Thursday, June 19, 2014

And my dreams were better

I fell asleep playing Bound By Flame last night.

Combat has a rhythm that is similar for most enemies - swing, swing, swing, wait for it, block.

Swing, Swing, Swing, (wait two beats) Block.

Swing, Swing, Swing, (wait.... for.... ZZZzzzz....)

Oh shit! My health is gone!

There were two big missed opportunities last night. The first was something that the game should have shown instead of just talked about. The player and his merry band flee the tiny swamp town that they were supposed to defend and head to a nearby elven stronghold that is supposed to server as a meeting place for several armies intent on standing against the ice lords and their undead legions. When they arrive the entire city is destroyed, encased in ice, and almost everyone is dead. What survivors there are explain that one of the ice lords showed up in person, froze the nearby river and dropped it on the city, presumably muttering bad puns to himself as walked away.

'Ice to see you' or 'Freeze!'

That is a great image. The river, not the puns. I want to see that happen in a brutal pre-rendered masterpiece not unlike what Blizzard or EA put out with every game they do. Such a masterpiece has a price tag greater than the combined monetary efforts put towards the rest of the game so I understand why it wasn't done. This is not Dragon Age, or even Dragon Age Light, this is Dollar Store Dragon Age.

The second swing and a miss had nothing to do with budget and everything to do with giving the player a choice and then the game doing what it wants regardless of the decision made. I was infiltrating the same city with the very clearly good guy elf and very clearly evil and gravity defying sorcerous. We were supposed to lower the drawbridge to allow what was left of army back into the city. We arrived and there was a multilegged Silent Hill refugee guarding the gate, setting a trap. The sorceress said that we should abandon the army, that they were dead anyway, and kill the guardian instead. This would allow the demon in the protagonists head to absorb more power.

The demon in his head is kind of a dick so I have been siding against him. This was no exception, so I went with the good elf's idea of doing what we were supposed to do in the first place. The sorcerous throws a tantrum, runs away, and I ended up fighting the guardian anyway. Who I sided with made no difference, there was only one resolution written, and it in everyone dies.

Tragic is one thing, and it would be acceptable, but this is just lazy. Add writers to the long list of things that the game could not afford.

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