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Dude Looks Like A Lady

  • Addit
  • 02/04/2014 11:42 PM

A Game Made By: yuna21
Created Using: RPG Maker VX
It's A: RPG Game
That Roughly Takes Around: 3 - 5 Hours To Complete
And It's A... DEMO VERSION!!!

(As of December 8th, 2013)

It’s no secret that I’m a preverbal sucker when it comes to gorgeous looking games, secretly wishing that I could one day harness this scared technique for my very own. But, alas, I guess I’m just stuck with the ridiculous writing talent that can only take you so far. Curse these feeble hands!

And although shiny rainbow graphics aren’t everything in today’s fine world of gaming, especially indie games, it DOES certainly help when trying to draw in a crowd, and it’s probably with that shallow reasoning alone that I was immediately attracted to this game upon its birth of its own creation. There’s just something about this game that just said to me, “Play this game, mutherf***ker. Play this game right now.” So then I just replied in saying back, “Oh, I’ll play your game, alright. I’ll play it until both of my thumbs fall off.”

…And then I got lazy and waited until all this time to FINALLY try out the demo for The Lady Of The Lion…or was it Tristan: Lady Of The Lion…or was it Eridamus: The First War? Hoo boy…

Despite the confusing identity crisis, yuna21 has definitely been working really hard on this game along with the second volume for her other major franchise, Enelysion Volume. 2. It’s almost like we’re getting daily updates almost all the time on both of these projects. And we’re talking about HUGE updates, not just some useless update to say that they added a jar in front of a doorway; we’re talking about HUGE updates here. I would have to say that if yuna21 and UPRC ever had to work on a game together the latest blog update section would go crazy.

But enough rambling aside – we have a demo to play! It’s been a while since I’ve played a demo for something, since Reincarnation ~ Dawn Of War ~. And if that sort of experience can translate over here – oh, ho, I think we got something!

- Let’s go protect a princess, and stuff!

The Story

Tristian is one bad ass du…er, lady!

When it comes to opening sequences, it just can’t get any better than this!

After being surprised attacked which resulted in the deaths of the king and queen of the kingdom of Genoan by the forces of the neighbouring country of Valthrone, Lady Liangale, or, as she is often known as, The Eagle Eyed Lady Lingale (hoo, that’s long), Tristian, is fleeing for her and Princess Ianna’s life by getting her to a safe place to protect her from the Valthronian troops, seeing that Tristian has been entrusted as the royal accomplice to watch over her. After managing to escape through the woods and into the sanctuary known as Connaught, Lord Dante offers refuge for the two until morning when certain matters can be cleared up. But just as Princess Ianna and Tristian are talking during the night on the altar of Connaught’s castle, they are soon attacked by a group of black hooded warlocks known as the Ebony’s Hand, which handles in the deadly elder arts (magic). Lord Dante soon finds the pair up on the roof and assists them in the fight to keep the princess safe. The battle goes well until Tristian is hit with deadly elder magic which weakens her severely, causing her to drop to her feet and throbbing in horrible pain.

When Tristian awakens the next day from the battle, she tells the Lord of Connaught and Princess Ianna that the magic that has pierced through her body is slowly weakening her and that she will die very soon unless there is a way to treat it. But time is not on her side as Lord Dante knows that more of Valthrone’s forces will come for them if they remain idle. Since Tristian isn’t in the best position to get the princess to safety due to her current condition, Lord Dante decides to come along with the pair as they journey to the west in hoping to find a way in protecting the princess from being captured and, perhaps, finding a way to stand a chance against the Ebony’s Hand.

But just what dark sinister plans do the forces of Valthrone want with Princess Ianna, and why go to such brutal lengths just to capture her? Who exactly is the puppetmaster pulling the strings behind the Ebony’s Hand? Can Tristian protect the princess from falling into the wrong hands and dooming all of Eridamus to an unknown, shadowy fate? Well, that why we’re here.

If you want a story that will grab you by the gonads during the first 20 minutes of the game and never let go – this is how you get the job done, peoples! The opening sequence that follows Tristian as her entire army, the Silver Order, is entirely wiped out, from the kingdom that she has sworn to protect engulfed in ashes, and now with a magical curse that is going to kill her within a year – this woman has gone through an awful amount in just a short matter of time! So much has happened that it’s amazing to see Tristian still put on a brave face and shrug it off like it’s no big deal. Now that’s a solider!

You know, the whole opening sequence, the stuff that happens to Tristian, reminds me a lot of what Cecil from Final Fantasy IV had to go through in the beginning of the game when he was ordered to capture all those crystals, killed all those civilians that got in his way, was stripped from his rank and eventually was duped along with his best friend to destroy, yet, ANOTHER village, this is almost on the same level as that. And I’m glad that yuna21 made such a powerful starting entrance within the first few minutes of the game. Many RPG storylines usually take a while for it to get even remotely interesting, but this game did it within in the first couple of minutes. Way to go!

Unfortunately though, from the rest of the demo’s perspective, the rest of the game just doesn’t seem to quite match the same level of intensity and enthusiasm as the opening sequence did. Oh, sure, there were definitely some signs of life with the plot moving forward in a few cases, especially when you first meet General Cannus, but the rest of the demo, unfortunately, just felt like it was filler to me that it was a bit of a letdown. Hell, even this world, this wonderful amazingly deep world that had so much charm to it really wasn’t explained as much in detail throughout the demo and I kind of wanted to find out more about it.

From what I played, the entire buildup of The Lady Of The Lion almost reminds me when I first played The Legend Of Dragoon for the original Playstation all those years ago. It had a fantastic opening chapter that just glued me to the edge of my seat only to have that same reaction slowly disappear as the other chapters ensued onwards. This is more evident when in the second chapter you end up switching to Darcy after an event forces you to switch from Tristian’s perspective. Although Darcy is still a very likeable character, she just seems like the typical, bumbling lighthearted thief that I’ve seen so many times before in most RPG’s. The rest of the characters that join your team don’t fill the role any better, as they’re your typical standard cut and paste sort of personalities and traits. Although the villains behind the scenes may be a bit typical for a game like this, the whole mystery surrounding their whole scheme in capturing the princess makes them all extremely worthwhile, especially General Cannus, who I believe will play a lot more of a stronger role in the future as this game goes farther into development, and that’s a good thing.

The overall plot is intriguing, but that’s mainly because of such an amazing opening sequence. You’ll slog through the rest of the chapters, hoping for a glimpse of that very same excitement, only to find that there just isn’t that much there to grasp on. Again, it’s not a bad start to kick off The Lady Of The Lion, but I would like to see a lot more from this story told in the future installments.

The Gameplay

Tristian: “Never once have I missed my…oops!”

I found that the overall gameplay department was a bit more of a displeasurement more than anything else compared to the rest of the positive elements found in the game. With all the promising features that this game claims to have, it’s quite upsetting to see that most of these are underutilized or not even explained at all to help the player get a better understanding for it.

First off, the pacing for this game is PAINFULLY slow at times. Dialogue sequences seem a bit too drawn out, and the sluggish text speed doesn’t seem to help things either. If this could get sped up a bit, then it would be more slightly tolerable. I also found a ton of glitches and map passability errors that hindered my experience a lot. For example, the first ability scroll that you get in the game I gave it to Tristian only to find out that after the sequence when talking to Dante and fighting the Ebony Hand that the scroll mysterious disappears for some reason. Also, that’s not all; whenever you go into the High Temple western hallway, the running mechanism has been disabled for some odd reason. And before a battle with the Ebony Hand again when Trabant joins up with Trisitan to take them down, resting up in the guest quarters before the battle starts doesn’t seem to heal anybody in the party. And that’s not all; in Fado’s Manor, knocking out certain guards may leave you permanently stuck in a hallway forcing you to reset your game as you can’t step over them in order to proceed. If you ended up saving your game before coming across this glitch, since you can save anywhere, you’re pretty much screwed and have to start ALL over again. I can tolerate a few stupid hiccups here or there, but as more of these start to pile on the more the game progresses, they become a huge nuisance.

The battle system is a bit of the traditional front end variety, but it does feature touch based encounters and no random encounters on the world map, so I guess that’s a pretty nice touch. Battles require a lot of experimenting and precision as you don’t get a lot of statistical upgrades as you level up or acquire new items, so every single stat counts. There’s a ton of different weapons and armor to find and buy, but some of these enemies are completely immune or take little to no damage with some of your weapons and attacks. This can definitely make the game a bit frustrating at times, as I would really appreciate a means to switch out weapons on the fly for situations like this.

Also, balancing wise, this game has some serious issues. For example, when you switch over to Darcy in the second chapter, all the items that you have acquired along the way with any collectables will be gone in favor of a completely empty inventory screen until the third chapter kicks in, and with that third chapter I lose everything I collected with Darcy. Why is that!? I understand the motive behind it but it really hinders the player more than anything. I buy all this wonderful gear and healing items only to start over from scratch midway through. And that leads me to another complaint; in the entire perspective of the third chapter, there are NO merchants to buy any healing items or anything else that you need. Since every single statistic is important to your own survival, it boggles me just how unbalanced this game can be. I like a challenge, but I want a fair one too.

Also – where are the necessary tutorials? Yeah, yeah, coming in from the non-tutorial guy who hates tutorials and all that, but, in all seriousness, where they are? Sure, there’s a guide in the main menu that you can read, but I still wouldn’t mind being reminded on what or how certain things perform. For example, when I reached Argate Caverns and was faced with a bunch of boulders blocking the way, I naturally assumed I had to move them (no shit). But when I pressed the action to move them, nothing was happening because they were all bunched together in a cluster. I thought for a second that I was missing something back in town or I wasn’t supposed to go there until a later point, but I was. I couldn’t figure it out until I looked at the guide and found out how to drag objects behind you. And look, maybe it is my fault for not reading the guide, but for something like that’s a mandatory, reoccurring puzzle this is something that you need to explain to the player about. Just do a quick little thirty second scene with Dante telling Tristian how to move the boulders with this button and this button, and that would be great. Not just that, but what about perhaps giving a quick rundown on the battle system, weather system, and even the game’s “Crysalis System?” I would think that these things would be pretty important to cover. In fact, the Crysalis System allows you to power up your stats and grant certain immunity to status conditions and elemental effects. It’s a neat system but it’s not used or explained very well, as most often anytime you get one of these crystals you’ll immediately use them almost instantly, so what’s the point of having a separate page for all of this in the status menu?

The game does offer some interesting puzzles, but the one thing it lacks at this point are minigames and possible side-quests for the player to participate in. For example, in the port town of Fado, there is a group of guys playing a card game in a bar, mostly liking something like Blackjack. This would have been a perfect setup for a little minigame to earn some extra money or some pretty valuable items. What about a hunting sidequest to kill certain rare monsters for even more rarer stuff? In one town an NPC makes reference to that, so why not put it in a hunting sidequest for this game? These are just some of the things that this game could have added in to greatly provide some much needed variance between the gameplay so things don’t get too stale. As far as it stands right now, most towns and general locations are pretty dull, filled to the brink with enemies and the occasional puzzle to solve. Ugh.

This game definitely needs to do some fine tweaking, balancing and pacing adjustments in it for it to achieve a much higher score in the future. From where it stands right now, all these little things seem to add up and come together to provide a less than memorable experience, which is a shame considering how much yuna21 has planned or already implemented in this game already.

The Soundtrack

- And he will!

For all that yuna21 herself praises about this game (well, besides her incredible maps), it is the musical score that she talks so highly about whenever the discussion is brought up about any one of her games. I was definitely looking forward to hearing some of the tunes that were in this game, and, you know what – they’re actually pretty good! So she was on to something.

In all seriousness though, the musical score definitely provides and helps flesh out the incredible atmosphere during all the different various scenes. Out of all the twenty five tracks that this demo presents itself, my favorites have to be “Battle Theme 1,” “Caverns,” and “Overworld.” The game’s main battle is catchy, heroic, and reminds me something straight out of Fire Emblem or Ogre Battle; it’s a very nice high tempo song for dishing out some pain! Caverns is a very nice and mellow track, and I can’t help but feel like it reminds me a little bit of Yasunori Mitsuda’s stuff. The overworld theme kicks some serious ass and makes feel like that I am on an grand adventure of a lifetime. Seriously, all the music in this game is awesome except for the boss theme, “Elemental Battle.” Whenever this song was present during some of the game’s boss battles, it just really didn’t suite what was going on. It sounded more like something you heard at a funeral or the moment before the final climax of something. I dunno, I just didn’t like it as much as the other tracks and didn’t really feel like it fit. Other than that, the musical score did its job and I couldn’t ask for much more from it. Hopefully in the full version yuna21 can maybe switch that boss battle theme for something more upbeat, like the battle theme, and provide more tunes that are on the same level as the previous.

Sound effects are mostly RTP and borrowed from a few commercial games like FF7, which I find is a bit out of place. Actually, if I had to complain about anything from the sound department it’s that some of the scenes in this game sure sound a bit quiet during some of the parts, you know what I’m saying? It’s almost like this game could have benefited more with the additions of some more added effects, like for when the text is scrolling or even some battle voiceovers would be nice.

The Aesthetics

…Can you see me?

Okay, it’s no secret that this game just by looking at it sports some of the best visuals and some of the best use of RTP mapping on the site that I’ve ever seen. I mean, just look at these wonderful maps! Such an amazing level of display and detail to it when comes to the lighting, atmosphere, and even some amazing weather effects look fantastic (although it does slow my PC down to a crawl at times because of all the stuff that’s going on).

The character portraits may be simple Fire Emblem edits, but they fit the void and the style of the game pretty well. I really don’t have too many complaints other than I think some of the mapping is a bit “too much” in some cases, especially with any of the forest areas. I felt that the forest areas were a bit too cluttered for my tastes and I couldn’t often see my way around them sometimes with all the trees planted all over the terrain. I didn’t have a problem with the rest of the areas, but the forest maps need to be toned down a bit with all the foliage around it to prevent players from being confused from traversing it on the pathway.

The End Result

I hate this place.

There’s no doubt in my mind that after playing the demo that this game needs some pretty fine tuning and some balancing in order for it to become a good RPG, maybe even a great one. The story definitely had its moments but it seemed to lose steam quite often throughout the other chapters. I wanted to learn more about Tristian and the antagonist’s intentions more than anything else and felt that the character swap was more of way to add in unnecessary filler that wasn’t entirely all needed. The mapping and soundtrack is definitely nice, disregarding the forest areas and the boss battle theme. And even the gameplay showed a bit promise at times.

The Lady Of The Lion has the potential to become a fantastic RPG, but its balancing issues, glitches, slow pacing and the lack of variety really hinders the overall experience. It’s almost like The Legend Of Dragoon all over again where I absolutely love the first chapter only to get slowly uninterested towards the end and just found myself grinding it into finishing it. The Lady Of The Lion kind of feels like that…well, for now. Hopefully, as the game continues in its long road throughout development, I hope that yuna21 can improve on this game in order to match the same level as her incredible mapping skills and overall determination. It would be a shame to see it all go to waste.

2.5 / 5 - C- ~ Passes, But Just Barely.


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Wow, thanks for the review, Addit. I'll be sure to take this feedback into consideration when doing another release. So many valuable points mentioned there. Yeah, this was exactly the kind of feedback I've been hoping for for so long, so thanks a ton. =)

EDIT: Just had the strangest idea. Because this game is episodic, I can rather focus on Tristian and co. for Episode 1, Darcy for Episode 2 and (spoiler) for Episode 3. That way, I won't have to deal with the painful party changing and *gasp* 'all my items are gone!' XD

Yeah, that's a much better route.
Is it possible to perhaps link up all the episodes together so you can transfer all of your inventory to one episode and to the other and vice versa, similar to Final Fantasy: The After Years or even The Legend Of Zelda Oracle games, and then do a final episode where all the three groups come together for one last final showdown and you get to basically keep everything that you’ve collected? If so, that would be pretty awesome, forcing to play the other two episodes just to see what happens towards the end. Actually, that would be pretty neat if you finish the three episodes only to, out of the blue, release a final, fourth episode and go like “Bam, mutherf**kers - THERE'S MORE TO THIS STORY!”

And you’re welcome for the review. Sorry that it took a little while. But at least you got your feedback! :D
Nicely written review, Addit :3
The only thing disagree with is the 2.5 star rating. Demos are still in the development stage, and a low rating will linger on after yuna acts on feedback and fixes things up.
Star ratings don't bother me, tbh. Even though it will affect the game's average in the future, I still have a lot to work on and I know most people tend to lean towards games with 4 stars or more, not that I blame them. Psychological, I guess. They'd assume a 4+ star game is good, even if was written by a rampant fanboy/fangirl of the game ( ahem: Desperate Love Feast's 5 star rating , lol ) or by a person that has played very few RM games.

Addit here as played a ton of games. Iirc, Lotl is his 22nd review. =) And regarding the lack of mini-games and such, I'm really not good at implementing them at all. :(
That's one of my weaknesses, doing game mechanics outside of the usual RPG-standard fare.
ahem: Desperate Love Feast's 5 star rating , lol) or by a person that has played very few RM games.

I don't believe you saw my 1-star review of that game ;) Although I'll have to play this game to see if it does actually deserve a 2.5 star rating. If anything, that just means it's improvable. :)
^Oh, I saw that one-star review, benny. XD And yes, low-ratings will force me to make my games better. I realise that I suck at dungeon design and puzzles... ;_; Maybe I had best stick to my classic Phantasy Star roots and leave them out ( those games had 0 puzzles and sidequests, but they were fun ).

Which explains the severe lack of them in Lady of the Lion...
It’s your actions.. not your strength, that would lead you to victory.

I don't think you should have given a game marked as demo an official star rating in the review. You could have told us what you think it was worth, but not actually made it official. If these things are changed dramatically and the game ends up being decent then players will just see that rating an may not bother to download it in the future, but it could have been improved. Just my thoughts Addit.
Oh come on, he gave me some very useful feedback. =) And I'd lose all the mak score too. XD It will drag down the average score, but maybe a reviewer or two will review the tech demo coming out on Saturday ( 17/5/2014 ). =)
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
More importantly reviews can be edited! Which means if Addit plays the full game when it is done and finds that the things he had a problem with are fixed, I'm sure he'll revisit the review and amend the score accordingly. It states pretty obviously at the top that this is the review for the Demo, therefore a lower score is actually expected. Demo's are to give a teaser of what is to come, and TO GET FEEDBACK.

Personally I thought it was very fair, and actually this review is what made me sub the game, because I saw, as did addit the potential for what this could be when it was done, so rather than turn me off the game it made me want to play it.
Yeah, everybody’s got their own sense of critique when it comes to reviewing games in regards to giving out scores for demos or not. Usually, most people don’t do so around here but I usually like to give it an overall score just for completeness sake. I don’t usually like to play and review demos that often, as I much prefer playing more completed games around here than not, but if it’s to review a demo for a contest or if that person(s) needed / wanted some feedback at the time, which in this case, at the time of this review, yuna21 did and Reviewrim was going on at the time so I had to review something that had a working download without a review yet. Yeah, I know that this review is kinda gonna hurt this game’s overall score in the end of the things, as I kinda thought that through originally when I started thinking about what to ultimately give this game at the time - but who knows!? Maybe this game will get three perfect 5/5’s in a row and that will just cancel my review out. Either way, like yuna21 mentioned, having the extra makerscore and all that feedback was probably well worth it.

And like nhubi said, there’s always a chance I could always revise this review when the full version comes out in the end and thus give it a much higher score. This is definitely one of those games that I want to come back to and play again once it’s fully completed, as I’ve been following this game for quite some time, so you know that I’m going to play this bad boy again when the time fully comes.

Yeah, Addit, you f-king nub.

(…I knew I should have given this a 3/5 when I had the chance. >_<)
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