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This would do better as a novel.

  • Caz
  • 07/14/2012 02:01 PM
At the beginning of Golden Ark, you are immediately drowned in a wall of text regarding events prior to the game: something about a magical sword and some princess. I found that my brain immediately switched off at this, and I don't think I really got the desired effect that the author wanted because, as you might be able to tell, the only words I remembered were "sword" and "princess". I think this should've been taken a lot more slowly, perhaps with a bit of gameplay surrounding what happened with the princess and calmly explaining the events leading up to the game's beginning. This would've helped me to remember a lot more of what had happened, rather than having to read it all.

Anyway, I was put into an actual cutscene after this which was slightly convoluted. From what I could gather, the princess had escaped from her cell and was mad because no one believed that she didn't kill her parents. She cemented her feelings on this outrageous claim by.. killing guards..?

"Don't accuse me of murder or I'll kill you!"

Well, after that I was released onto the world to try and escape from wherever I was. I ran into some guards who I had to slaughter and was thrown headfirst into the battle system. The graphics were okay here and I think they fit the style decently, but I'm just happy the effort was made to change things up. I was also pleasantly surprised that my character had skills (I still don't know her name), and that these skills looked to be the ones she had used outside of combat! I'm impressed by the consistency here, and I hope it keeps up. I was finding the windowskin a bit dark however, and it made it difficult to see which selection I was making.

The facesets were mixed up a bit, too. The soldiers showed their full-body sprites, whereas the main character and a few other people had mugshots of their faces displayed when they spoke. I think this really made it difficult to think each of the soldiers had their own personality, and I kind of felt that they really were just cannon fodder. I began to dread seeing their faces because I knew a battle was coming up.

The maps were a bit strange, and the graphics didn't really fit together without a noticeable change in artistic style. They weren't obnoxiously different, but they weren't something I found pleasant to look at. They felt quite blurred, with the occasional feeling of dirtiness amongst the tiles, as if they tried to be detailed or three-dimensional but fell flat on their faces, so to speak. The mapping itself was okay though, and I think the chipsets were used appropriately. But as is always the case with those graphics, they just feel too dark or without flavour. Nothing really pops out which looks very wowing or makes you want to stay in that area a bit longer.

The music was taken from a variety of sources, some of which I could name immediately from games and anime. The trouble was that some of them sounded to be crisp MP3s, whereas others still sounded like MIDIs. They clashed quite badly, and the music changed on pretty much every map. There was no consistent theme with the music, and I felt it didn't really convey where I was.

As for the story, there were times where I felt it was difficult to understand the character's aims or motives, or any emotions that she felt towards what she was doing. She seemed pretty happy to slaughter the royal guards, but I'm not sure that was the effect I was meant to interpret from her actions.

There was a point in the game where a bunch of guards appeared (probably about 10 of them), and they all appeared slowly, one by one, taking up a lot of precious time. After that, I was teleported away without much explanation other than that my character had some special stones or something. I felt this jumped around too much, and it wasn't really clear what was happening. The soldiers were merged together and I was thrown into a boss fight where I was forced to use the numerous items I had gotten from before, one of which being a 'Phoenix Tear' which apparently healed all wounds. However when I used it, I only recovered about 200HP which was sort of pathetic when you consider how much damage the boss did to me.

The story from here on got a little bit cliché, with villages burning down and being "the chosen one" and having relatives captured by evil people who want to take over the world for no real reason and, of course, wanting to join rebellions to avenge home towns.. Oh, and there's the slightest possibility that the main character's sister might just be imprisoned somewhere, but about two seconds later everyone talks about her like she's dead.

The game jumped around quite a lot, being teleported from here to there. There were no places to really explore at all, and it was just a case of being on one map, talking to someone, fighting a boss battle and being teleported to the next, rinse and repeat. In all it was a short game which was heavily story-based, and yet the storyline was laid on far too thickly and given no time to settle in. Things were explained in too much detail and it made it difficult to follow exactly what was going on. I'm not going to give this game a rating because I'm really not so sure what to think about it, but I hope the things I've mentioned here are fixed or are at least taken by the author and used to improve future games.


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I just realized that I just can't nail this sort of a classic stroyline, back to the dark, adult storylines, then.
Also, when it comes to emotions, all my games have been losing it at that.
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