end product, would it make sense to grade the entire carcass, or only the half that will reach consumers?
I'm a dog pirate
Well if the game drives you to quit with a horribly tedious dungeon or, more likely a game-ending error, then reviewing a game without finishing it is justified - that's likely what the players will be done of it as well. That's what I'm referring to. If a game doesn't hold your attention after the first five minutes, then why are you reviewing it?

E: To use your USDA example, if half of the carcass is removed from the end product, would it make sense to grade the entire carcass, or only the half that will reach consumers?

That extreme example is definitely a good point; even the hardest of hardcore fans of dragon quest can tolerate only so much. I'm talking more about the people who quit because they just weren't into it or had other things to do, or people who review half of an inconsistent game just so they can move on to the next one (hence the beef example).
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
Exactly. That would be doing it improperly. I am just saying it can be done well!
Is this really worth getting upset over?

In all honesty, I find this attitude disturbing. You guys are creating a movement where a reviewer who gives an unpopular score can be shouted down and pressured into changing their score by the masses, where no review below some arbitrary star rating can be taken in good faith. This is an extremely dangerous precedent because it creates an atmosphere where a reviewer won't feel comfortable giving an honest review.

What's wrong with a review that uses an independent score at the end despite having scored sub-sections?

IGN is a pretty massive example of the above scoring system. Their final scores are not averages. If a game had perfect graphics, perfect music, perfect story and characters, but completely broken gameplay, would it deserve a 75% or 3+ stars? I want to avoid that argument about what's most important in a game, but at least you can see what I'm getting at; the categories don't necessarily carry equal weight, and it's probably different from person to person.

I think Soli's right. Scrutinize reviewers for giving scores they thought a game deserved, and we stop getting reviews that are useful, or any at all. The best retaliation you can give to a review you disagree with is to write one of your own.

You're both missing the point. At least as far as my opinion on the subject goes.

First of all, I'm a reviewer myself. Why would I actively create an environment where people are discouraged from reviewing?

Second, people can give negative reviews until the cows come home as far as I'm concerned. I've given a few out myself, so to accuse me of being bothered by them is fairly silly.

Third, I've never played this game and so have no opinion on the "accuracy" (for want of a better word) of the score given here.

What actually bothers me is the quality of the review (thanks Calunio, you saved me a lot of effort). Partly because sectioned reviews are bullshit in principle, partly because the text doesn't match the scores (nor is it internally consistent) and especially because the section scores are ignored at the end anyway. I mean, what's the point? Why use them in the first place if you're just going to ignore them? It's the exact reason I stopped using them and the only reason I haven't deleted all my reviews in said format yet is because people asked me not to.

Aside: IGN has scored sections AT THE END of the review and they are always put into context. Using that scoring format for your WHOLE review is juvenile at best and pointless at worst.
I just re-read all of this, and it brought back memories of when I first released the completed version of this game (before I removed it, and remade it once again into its complete and final version that is currently hosted). I'm still surprised that this review spurred so many comments and drew as much attention as it did! Wowza.
I'm fairly certain this game has ruined my life, and possibly yours.
Well once you play and utterly complete something as much as you have, it tends to do that. 9~ times is a tad too much for an RM game. Lol.
7-8 actually, and a half maybe. Who is even keeping score at this point? Besides both of us, and the voices inside my liver. What?
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