Jump to content

After finishing Deadfire, here's my short take on the game


Recommended Posts

I just finished Deadfire, so I decided to gather some of my thoughts about it. All comments appreciated. It is obviously impossible to discuss these matters without spoiling at least something for people who have only just started, so if you're one of those, consider yourself forewarned (and maybe skip this entirely -- that's what I would do).

Overall, I would say the game is a gem but with several flaws that keep it from being a classic. The fact I played it all the way to the end shows that it was definitely worth the money and very enjoyable.

Graphics aren't generally that important to me (after all, I still enjoy NetHack a great deal and regard that one as a classic), but I must say this game looks lovely. Music was just good enough for the most part; the only theme that I thought was really good was the piano tune when confronting Eothas at Ashen Maw -- that was very simple but absolutely delightful. Much of the game was written quite well. I appreciate the ambition, although every once in a while I felt that at least some of the writers had tried to bite off a bit more than they could chew, vocabulary-wise especially.

Eder, Xoti and Serafen were all delightfully written and extremely enjoyable. Xoti was, of course, a zealot and a fool that I did not particularly like as a person, but as a character, she was well-written. Eder and Serafen were well-written, well-acted, all-around enjoyable and good to have in the group. Aloth was less interesting than in PoE (his personal quest in particular was a let-down), but I kept him along for the whole ride all the same. I was indifferent to Pallegina in PoE and continued to be so in Deadfire, so I won't comment on her -- I know almost nothing about her story. Maia would have been the sixth one in my group, had that been possible, although her secretive and slightly cynical manners didn't actually endear her to me. Tekehu I only had for the Watershaper Guild, i.e. a total of one map, so I know almost nothing about him.

The story started well enough but got a bit muddled, probably because of the way the game was constructed. On the one hand, you were sort of in a hurry to stop Eothas, but on the other hand, you had this archipelago to explore at your leisure, and there's a bit of a contradiction there. I was able to accept that in good grace and not care too much about that fact that the whole game sort of rested on an unstable foundation (starting point: you're in a hurry! no you're not!).

I found none of the factions appealing, so I went to Ukaizo by invoking the sword and summoning the Floating Hangman. And I only did that because I had to: I had only found three of the five Blackwood Logs, and I wasn't going to go searching for the missing two. I was absoultely astonished by how short the endgame was after I sailed into the storm. After all, that northern part of the map looks rather big, comprising something like ten per cent of the archipelago, but it turned out there was almost nothing there.

I loved Beast of Winter: really well written, really well thought-out and everything. Only the dragon fight was a bore: by far the most annoying in the game. The only serious let-down for me.

I played maybe half of SSS and found it ultimately uninteresting. It was designed for people who like strategic battles (or battles in general) more than storytelling, and while that's perfectly fine, it's also not quite the thing for me.

I played almost nothing of the Forgotten Sanctum, because my whole group reached level 20 right at the start of it, and I couldn't motivate myself to continue further on a side-track when there was nothing to gain anymore. Incidentally, I edited the XP gain before starting the game, and without that I would have reached level cap way sooner than I did. Level cap was a big problem for me in PoE and almost made me quit the whole thing when I reached it at the beginning of Act 3, and Deadfire clearly has the same problem, although this time I didn't think of quitting, I only went for the end of the main narrative ASAP.

The naval battles were clearly something like an afterthought, because they are entirely unnecessary. You never need to buy any upgrades for your ship, much less a new ship: there is no reason to spend any money on any of that. Whatever naval fighting I did, I did it by boarding, and that worked perfectly well. This side of the game was not a problem for me, but it also wasn't very interesting.

The sidekicks looked mostly like a waste of time for me. Maybe it was a question of time and funding? I had Konstanten with me for SSS, and his voice acting was really, really good -- he should have been a companion. The same goes for Ydwin, who I took along for the Beast of Winter. Really good stuff, but as there was so little of it, it was ultimately a disappointment. Rekke sounded like the beginning of a great story, but the story never continues.

Money is a bit of a problem in the game in the sense that there's ultimately nothing (worthwhile) to spend it on. In the end I had almost 400K and an inventory full of unique items I had never used once and could have sold for a huge chunk of money, had there been any need to do so. The game system is balanced to such an extent that it becomes somewhat bland, and everything seems to work just as fine as everything else (at least on Veteran). I mean, I never used any traps once. I only ever used a couple of different potions. I almost never used any scrolls. There's so much stuff you just don't need, because other stuff works equally well, and that was a little disappointing.

I believe this problem can be nicely demonstrated by the pirate map. Several of your bounties carry a piece of a map that you can eventually put together. It's a map to a pirate treasure, of course. That's a cliche, but it always works, which means that so far so good. But once you get that treasure, you realise that it's worth... nothing. You don't need the money, the gems are indifferent and the armor works as well as any other armor. Ho hum.

The same goes for the combat system: the slate is wiped clean after every encounter, so there's never any reason to fear anything you encounter. I've been playing both RPGs and CRPGs since the late 1980s, and coming from that kind of experience, I couldn't help but find this a little bit disappointing. In the northwestern part of the map, there's a cave with ancient vampires (I mean fampyrs) in it, and this should be terrifying. But it's not: they have absolutely no power to harm you in any way that persists beyond the encounter.

Now, the system is built upon reasonable premises and within them, it works really well. So there's nothing wrong in that sense. It's just that I don't think you can create a true sense of dangerous, heartbreaking and ultimately epic adventure with a system like that, because things are fundamentally too safe and everything is basically the same as everything else. (And I also know that other systems have their own problems, I'm not naive.)

There was a lower level in Pahowane, and you can clearly get there somehow, but I never found out how. This may be a mystery that lingers long for me, and I think it's nice.

So, yeah, definitely a very good game and well worth the time and money. I'm almost certainly never going to start it again, though.

PS. Bonus points and a big thumbs-up for the chance to solve so many quests without violence.

PPS. Seriously disappointed about the extraordinarly clumsy endings for some of the quests and/or the inability to do anything sensible with some items (Beza's pages, and that buried fruit thing on one of the islands).

PPPS. Disappointed about the commercial performance of the game. It would have deserved a lot better -- so much effort went into this, and so much of it was clearly sincere and well thought-out. I'm sure there are some shattered folks at Obsidian, and I feel empathy for them.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

so why not post this on story spoiler section?

deadfire is a miracle of rpg like witcher1

it was everything poe was trying to be and for the most part succeeded

eothas stood against volcano and tsunami are the best moment in the main story

deadfire have the best faction and major city in recent years

there are some bad idea in deadfire of course

such as sidekick,hunting season quest,ship to ship combat,higher ar and pen in higher difficulty,weird new skill system and bounty

the lower level of Pahowane are accessed by vtc quest after ashen maw

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with most of what you say, aside from being shocked by some preferences - not doing Forgotten Sanctum because there is nothing to gain... is beyond my ability to understand :-). Especially, as you claim to care for story more then gameplay. 

I generally like the changes to the systems they did in Deadfire. However, they did struggle with finding a right difficulty balance. I dislike were it ultimately led, with HP floats in megabosses and DLCs. Having beaten those recently, I must say it was not experience I enjoyed, as megabosses tend to keep “a surprise” until late into the combat (like spider giving injuries, or mage unlocking all sigils permanently) which meant you lost a lot of time just to get screwed by something you couldn’t know was coming. 

I really enjoyed how Deadfire handled items - I found it simply better then other games, and I found myself constantly torn by what to equip. Unlike yourself, I find myself short on money, as I do tend to upgrade a lot of items I find. I never sell uniques. 

This game still surprises me. Recently, I wrapped up my third playthrough, this time as Hunter from White that Wends, and ended up supporting Huana. I saw Takehu developers in a different way then usual, and while I quite disliked him before, the transformation and arc he got this time, was quite compelling. 

I thought that the Woedica addition they made in the last patch, help a lot. Too bad, they didn’t quite nail the sound work, and the new lines when talking to Eothas (be it new new or related to DLCs) sound noticeably different both and sound and volume, played back to back with original content. 

My main gripe is the ending, and overall lack of narrative forward momentum. I would happily trade one of the DLC, for an expanded Ukaizo which would better flesh out choices you have made throughout your journey. I also disliked how returning companions’ various endings from PoE1 got reduced in scope. There was a promise of change and development that was squashed. I almost wish, they would simply stick to one ending they would find more fitting to Deadfire and develop that, rather then what they did. The fact, that my first playthrough was with endings which really seemed to draw a short straw (Eder being a governor, Pallegina a kind wayfarer, Aloth suppressing Isylmir, and taking over the Leaden Key) might have contributed to this dislike. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Wormerine said:

I agree with most of what you say, aside from being shocked by some preferences - not doing Forgotten Sanctum because there is nothing to gain... is beyond my ability to understand :-). Especially, as you claim to care for story more then gameplay. 

I thought that the Woedica addition they made in the last patch, help a lot. Too bad, they didn’t quite nail the sound work, and the new lines when talking to Eothas (be it new new or related to DLCs) sound noticeably different both and sound and volume, played back to back with original content.

 

I understand why you feel that my approach (or at least this particular choice) is contradictory, so maybe an explanation is in order. I do indeed prefer story over pretty much everything else, but for me, one of the key elements of the story is the development / evolution of the main character. And once the level cap is reached in a CRPG, there's not much room for development. By the time I got to the Forgotten Sanctum, I had already done everything else (that I could see) in the whole game, and reaching that level cap made me lose interest, as I couldn't see anything significant happening for  my main character or my NPCs. Also, the early part of the FS didn't grip me in the same way that the Beast of Winter did -- I mean, that was a fantastic DLC, a really good story. But yeah, who knows, maybe I did make a mistake in not going further in the FS. That's definitely a possibility.

I also noticed the changes in sound when talking to Eothas, and I was pretty sure the inconsistency had to do with old / new lines. Thanks for verifying that.

I agree with the lack of forward momentum. There is a contradiction in the very fabric of the game: on the one hand, there's this Eothas thing that calls for fixing ASAP, but on the other hand, there's this archipelago you might want to sort of explore at your leisure. Those two don't really go together. I didn't mind it very much in the end, but it definitely is a noticeable contradiction.

Thanks for your comment, it was a good read!

Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

I agree with the lack of forward momentum. There is a contradiction in the very fabric of the game: on the one hand, there's this Eothas thing that calls for fixing ASAP, but on the other hand, there's this archipelago you might want to sort of explore at your leisure. Those two don't really go together. I didn't mind it very much in the end, but it definitely is a noticeable contradiction.

Thanks for your comment, it was a good read!

Thanks! Always nice to have a nice conversation.

Didn't mean to criticise your way of enjoying your single player game. It is just something I don't understand (even after further explanation;-). Well, Forgotten Sanctum is neat, and throws some interesting lore and possible PoE3 teases, but it isn't a very plot driven adventure - at least not like BoW, which had a very nice flow of story beats, development, misdirections, revelations etc. FS is more of a dungeon with some really interesting stuff in it.

The conflict is there, but when refering to momentum, I more refered to lack of development. I blame it on how open the game is. There is a lot of good stuff in it, with interesting ideas, characters, even companions arc, but because the game's so open, there is little in terms of linear development. Game presents a lot of interesting leads, but doesn't have a chance to follow up on them.

You praised BoW, and rightfully so: it's biggest strength is its focus. Because, there is limited way in which you can progress through it, certain story beats and character developments (be it Ydwin or Vatnir) have been nicely spread, prepared and paid off. That is something the base game lacks, consisting of smaller quests and ideas, which do fit together, but never flow.  

Curiously enough, according to Josh, Deadfire wasn't designed to be that open - at the start, player were constrained to were they could go, until they progressed through the content, and eventually they opened it up, as there was no reason to block player's progress. I feel something must have been omitted when developing the story... like too much time was devoted to what the worlds metaphisycal and political situation is, and not enough on what the story is and what it should be about. 

As a side note, as you just completed Deadfire you probably missed Josh's post-mortem, which I think is an interesting watch.

https://jesawyer.tumblr.com/post/185500604851/the-deadfire-post-postmortem

Link to post
Share on other sites

Money-wise, I suspect they were expecting you to spend a lot of it on your ship upgrades. If you don't do that, then yeah you'll probably have a lot left over. Personally I'd like to have seen more sites blocked from weaker ships by tough foes.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgotten Sanctum is worth it, I think I liked it better than Beast of Winter ... though BoW did have the biggest surprise / expansion of Eora's lore in my mind, and that is what made it so great, it would be hard to top the moment when I walked onto the Burning Bridge :)  Not to mention it incorporated less of an exploration element and more of a puzzle element.  I especially thought BoW did well with giving you the options to jump through it quickly to finish, or if that was too tough to find others ways to make escaping easier.  The story of Forgotten Sanctum caught my interest more than BoW's story and of course I enjoy exploring so as a dungeon it had way more for me to do.

I enjoyed Seeker Slayer Survivor a lot - but you are totally correct, if you aren't into combat there is not much there in the way of narrative - but strangely I found that Seeker Slayer Survivor pays of the most storywise to those who have invested heavily in skills and attributes - I ended up locked out of many paths do to my balanced approach lol.  I did beat every fight on PoTD but there were moments where I wanted to give up - it got really hard in a few cases so am bragging a little lol (disclaimer:  it was hard for me obviously other people just breezed through it :)

Funny enough when it comes to this final run that I am taking through the game trying to finish all content on PoTD with an experience reduction mod, the game has been moving so much slower and interesting enough I am not experiencing nearly as many moment where I feel the narrative is lacking.  I did watch the post-mortem and I think it is a reply to the criticism.  First impressions are first impressions and I definitely felt that the rushed Eothas narrative didn't fit well with the open exploration when I first picked up the game, but for some reason this time I am not feeling it at all.  Maybe once I started ignoring it I really noticed how well done the individual stories and narratives combined with the slower pace of combat on PoTD fill themselves out.

I think I will someday do another playthrough, and I am going to try to do the majority of the game without combat to see what happens for fun!  All in all

 

“How do you 'accidentally' kill a nobleman in his own mansion?"

"With a knife in the chest. Or, rather, a pair of knives in the chest...”

The Final Empire, Mistborn Trilogy

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, rjshae said:

Money-wise, I suspect they were expecting you to spend a lot of it on your ship upgrades. If you don't do that, then yeah you'll probably have a lot left over.

 

That is indeed possible. However, while playing the game, there was never a moment when I felt it was necessary to upgrade my ship. The Defiant could outrun all pursuers, and if I wanted to fight (which I obviously did), I could always choose the boarding option, which I greatly preferred over the rather lacklustre ship-to-ship combat. So, why upgrade?

 

@Wormerine: Thanks a lot for that link! Josh's post-mortem was interesting indeed, although I did skip some of it. I was especially impressed by how forthright he was, and how he didn't seem to have any qualms about bringing up the failures of the game (ship-to-ship combat, for instance) and taking responsibility (for the narrative flaws, especially).

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, bringingyouthefuture said:

Forgotten Sanctum is worth it, I think I liked it better than Beast of Winter ... though BoW did have the biggest surprise / expansion of Eora's lore in my mind, and that is what made it so great, it would be hard to top the moment when I walked onto the Burning Bridge :) 

I enjoyed Seeker Slayer Survivor a lot - but you are totally correct, if you aren't into combat there is not much there in the way of narrative - but strangely I found that Seeker Slayer Survivor pays of the most storywise to those who have invested heavily in skills and attributes - I ended up locked out of many paths do to my balanced approach lol.

I agree, the Burning Bridge section was one of the highlights of the entire game. It was just extremely well done, and I absolutely loved the way you could explore the bridge from three different points in time. I also think the Inquisitor storyline in BoW was really well done, too, and in fact it was one of those that might be worth a replay: I played a monk with a philosopher background and made my choices on that basis, and obviously a different character would make different choices.

One of the things that made me carry on with SSS was Konstanten: I think his voice acting is superb. He sounds like a very likeable strongman with plenty of experience and a fairly simple but joyous (i.e. not nasty) sense of humour, and he was just a pleasure to have around. In fact, this sidekick thing may well have been one of the factors that contributed to me not pressing further with the FS: Fassina did not seem pleasant. Like, at all. I understand that she's very frustrated, and there's nothing wrong with that, but would anyone agree that when she talks, she sounds like a complainer? And that's just something I don't want in my group. (Ydwin was very good in BoW and made the story feel more substantial. I never had Vatnir in my group, so no comments on him.)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with those saying that FS should not be skipped, it is IMO the best part of Deadfire (with the notable exception of the Bridge Ablaze). I'm currently finishing my second full playthrough and I'm loving going back to the Black Isle.

I also strongly agree with @Wormerine about itemization, it is one of the game's major strengths. Comparatively, Pathfinder and Divinity are miles behind in this department (well, in almost every department IMO, but that is more arguable I guess).

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dukeisaac said:

I also strongly agree with @Wormerine about itemization, it is one of the game's major strengths. Comparatively, Pathfinder and Divinity are miles behind in this department (well, in almost every department IMO, but that is more arguable I guess).

In what way are they miles behind?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

In what way are they miles behind?

In terms of diversity, function and an intangible "coolness" factor. If memory serves, in DOS (I didn't play the second one), items mostly only add small bonus percentages and are quickly made irrelevant as you level up. In pathfinder, they follow the typical +X bonus, with little added mechanics.

I find that the POE series does a much better job with items. They are more interesting (as they often provide abilities that are usually gated behind class), can be enchanted as to remain useful for the whole game and are just cooler (descriptions, lore, imagery, design, etc.)

Just my opinion :)

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, fair enough. I know nothing about DOS, so I can't comment on that, but I see where you're coming from with P:K. Looking at it that way, you're obviously right: there is more variety in POE & Deadfire, no question.

Edited by xzar_monty
Link to post
Share on other sites

To some extend the way items are handled might be the case of preference, though I would agree that the way Deadfire implemented items fits more the overall game structure and progression.

Personally, I am not much into making my character more powerful - I treat leveling system as a way to define my character, but I don’t look forward to leveling because of getting more powerful. I like my enemies to pose an engaging and fun challenge, and so I would be interested in an RPG which abandons numerical powercreep entirely, and uses levels to expand your and enemies tactical options, instead of just giving flat bonuses to rolls.

I mention it, because I don’t enjoy finding weapons which are simply better then what I have. Looters fail to engage me, and if I find a weapon which simply replaces my previous one, I don’t find it rewarding. Remembering BG2 I liked having multiple weapons with different effects I would use for different situations, but I didn’t enjoy finding weapons which would make the rest obsolete.

As such Deadfire is a perfect system for me, giving plenty of interesting weapons, which synergise with different builds or strategies. It also encourages to have couple weapons at hand. 

However, like most of the systems in those kind of RPGs - you don’t really need to engage with this system to get by. It might be the case of the difficulty being too low, but at the same time you wouldn’t want to fall into trap of requiring to have certain weapons to win, I found great satisfaction of equipping my team for megabosses, and seeing my team counter enemies with a smart application of weapons. 

A benefit of turn-based mode, is that such things are easier to track. Weapon effects are easily noticeable, while in RtwP majority of player will loose track of what’s happening in the noise (I know I usually do). 

i also love that Deadfire doesn’t punish switching weapons - proficiencies don’t contribute to your chance to hit (for the most part) so one isn’t reliant on meta-knowledge. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Wormerine said:

Personally, I am not much into making my character more powerful - I treat leveling system as a way to define my character, but I don’t look forward to leveling because of getting more powerful. I like my enemies to pose an engaging and fun challenge, and so I would be interested in an RPG which abandons numerical powercreep entirely, and uses levels to expand your and enemies tactical options, instead of just giving flat bonuses to rolls.

Back in the day, there was a game called Dungeon Master where you never even saw your experience points or where you gained them from. It was a very innovative system and a great, great game for its time. It's a bit of a shame that the idea hasn't lasted.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have nowt aginst people who want to be as powerful as possible, more power to you. But yeah... that doesn't interest me. I prefer to be an adventurer with no special skills. A regular charva you know? I think that's why Neverwinter Nights and it's expansions appeal to me a lot, you're just A GUY.  You have to work your way up.

I think it works in Baldurs Gate because even though you're a 'son of a god' or whatever, nobody treats you taht way, you're treat like a pathetic worm. In POE everyone is in awe of you without you earning it, being a watcher doesn't even make you particularly powerful, it just makes you a nutter.

nowt

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not special compared to NPCs and/or enemies of that level I guess.

Afaik only the Watcher has some abilities that are unique. And they are pretty meh by the way. ;)

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, ArnoldRimmer said:

So you never level up??? That would be the only way to play the game without special skills

I think it refers to overall theme, treatment of hero and its relative power to enemies around him.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...