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Zealotry is Never a Walk in the Park

  • Shades
  • 01/26/2014 01:56 PM
This is for the Reviewrim event. Here's how it works. I try out a game I haven't played before, and I play for up to 3 hours. I then pick the game apart from five different angles, each addressing a different facet of the game's design and assigning a score of up to 2 points. After each one is evaluated, the score gets totaled up.

Story: 1.5/2

A young man in search of his little brother is mistaken for a cultist ringleader and accused of related crimes. Hate it when that happens. As if that weren't bad enough, the poor guy gets accused of murder multiple times while defending himself and others. It's tragic, really. Poor lad just can't catch a break.

There are some hokey bits, but the story is perfectly serviceable fantasy fare.

Atmosphere: 1.5/2

I experienced a WTF moment at the beginning of the game when presented with multiple cutscenes and a puzzle, all before I even gained control of my character for the first time. Seriously, can't a guy at least grab some breakfast before having multiple out-of-body experiences like that?

While it's not a horrible thing, I'm here to play a roleplaying game. If I wanted to watch a movie or mess around with a puzzle for which I have no context, I'd be doing that instead. For the same reason, I feel like there are twice as many cutscenes in this game as I am comfortable having. Others may prefer having these sorts of things in their gaming experience, but it's possible to overdo it. That's what I feel may be happening here.

The game is drawn nicely. I liked the special effect animations, and the cutscenes are generally well (if over) done. Most of the music is also well done, though some of the ambient sounds are a bit louder than I'd like.

Interface: 1.5/2

Better than the standard clunky RM interface. I didn't like the ugly default shade of green, but was pleased to discover that I could change the color for the menu and dialogue boxes, which is a very nice touch. There is an apparent glitch that sometimes prevents dialogue boxes from fully showing; this makes the dialogue text difficult to read due to the resulting lack of contrast. I first noticed it at the shop in the monastery. Also at the monastery, there is a typo in the head bishop's dialogue, where he says "refugeesto" instead of "refugees to".

Game Play: 1/2

Overinflated stats -- while fairly rampant in JRPGs, I'm not a fan of them. Other than that, I enjoyed the RPG aspect for what it was, which for this game is exactly what it's supposed to be. I did enjoy the forest maze quite a bit as well.

Some tiles (bushes, flowers, crumbly rocks) look like they should be passable but aren't. This makes things a bit confusing when navigating, which wouldn't be much of an issue in a standard turn based RPG but becomes a bit more of one when you're being chased by monsters you'd rather avoid.

There is a place near the cave entrance during the first quest where I can walk over a darkness tile. I imagine this is a bug rather than a feature.

Also, rabbits. Why did it have to be rabbits?
There's a point in the game where I have to chase rabbits to feed a kobold's family before he'll let me pass on to the next area. This, for me, was another WTF moment. I just laid the smackdown on some of the guy's buddies, and now he's standing between me and my family, blocking my path? I don't know about anyone else, but in that situation, I'd lay that kobold out so fast that his apparently starving family would feel it all the way back in their mildewed little hidey hole. So why, in the apparently glorious name of WA, am I helping the greasy little bastard?

Sorry, no. The only thing this minigame did for me was break my immersion and interrupt my RPG time. Fighting should be an optional solution for this challenge, given what's going on and what's at stake.

Fun Factor: 1.5/2

Despite the comparatively minor flaws in the game, Enex2 is a fairly solid offering. I'm sure I will be coming back to play more, and after only 3 hours of play there is plenty more for me to come back to.

For the record, I got to the boss fight at the Bronze Mine with the Deregade before stopping to write this. I lost the ensuing fight. A revenge match is forthcoming.

Do you HEAR that Deregade? I'M COMING FOR YOUUUUUUU!
*fade to black*


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Oh goodness! A review! :D Thank you very much for taking your time to write this.

I agree with basically everything you've said on the dot. Actually, I think you're quite charitable to my young self! :) I probably would have docked a few extra bits in a couple areas, haha.

I remember after making the sliding block puzzle at the start of the game, I was berated by a couple friends for forcing them to play as the bad guy for a second. I didn't want to hear any of it though, I was too excited to have put a sliding block puzzle in my game. =P If I had been smarter, I would have moved that puzzle to somewhere inside the first Castle.

It also certainly would have been good to give players the choice to simply cut down the Kobold. The reason why your characters don't kill the Kobold is because he is apparently nice, so "You" are assumably unwilling to just murder him to walk past. Although, in reality, if I were in that situation I'd have given that Kobold one warning to get out of the way before I cut through him (lets also pretend I'm a bit strong rpg warrior in this hypothetical situation, not a computer programmer.)

Introducing the Shadow Realm / Carillean plot points through out-of-character cutscenes was also a mistake of mine. I had gotten so used to them from the Fire Emblem games that it never even occurred to me that it was silly to keep jumping into "dialogue with the bad guys!" mid-dungeon. Ideally, the players should be discovering things as does. Especially seeing as how I made a game in which the main character doesn't even have a name and is supposed to You.

I'm glad you're enjoying the "Fun Factor." I labored very hard in the attempt to ensure that A) Everything was fun and B) Everything looked decent. Looking back, this is something I am most pleased with, though for me it's mostly the addition of little minigames like the "Boulders are falling on your head!" bit that I am most happy with. Optional content starts becoming very common after you get out of Bronzed Mine, so keep an eye out! (assuming they're your cup of tea.)

Good Luck with Deregade, and thanks again.

Edit: Oh yeah, I also found the review to be very well written, I'd say you have talent for it. My perspective might make this compliment invalid though since I'm not sure if it's possible to judge, without bias, the quality of a review on a game that you made.
That's right, I should have mentioned the boulders as well. Minigames of that sort aren't really something I find too appealing, but that boulder trap worked well within the context of the game, and it made perfect sense as something to wake the player up and present an additional challenge. Putting it in was a good call, but it generally wouldn't be my favorite part of an RPG.

I'm glad you enjoyed my review, as it's my first attempt at formally reviewing a video game, and it's my first review on this site as well. I used to review fiction quite often for another site, though, so I do have a bit of experience with it. I'm thinking of experimenting with another format or two for games, so I'll have to see if this one turns out to be the best.

Good luck with your games!
The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
I already beat Deregade in my playthrough, but it took a second try. I feel like this game is kind of flawed in that the level/stat progression feels pretty forced, like I cleared through every monster before fighiting Deregade, and even then the fight didn't become easier, but blah blah blah I'm going to submit a review for this game as well.
I wanted Enex2 to be a pretty difficult game. But when I made it harder (it used to be much easier), I also made wanted to make sure that people's answer to "oh no the game is hard" wasn't to grind more against mobs, which is why they don't respawn.

I should think that taking two tries against a boss is very reasonable, right? In most games, I'm not happy unless a boss kills me at least once before I beat it! =P

Also Shades, I'm curious, do you have any interest in reviewing games other than RPGs?

I'm looking forward to your review, Ratty! :) I was going to ask for more elaboration on what you mean by "flawed in the level / stat progression feeling forced," but I presume it will show through the review. I'm pretty sure the important character progression is mostly from either unlocking new moves (which are done by move-usage not by monster) and from upgrading equipment mostly.

Also, I was young and basically just throwing numbers are the wall and seeing what stuck. :P This ended up biting me pretty bad later on when I hit RPGMaker's "Max HP" cap before the final boss and I had to cheese the higher numbers in.
I'm open to reviewing other games than RPGs. In fact, the one I'm working on now is more of a board/puzzle game than any kind of RPG.
That sounds interesting, Shades, I'll certainly give it a look. :)

In any case, I'd like it if you could take a look at my next project: http://www.pelagicgames.com/luminux/luminux-demo/

It's an action-puzzler that is intended to be for Mobile, but also works well in Web Player. It's just a demo at the moment, we do have a bit more planned for it.

You don't need to review it right now! In fact, I don't even know what the proper channel for something like that would be at the moment for it. But I think I'd certainly like to get your thoughts on it soon (and hopefully a real review from you later.)

Also, do you have a twitter?
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