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

This Game is Amazing! *twang*

  • Dyhalto
  • 02/29/2016 09:10 PM
The Chronicles of Prydain was a defining part of my childhood. It incorporated (embodied, really) everything I loved about high fantasy during those tender years, and was the first book anthology I ever read through. In less than a week, I might add. Good reads will cause that.

Anyway, this is an old game, hearkening back to 2007. RM standards have grown exponentially since then, so a lot of Book of Three's concepts feel dated, even through my wistful lenses.

Visual: 1/5
But then again, some things didn't look too hot even back in '07.
There wasn't a terrible amount of creative ambition put into a visual reconstruction of the novel's setpieces. Character sprites have palette swaps for authenticity to the source material, but otherwise the world of Prydain is threadbare. Mapping is between weak and awful, and the enemies in battle, mostly FF6 rips, face sideways away from the first person perspective.
And why oh why, considering that we're dealing with something sourced from a children's book, did everything have to be so drab and colorless?

But it's functional, I guess. Too functional, as you might notice via the town screenshot below. That's it. That's the entire town. Three shops and an exit.

Book of Three, the RM game's first ever screenshot online .

Audio: 4/5
Various celtic music has been converted to midi. Some of it is great, but a lot of it isn't. I'm not sure if it's the midi format being skewered by my modern soundcard or if some of them were low quality to begin with, but I found myself wanting to leave areas so the BGM would change a few times.
Still, the goal was a celtic soundtrack in order to fit the aesthetic of the Prydain world, and it was accomplished. Kudos to Lys86 for going that extra mile.

Storyline: 4/5
So yeah, the Chronicles of Prydain is all about boy heroes, cute love interests, oddball companions, nefarious villains, magic swords, and heroic feats. All of the things we now deride as "tropes". It's also a heck of a lot more than that, and anybody who says it's old and cliched is gonna get a sock in the jaw. 5 out of 5, end of discussion.
But I'm not rating Lloyd Alexander's work, am I?

My recollection is fuzzy, but I do believe Book of Three stayed largely true to the novel's progression of events, albeit the ending is altered for gameplay intensity. All of the dialogue is prefabbed by the books so it becomes a simple matter of insertion, but what really stands out is how true Lys86 kept to the characters' mannerisms. The most obvious example being Fflewddur Fflam's harp string snapping whenever he tells an untruth (simultaneously axing the BGM for dramatic flair).

Pivotal scenes were fastidiously reproduced too, like Spiral Castle collapsing and Taran watching the Horned King's army pass by in the woods.

That's actually a really good choice for a Horned King battler.

Gameplay: 2.5/5
The opening forest was remarkably hard. Enough so that it had me thinking I was in for a nasty grindfest of a game. I mean, what was up with those Fizbin of Misfortune type items being in the very first dungeon?
But it was short lived. Not only is the difficulty toned down later, but so much Exp is garnered that you wind up inadvertently powerleveling and steamrolling the remainder of the game. I'm not even going to mention the unlimited-use MP restorative.

Each party member has their own unique method of acquiring skills, and a few knick knacks exist like a stealth minigame which I imagine was quite sophisticated in it's time. The dungeons, while not much to look at, are rife with unnecessary treasure, and a number of super items are scattered throughout Prydain, obtainable so long as you can fulfill the specified criteria for each.

On a bizarre note, everybody's base stats and growths are identical. Equipment and skills give them their distinction, but what prompted that design decision?

Overall: 3/5
Book of Three is a valiant effort at reproducing the book in a playable format, but overall stands as just another RM2k game. I can only recommend it to fans of the book series.
Which should be everybody on Earth anyway.


Pages: 1
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
I can only recommend it to fans of the book series.
Which should be everybody on Earth anyway.

Damn right.
Pages: 1