• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

Just the facts, ma'am

  • nhubi
  • 07/06/2014 02:22 AM

This review is for the IGMC 2014 version.

Set in a smelly little one-horse, ok no horse (but I was right about the smell), town called Dire Creek and the surrounding environs Ruselan is an RPG take on the detective genre. Our eponymous heroine Agent Thaena Ruselan of the Royal Order of Magic and Monster Control (ROMMC) has been sent to investigate a supposed dragon sighting near Dire Creek, but are they real, have there been dragons seen or are the villagers just bored with their olfactory challenged town and want a little excitement, is it a tall tale that got blown out of proportion, or are there more sinister forces at work? Is it all or none of the above?

I can see why you're the prime investigator of the ROMMC.

Your role is to discover the story behind the mystery by finding clues and gathering evidence to lead you to the truth; the primary method for this investigation is gentle interrogation of the inhabitants of the village, some of whom are happy to aid in the search whilst others are less than pleased with a ROMMC agent in their midst.

At times the only way to discover the information that a villager knows is to do them a favour (i.e. quests) which gives a good in story reason why an investigator would waste time on a fetch quest. It's a good idea to keep a few notes as there is no journal or quest log in the game, and I could see a clue notebook being a sensible addition if this game is expanded on post the contest.

Humour plays a large part in the delight I felt for this game, as always it is subjective, but there is a warm and cheerful atmosphere permeating the entirely of this game that made it a joy to play. The NPC's are the backbone of the story and the quest to discover just what is happening in this backwater village in portrayed with a realistic tone carried by characters rich in personality and diversity, and with their own unique view of the events as they unfold, and secrets of their own to conceal. Not every NPC is fully fleshed, but almost all have multiple dialogue streams dependant on how far you have reached in your deductions.

The writing in this game is one of its strong points, not just the mystery shrouded plotline, and the occasional literary and cultural references but the attention to orthography. I cannot remember an instance of grammatical malfeasance in any of the dialogue, or at least not an unintentional one.

Not a word, but it should be.

I am perfectly happy to admit bias when it comes to clever and comprehensible use of language, as I believe narrative is of paramount importance when it comes to creating an engaging experience, and Ruselan ticks quite a few of my personal boxes. If that is not something that drives you, you may want to take a few points off the final score for your own internal clarification.

The graphics are a mix of default and custom with the character portraits of the main characters being of particular note, the mapping is clean and interesting with a consistent and fluid use of the resources available, most appearing to have been sourced from the VXA Humble Bundle, with some re-colouration to add a bit of variety and personal touch to the visuals. I also appreciated the continuity the developer has included, with adjoining maps showing consistent overlaps. A nice touch is the change in companion animal and monsters in the day and night scenes.

The music is mostly default with a few custom tracks added for a touch of spice. The choices are made well, and fit the scenario's in which they are played. There is a little 'ah-ha' sound effect when you ask questions that are of relevance to your case or that lead to a new set of question choices during your interrogations, so you can generally tell when you are on the right track.

First things first.

Battles are via the classic front view turn based system, with no customisation, (though a few of the status ailment icons aren't ones I've seen before, notably poison and blind) but well balanced with most of the situation appropriate monsters taking a few rounds to take down, and the boss battles challenging enough to be interesting. As always repetition can breed boredom, but given the length of the game, it never really becomes an issue. The monsters are visible, except for the few ambush attacks that happen within the confines of the town, so they are avoidable if you wish to dodge though they do have a chase dynamic, but as the later unavoidable boss can be a bit of a handful, engaging in combat is not a bad idea.

There is one narratively driven mini game included, lock picking which is very much in keeping with the investigative theme.

Save is always on, a plus in my book as usual, and there is even an in game admonition from a friendly local to save often, especially at night. Which is the only time you can go after a questing beast, so don't miss the opportunity when it arrives.

There is unfortunately not a lot of room for customisation of your character within the scope of the game as it currently stands, the accessory store sells a collection of stat boosting accessories but you can only equip one of them, there are no additional armour or weapon choices in this Podunk little town so growth is really only through levels and the arbitrary increases that entails.

Ruselan feels like one chapter in an ongoing story, and indeed the opening sequence intimates that this tale is the first of an illustrious career for our heroine. The narrative arc plays as part of a much larger world, and I for one would be very interested in continuing the adventure in later chapters. For now I, and you, will have to be content with the story as presented, and enjoy it for the pleasant and fun offering that it is.

Channelling Hermione much?


Pages: 1
Hey! Awesome review and I'm so happy you liked the game. I'm definitely planning on adding a journal system in the future. I may leave this game as is, however, since it's kind of a prequel for future events.
Do you know if you can edit a download without removing all the cool things connected to it, such as reviews like these?
Thanks again for playing it and leaving such a great review!
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
Oh the download doesn't affect the reviews (glad you think it's cool) you can remove and update one, change pictures, add and delete blogs, all of that. It's the game-page itself that everything is linked to, so as long as it is up everything stays.
Pages: 1