Saturday, April 16, 2011

Simple is better

ArcaniA was, from beginning to end, just under twenty hours. This was less than half of the time I spent on Trinity. ArcaniA is a deeper game, with a customization system that forces you to choose exactly what kind of character you want to play by handing out precious few upgrade points and not letting you change your mind. There were three basic paths: hit things with a sword, hit things with a bow or hit things with spells. Magic would have required every point available for limited returns. Plus spells really trashed the already iffy frame rate. I went with a hybrid ranger/fighter (which is what I always end up playing in RPG's) and by the end of the game I was one shotting undead with head shots from an over powered bow. Trinity had almost no such customization, took twice as long to get anywhere and didn't look as good.

But it was the better game.

I am not familiar with the Gothic series, but from what I understand ArcaniA is a dramatic departure. Previous Gothic's were Elder Scrolls in nature; this one is nothing more that an action RPG trying desperately to capitalize on the success of Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Strike one. Strike two is, and I am mentioned far too much already, unacceptable frame rate. The game look reasonable, but not so good that dipping down into the single frames per second is understandable. This late in the 360's life cycle when it is pushing around incredible things like Call of Duty Black Ops looking like shit is unforgivable. Finally, and worst of all, ArcaniA looses track of its own story about ten hours in. Trinity had a very simple story: boy has family killed, seeks revenge, makes friends along the way. It never wavered, providing a backdrop for all the random side quests and holding them together. ArcaniA started out with the main character finding out he had knocked up his girlfriend just before she and his whole village are wiped out. He vows revenge, heads out to improve himself, and then gets caught up in some sort of heaven/hell infighting that is never explained. By the time it is done the main character is the chosen one who needs to finish a job for the last chosen one who happens to be the king that order the original village destroyed but is wasn't his fault because he was possessed by a demon from a necklace that he was supposed to deliver to a tower because he was the chosen one but didn't because he was busy with other things and even then he generals and mages were betraying him. The final boss is pulled out of a hat in the last five minutes, Final Fantasy IX style.

I imagine that he people in charge of the story and the people in charge of everything else never met each other. They probably didn't even have offices in the same building, only communicating via text message every few weeks.

Game dev: WE HAVE A COOL NEW LEVEL IN A GIANT TREE. DO SOMETHING WITH IT.

Writers: DUDE WE ARE SO STONED RIGHT NOW. HOW ABOUT MAGES AND SHIT?

Gave dev: WATEVS. YOU GUYS NEVER SHARE YOUR GOOD STUFF.

No comments:

Post a Comment