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Simon Appleton

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About Simon Appleton

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  1. Yes, very few CRPGs but still a good year IMO. I agree kotor2 was a very good game - it met my high expectations from kotor1. But also Vampire: Bloodlines was an absolutely amazing game - for me up there with the greats. One feature of both games was that for me they both linger after I've finished them, so I keep thinking back to them. In otherwords, whether through atmosphere, characters, story or whatever they made an impression. Only the best CRPGs do that - the Fallouts, the System Shocks, a few others. Perhaps the other good spell for CRPGs I remember recently was when NWN and Morrowind came out fairly close to each other IIRC. But ultimately, I see both those two games as bland and soulless if technically very impressive. On the issue of bugs and playability, it may have helped that I bought a new computer late last year. But I had very few problems with either Kotor2 or Vampire - at least none that a quite visit to the internet could not solve.
  2. Second time through, I'm playing a sentinel to try out some skills (also made repair a class skill through my first feat) - I really want to mess around with the workbench in particular. First time, I just maxed out Persuasion with a dumb Guardian. Are there are any guidelines as to how high to raise skills? For example, in kotor1, I think the main character needed around 17 repair to fully upgrade HK-47. Is there any effective upper limit to a skill, beyond which it is unnecessary? I maxxed out persuasion in both games - is this necessary? Are there any useless skills for the exile? I'm not taken by stealth. I'd be happy to take a skill specialist along most of the time; I'm most interested in occaisions when only the exile's skill matters. (e.g. Apparently this is true for repair for breaking down items.) In kotor1, I might pass on awareness and treat injury, but they seem to help in some dialogue and quests in kotor2. I'm playing on hard, which apparently is relevant.
  3. Thanks for the fast responses - I thought the prologue did not give you anything, but I guess that refers to experience not loot. And yes, I am playing on hard - it was too easy first time through, but I did not realise it affected the use of skills.
  4. I'm trying to replay KOTOR2, but got stuck on Peragus when you have to take over T3-M4 while Atton and the Exile are on a control deck. I've been to fuel area to pick up some repair parts for the controls, but then I am stuck. I can't open a store room, as it needs explosives to open and I am told my security skill is too low. I can't open the hangar door to the ship or another door to the fuel area as the latter needs me to use a control console. However, the control console needs a computer spike to open the door and I don't have any. Can anyone give me any guidance? I did not encounter a problem first time through - although that time I did the prologue and maybe explored more in the area around where you meet Atton. thanks for any help!
  5. Yes, definitely - first time I saw Darth Nihilus, I thought he resembled No-Face. When the idea of him feeding off others was revealed, the parallels became even stronger. I wonder how original No-Face was though? Visually, the idea of masked, cloaked figure does not seem that innovative. Nor is the idea of evil spirits feeding off humans' emotions. I kind of assumed No-Face was a Japanese archetype or some such, but Spirited Away was a very creative film so maybe he was original. Regardless, No-Face and Nihilus may be a case of creative convergent evolution rather than direct imitation. PS: It's threads like this where the absence of developer interaction really hurts!
  6. There was a lot of good stuff in the game. The whole darker atmosphere - the music helped a lot - was appreciated. Maybe the game should have had even more "horror" or at least suspense aspects, like System Shock 2 which its opening resembled in some ways. For example, the arrival of that ship in the opening of the game, as you are feeling rather vulnerable spacewalking was nicely disconcerting. Especially given the music and video of the interior of the ship. Darth Nihilius had amazing potential - anyone think there was a similarity to No-name from the Japanese film Spirited Away? Maybe it's just a manga caricature, but it's a powerful one. I also agree Kreia was a striking NPC. Very unusual - both age/gender and role/motivation. I am not sure what Volourn's unease about her is, but mine is that maybe that the plot left the player's character as a tool - not unlike IWD and the BG2 expansion - rather than one who is making his/her own destiny. I liked training my own Jedi - although again, maybe more could have been done here. Why not require some sidequests etc to see it through? Also give the Disciple/Handmaiden more of a role in the end? I liked having to return to some areas of the game - revisiting key areas in the breathless finales especially were kind of exciting to me, rather than just stripmining planets of sidequests and abandoning them forever. The dialogue often allowed for rather human and humane options - funny, cantankerous and even loving. Unlike KOTOR1s bland light/dark/dumb options, I never felt too much on the rails in what I could say. As a lightsider, I was very pleased with the final dialogue options with Kreia. Although the ending had its problems, these options did give me a real feeling of closure on my terms with that important character.
  7. Interesting almost everyone chose the Jesus head - as I did - I guess looks are objective, afterall. Better than the heads in KOTOR1, he also looked pretty good in robes with a lightsabre. But the resemblance to the biblical stereotype was so strong I was tempted to call mine something sacreligeous like "Big Jesus" or some such, after Fallout 2.
  8. I agree with the quote about first person graphics now being almost unavoidable - Vampire Bloodlines proved that to me. The immersion from talking to NPCs whose faces could scow, flirt, sneer, joke etc was amazing. But I am not sure it is the end of the party. Having party members you can interact with as you can with the Vampire Bloodlines NPCs you meet in quests would seem to offer enormous role-playing potential. It was not first person, but KOTOR1 maybe came closest to realising this - the interaction with Bastilla got so involving I started fearing my wife walking into the room! It's true you could not micromanage them in combat a squad tactics BG type way. But that concept is rather gamey anyway (noone can really micromanage others in combat). They'd have to fight for themselves unless you "possessed" them, but surely NWN, KOTOR, even DS has shown the AI can control NPCs in combat.
  9. People always gripe about bugs, but this game was very bug-free, IMO. I'll be surprised if the patch is very extensive. On the other hand, replayability with KOTOR games is very limited to me - like a movie or a book, their main attraction to me is the story and characters. So that's an argument for holding out. Nowadays, old savegames usually are compatible with patches so maybe go for it.
  10. I found there was something of the NWN OC about this game - the enemies, while numerous, did not seem appropriate to your level. Playing light side, I don't recall battling dark Jedi type enemies until the very end and then they did not use their force powers much. (Exception: on Dxun moon, my otherwise invincible Handmaiden guardian got killed by a nasty duo.) KOTOR1 was also too easy, but gave me some moments - better boss fights and Tattoine/Star Forge were fairly well pitched, IIRC. The other NWN OC aspect that gets me is the penny packets of enemies - you meet 3, at most 6-7 in a gang. At the end, when I was met by an honour guard of 10 baddies, I thought - crumbs, no way I can fight 10 Dark Jedi at once. But at level 27, I think that would have been pretty appropriate. Never happened, unfortunately. As well as being unchallenging, it just does not make sense - concentration of force is the most basic principle of combat. Unless there was some stealth/infilitration type rationale, there is no rationale for the baddies to stay in their own little rooms and be salami sliced by my character. This is strange coming from Obsidian, as one thing IWD and IWD2 did extremely well was maintain a challenging level of combat as you levelled up - powergamed even - through the game.
  11. Hard decision - the voice work was very good. 1) Kreia - she does not have a flashy, "charismatic" part but rather the trickiest one to pull off. She succeeds brilliantly - I never once felt the urge to click through her dialogue. Admittedly, it was partly the writing - she was unorthodox - but it was also the intelligent way the words were read. 2) Visas - had an intense, breathy voice that somehow managed to keep its integrity and intelligence. Very attractive. 3) This is the hard one - I think I'd plump for HK-47, maybe especially when he ws KH-50. Again helped a lot by the writing, but it takes skill to deliver comic lines and even more to do so while still appearing menacing and frankly loathsome.
  12. I finished Kotor2 on the default difficulty level and found the combat rather too easy - I am not sure my main character ever died. Anyone played through on higher difficulty care to comment on how much of a change there is? Is there any hard info on what changing the difficulty levels does (increases AI damage by 50% or whatever). Thanks for any advice!
  13. Very sad - just when Troika were starting to hit great form with Bloodlines. I agree with the post that they were artists; I disagree that they failed to produce anything outstanding. Arcanum has one of the best atmospheres of any CRPG. The music, the wonderful "courtly" writing, the unique setting etc. The plot, sidequests, NPCs and character creation were pretty good. But the combat was pretty shoddy and it was rather clunky. It's not in anyone's top 5 of CRPGs of all time, but it may in my top 10 or 20. Bizarrely, TOEE was the anti-arcanum. It had one of the best tactical combat systems of any CRPG and graphically was pretty smooth. But it had virtually none of the great virtues of Arcanum. It was pure combat, a pretty soulless grind, even worse than IWD and almost reaching POR2 levels of tedium. Bloodlines was closer to Arcanum - its strengths were atmosphere, writing and plot/sidequests. I actually think it is one of the all time CRPG greats (see the other thread in this forum). I think it is one of those all time classics like PST, System Shock 2 or Jagged Alliance 2 that do not get the business they deserve.
  14. Great - just found it; this is exactly what I wanted. While I am on about it, though - anyone ever get the Niman form? From the manual, its supposed to be good at everything but I reached level 27 without learning it.
  15. Fantastic game - something I only picked up on the off-chance (Vampires and first person shooters don't appeal) but totally sucked me in. The best thing was the way it made you feel like a Vampire. First time through, I was a pitiful Tremere, lurking around sewers to feed on rats because of my distaste of feeding off humans. I was confused, bewildered in a strange setting, doing odd jobs for wierd people. But then I gradually got taken into the world, until I began to feel like the bad-ass Fat Larry described me as. A turning point was in Hollywood, when your pre-vampire friend approaches. I reacted in horror - fear that my new life as a vampire would be disturbed by my old. In terms of getting you to play a role, it was brilliantly successful. (Second time through as a female Malk, I ended up relishing in jumping onto my victims, legs wrapped round them as I fed... shudder.) A lot of factors contributed to that immersion. The dialogue was great, as was the voice work and characterisation. In the tutorial alone, Jack made more of an impression on me that almost any NPC in any CRPG. The music was brilliant - sometimes I would just let my character dance and lose themselves to the moment. Of course, the graphics were amazing - the talking heads were perhaps the first time a CRPG has developed on the potential glimpsed in Fallout. The quests were innovative, varied and fun. Sometimes terrifying and of course macabre. People gripe about the melee combat, but it was fine to me. I am not sure KOTOR or NWN is any better. The variety of ways (or implements) with which to despatch your foes stopped it getting old. Character creation and levelling was very solid. Yes, the ending got a little combat heavy but this is common in CRPGs. An absolutely brilliant CRPG. I am not sure what CRPG had a more visceral effect on me - maybe System Shock 2 alone. But Bloodlines was much more of a standard story/quest/character driven CRPG and to me belongs in the august halls of such greats as FO2 and BG2. It's lukewarm sales and critical reception is baffling. Maybe it is being viewed as an action game rather than a fairly hardcore CRPG?
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