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A Sometimes Enjoyable RPG Romp with ALL the Side Quests!

The Chronicles of Engea is a RM2K game made by Hereisnowhy, and follows the story of Joel, an aspiring priest. The central plot of the game details the appearance of a new breed of seemingly sentient oak trees who are bent on death and destruction, and seemingly immune to emotion, only following the commands and wishes of their leader. Attempting to avoid any sort of spoileryness (because the story is actually interesting, imagine that), I will lie bare all the juicy innards of this game.

One of the first things I noticed about this game was the sidequests. Sidequests sidequests sidequests, as far as the eye can see. Eventually I stopped doing them just so I could advance the story, but I LOVE the fact that there are so many. If I was playing the game without the intent of a review (and I probably will), then I'm not sure how long it would have taken me to actually do something productive.
At the beginning of the game you are presented with 9 different character archetypes that you can choose to give a little customization to the character. Each will change your stats to allow you to play in the style you choose to play in, and this is certainly a plus, but it is followed up by there being no change to the gameplay, which I thought was slightly odd. I was at least hoping for a slight visual change between the "Lumbering Brute" and the purely agility based choices, but there is none.
In the early stages of the game, I found myself dying often and quickly, often for reasons completely out of my control. The first time I got sleep locked by a tree using a sleep spell that ALSO did a decent amount of damage, and I could do little other than sit and watch my inevitable doom. Another time, in a fight against a Mimic, one party member was knocked out in a single hit and then the remaining member was blinded into uselessness. This could probably be ironed out by changing the frequency of certain powers and fine tuning of said powers, but I found moments like the frustrating and much more prominent than I would have assumed in a game that was otherwise balanced.
Another minor gripe that turned into an odd glitch involved picking up party members in the beginning of the game. My guess is that the author assumed that the player would talk to everyone he came across, because when I neglected to talk to a female outside the first building you come across outside the tutorial the games dialogue suddenly stated having conversations between people who weren't there. Example: After a short boat ride to Terror Island, there was a short conversation between a female and a male, and I found that this conversation took place regardless of whether they were in your party or not. Missing picking those two up also lead to my first death in the game, so there is that.
This game features a well done/day night effect that adds a sense of realism and immersion to the world, which is wonderful, and the game world is very well developed, which helps further draw you into the game.

Summary: The gameplay is fun and immersive, save for some minor (possibly game breaking) issues. A bit of polishing here to pick up the bugs will help push this particular area to greatness.

Gameplay Score: 4/5

The music and sound effects in the game are strictly RTP, but fit well with the look of the game to provide a classic RPG feel to the game. While the music does fit and do its job, it is by no means perfect and I feel that, if the author had just reached out find more suitable sounds and music, it could have been much better.
The only bug I found with the music/sound effects occured during the tutorial when you battle your first Oak Tree. There is a slight build up when the screen transitions to the battle scene, but the music goes back to the downtoned score that had been playing before the fight took place, which really killed the mood for that first combat.

Summary: RTP choices kept this catagory in the realm of mediocrity, but keep it out of the realm of poor 3rd party choices.

Music/Atmosphere Score: 3/5

This was another aspect of the game that I thought was very well done. During many conversations you have with NPCs, you will be given choices between different dialogue options. Now, whether these choices have any long-term consequences or if the story that developed for me was the only option I can't be sure, but I enjoyed being able to develop my character, at least in my own head, and some of the options did incite short term changes in the game.
NPC dialogue is well written, and the many dialogue trees are well developed. I can't help but think the "Priest in Training" motif for the main character undermines the author's attempts at allowing for player customization, but this doesn't stop the games story and characters from being individuals that you will in time get to know.

Summary: Good dialogue and a well developed story allow the player to immerse himself in the game world and really enjoy the time he spends playing the game. Slightly more memorable characters would have rounded this category out nicely and made for a very memorable experience, but as it stands this games writing is very solid.

Writing Summary: 3.5/5

And now we come to the section that I have been dreading, as it is the one stain on this otherwise well-crafted game. As far as I could tell, all of the chips in this game are from the RTP, which isn't a big surprise seeing as everything else is too, but this seemed to lead to maps that had very little decorations to work with. The maps in Engea seemed to be improperly sized at every turn. Inner maps were large and undecorated, while many outer maps were small and hard to figure out. One of my biggest issues seems rather simple, but really bugged the hell outta me, and that was that there was only one block on the side of an outside map that you were supposed to exit from, and all of the other blocks did nothing. This led to several occasions of me running up and down the side of the map looking for the correct block to hit to actual move me to the next map.
On the plus side, the overall organization of the map-to-map layout was well done and I never once got confused about where I was or where I was going, and this was slightly aided by the very well done world map item that your character has from the very beginning of the game.

Summary: Poorly crafted maps and sometimes hard to figure out exits make navigating Engea a sometimes frustrating proposition. The glaring flaws overshadow the few upsides, and lead to an underwhelming visual presentation.

Mapping Score: 2/5

Constructive Criticisms:
- Look at other games and see how they lay out their inner and outer maps. Work on making the maps in your game believable in their presentation.
- Take care of some of the bugs in the game. While not gamebreaking on their own, combined they can make the game unplayable.
- In regards to the day/night cycle. Try to implement some sort of lighting for indoor maps when it is dark. That would make things look much better and add to the realism.


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Thanks for the review! I will admit that mapping has never been my forte. I probably need to redo all of the interior maps to make sure they make some kind of sense. Anyway, a lot of the issues you brought up should be fairly easy for me to fix! If you could make some edits to this review once a new version is out, that would be much appreciated. Thanks again for the constructive criticism. The game still has a long way to go, so hopefully most of the flaws will be ironed out by the time I get to a full release.
No problem friend, and I would be happy to take a look at the game when you put out a new version. I feel that with some little tweaks here and there this game could be great!
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