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Evoker demo? An... evocative journey!

Hello!
Today I'm going to review this Evoker game, even if it is not completed, because I think that this is a great demo, and I'd like to play a complete version, but even with just this demo I experienced a lot of good time.

Anyway let's begin the review:


Lucan admires the panorama from a cliff

The Good

The story of Evoker begins with our alter ego, Lucan, on an escort mission. Lucan is some sort of paladin, has healing and damaging spells, but he's also a strong warrior, far stronger than the priestress he's escorting. Well this until something will happen (after a sort of prologue/tutorial) and he will be weakened just before the beginning of the real adventure. This is an uncommon beginning, usually if there's a prologue with a mighty hero, this is never the protagonist, so I liked this situation, for a change. So Lucan will gradually recover his strength and meet several helpful companions, fight monsters and travel a lot. It's nothing new, but it's really well done!

Evoker looks great! No, really great, even if the resources are for the most part ripped, they are also edited with such a skill that they fit perfectly and create nice and detailed scenarios. While I am not fond of the style chosen (I'd have preferred bigger and more detailed charsets and facesets, but it's a personal idea, these are not bad at all and seem taken from FFIV!), I like the colours and I find maps well done, varied and pretty too.

The gameplay? A classic Jrpg that for some scenes made me think to FFVI and FFIV (there's a section that is really similar to the water cave part of FFIV, including the monsters)... especially FFIV! The graphic style and the feel is quite similar.
So we have exploration, dialogues and combat of course! Everything is rather classic but well done. I liked the sprites used for the different enemies, and I liked even more that the bosses employ different tactics: one will summon minions and try to narcotise the party, another will sometimes summon meteores while he protects himself from the attacks.


A Chimera! This is a boss made of bosses since each head is a different opponent!

The... Ok!

The beginning is a bit harsh: you start with few money, two companions, but everyone is a weak pushover, and due to the lack of resources it's one of the hardest parts of the demo, well in my opinion of course. But yes, it's doable, you just have to learn to manage the scarce resources, level up a bit and then the game becomes a little easier. I don't know, but some characters like Una (that is an ia-controlled combat monster!) and Blind (thanks to his great two-weapon style), Lucan (due to his healing spells) felt really far more useful than others (Imbaru, Garret, Aila, Rowena), but it's not a defect, or maybe I do not used them correctly (but I wonder why Aila lacks of the "flee" command unlike the other characters). Others like Gallagher, and Cadoc were ok (Cadoc a bit less, since his abilities are tied to the situation... so his utility varies drastically), anyway I liked the large variety of playable characters of this demo, it's a rare occurrence.

I also was not really fond of the random encounters and save-points choice (because often these save points aren't positioned before boss fights!), luckily you can also save on the world map an even buy some scrolls that lets you save when you use them. Unfortunately these items are quite expensive, and the inns are (sometimes, not always) quite costly too, so you should be careful when you manage the inventory and the earned gold.
Anyway if you explore and look around you will find hidden gold and items (usually in anonymous crates, barrels and bone piles), and these will be extremely useful if you want to restock your consumables AND upgrade the equipment. By the way I never felt I was stocking too many potions or I had money to waste!

The Bad

Ehm. No, nothing really bad. Really! Maybe the fact that's just a demo?
But hey, a good one!


We've lots of dead bodies and stairs going down... what is missing? A save point!

Verdict
If you liked FFVI or FFIV... and also FFV and similar games that I've never played, then you will love Evoker. The story is interesting and the protagonists are all rather well characterized. I was really sad when one particular character died, but I won't say anything else about it! Graphics are excellent, I forget to mention the evocative introduction, but only because you will probably watch it just once, while instead the great maps and colorful enviroments will be a constant of this great adventure.

While this demo is not perfect and it won't be everyone's cup of tea, there are no serious flaws or errors, I do not remember typos or other problems. It's a game that was clearly made with a lot of efforts and attention to the details.
I guess my vote will be 3.5 but it's very close to 4, I had fun and I loved the locations, dialogues and characters. The demo has a decent lenght and a perfect difficulty level. So play it now!

Posts

Pages: 1
Wow! A review! Thank you!

I certainly can't complain about anything you've written, especially because you didn't say anything was bad, even though there is definitely some bad stuff in the demo. ;)

A few things: The characters have already been revamped and rebalanced because I completely agree with you, in the demo some are much more useful than others and it makes some people feel useless. I want people to be able to play with whoever they like the most, not necessarily have some characters who are just the best at everything.

The save point locations have been tweaked slightly in the current version, but it's always a difficult tight-rope to walk. I like the savepoints to be in locations that will see multiple uses, so putting one deep in a dungeon that the player will only use once before a boss goes against my style. But of course, making the player feel punished because the last save point was so far back is also very bad, so I have to be careful. I may have to add one to that house in the last screenshot you posted, though...

Anyway, thank you for the very positive review! I appreciate it!

Also, it's very funny to see some of the old graphics from the demo since I've been working hard to improve them. I'd almost forgotten how boring those house interiors were...
author=Kaempfer
Wow! A review! Thank you!

I certainly can't complain about anything you've written, especially because you didn't say anything was bad, even though there is definitely some bad stuff in the demo. ;)


Oh, yeah it's not perfect BUT I found other games with missing dialogues, empty maps, incomplete parts, errors and shops that do not work, instead in this case everything is pretty well done. I am pretty sure that the final version would get a 4 or even 4.5, if this is the quality and some problems I mentioned will be corrected!

author=Kaempfer
A few things: The characters have already been revamped and rebalanced because I completely agree with you, in the demo some are much more useful than others and it makes some people feel useless. I want people to be able to play with whoever they like the most, not necessarily have some characters who are just the best at everything.


That's good!

author=Kaempfer
The save point locations have been tweaked slightly in the current version, but it's always a difficult tight-rope to walk. I like the savepoints to be in locations that will see multiple uses, so putting one deep in a dungeon that the player will only use once before a boss goes against my style. But of course, making the player feel punished because the last save point was so far back is also very bad, so I have to be careful. I may have to add one to that house in the last screenshot you posted, though...


Well it's not too bad as it is, clearly I'd have placed them in different locations (for example in the swamp part... I'd place one of them before the end of the level, but it's ok anyway!). But I've played games that were much more frustrating due to the scarcity of save points, since here difficulty is well balanced, this isn't a terrible issue.

author=Kaempfer
Anyway, thank you for the very positive review! I appreciate it!

Also, it's very funny to see some of the old graphics from the demo since I've been working hard to improve them. I'd almost forgotten how boring those house interiors were...


Happy you liked it!
Anyway I know, graphics (especially in some areas) could surely be improved, but I liked the SNES style and mapping, and I liked the cities, especially the one with the large bridge. It's a good looking game!
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