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In an Action RPG, combat is the bread and butter. In the end that's what you spend 90% of the time doing. All the gameplay mechanics you're talking about fall into either combat, or usability, so I'm not sure what you're drawing a line against here.

 

I can't comment on the co-op aspects as I haven't tried it myself, but;

(a) definitely agree keymapping should have been in at the start, at least Obs have said they'll put it in a patch soon;

(b) armour does change appearance. I've seen every part of Katarina change appearance 2-3 times in playing 2-3 hours. Different tiers have different appearances, but you can't expect every piece to look different, its randomsied and there are thousands of variations.

© tbh with the boss fights/healing it sounds like you haven't got the hang of it yet. I'm finding that I don't even bother picking up the healing orbs, and I'm hardly playing the most durable character in Katarina. You can use block or dodge, you can equip items that increase armour, block or stamina (HP), you can use your own healing ability (that you can upgrade with proficiencies and talents to make more effective), you can take advantage of your friend/companion's (e.g. Anjali's fire AOE), etc. The system in DS3 is that when you're low on HP, you don't run away somewhere and hide and wait for regen or pop a potion, you keep fighting and use that as a way to refill your focus/power & get some healing going (or hope for orb drops).

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In an Action RPG, combat is the bread and butter. In the end that's what you spend 90% of the time doing. All the gameplay mechanics you're talking about fall into either combat, or usability, so I'm not sure what you're drawing a line against here.

 

I can't comment on the co-op aspects as I haven't tried it myself, but;

(a) definitely agree keymapping should have been in at the start, at least Obs have said they'll put it in a patch soon;

(b) armour does change appearance. I've seen every part of Katarina change appearance 2-3 times in playing 2-3 hours. Different tiers have different appearances, but you can't expect every piece to look different, its randomsied and there are thousands of variations.

 

Edited by dark
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No, you are wrong, Combat is not the only aspect of the games mechanics, and this includes key binding, Camera options and Healing as part of those mechanics that are required for an RPG game.

Healing is part of the combat mechanics since it affects your survival. The rest aren't what I would call gameplay mechanics, more like important features.

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Played for 4 hours today and I enjoy it a lot. I like the story so far, way better than DA2 Story. Atmosphere is also great and combat is a lot of fun. I will write more tomorrow. ;)

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Again not much fun factor here when you’re dying, and oh yea, you don’t spawn back in, you have to start all over again from the last save point.

 

Ew, really? No other console ARPG does it this way from what I remember...

 

I thought in BG DA you could run to a save point to respawn a team mate. Same with CoN, and it's sequel.

 

You can resurrect teammates directly. I think he means if all of you die. Though there are definitly some bosses where it makes an autosave before the fight.

Edited by C2B
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So, I know this will seem like a weird question concerning an Action RPG, but since this is an Obsidian game I believe it is justified. How is the story/characters? Are they both well-written? How are these aspects compared to say Fallout New Vegas? Okay that was more than one question, but any impressions would be most welcome.

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So, I know this will seem like a weird question concerning an Action RPG, but since this is an Obsidian game I believe it is justified. How is the story/characters? Are they both well-written? How are these aspects compared to say Fallout New Vegas? Okay that was more than one question, but any impressions would be most welcome.

 

They are. New Vegas is more complex in several things but at the same time DSIII is really well constructed. I would actually say in terms of moral ambiguity its the finest Obsidian title so far. Even as a "good" charachter its way more justifiable to let Jeyne live/go free/make an alliance with than for example Cesar.

Edited by C2B
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Just reached Stonebridge and.... it's beautiful. Really. Videos don't do it justice.

 

Also would fit right in a 3D Arcanum.... *tears*

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(playing on Hardcore)

Reinhart Stuff

 

Reinhart is godmode once you empower Geometry of Annihilation and get the passive that bless you with power for crits. It's ridiculously damaging, it stuns, and it fully refreshes all your power orbs multiple times through out its duration (if you take the duration upgrade). And I completely ignored the Enfeeble --> Life Leach line of passives which will probably keep you fully healed with a good Geometry placement.

 

Empowered Mirror Leap with damage reflection is also very, very damn good. It distracts bosses, deals decent damage, and it seems to apply the "Charged" status if you took that passive. I love how it allowed me to effortlessly resurrect Anjali in boss fights.

 

Perpetual Motion is fantastic and really helps you with Focus management as you bounce around - with the right evolution it almost fills up a focus bar by itself. Towards late game when you are literally getting Power Orbs at a much faster rate than focus, it is a godsend.

 

His only weakness from what I had a brief comparison with other characters is single target damage and CQC - he isn't bad at it, but he doesn't seem to be the single target annihilator that is Lucas with his Executioner's Heroic Charge spam. At long range he is reliant on his little lightning sphere spell, which while does decent spike damage (I've had it critting for 1k-2k towards the end), has a ridiculous cast time that makes it risky to use against bosses who can one shot you back with their own moves (especially the spear tossing bastards). At close range he shoots Electrocute sith style, but it isn't that much stronger than the Entropic variant that is Empowered Destruction (which seems to hit only for a little less but also has bigger range and hits in AoE). Only advantage to Electrocute is its empowered version will stunlock a target for you.

 

Special note for his trap spell - it's really useful early game to deal with melee (I went for damage, and isn't very useful compared to Geometry once Geometry is maxed. The empowered version was really awkward to use as most enemies detonated the pre-placed traps too soon.

 

Overall, I like how Reinhard was designed. I built him as an AoE glass cannon and he did just that, eventually I could even use my AoE spells to deal with heavy single target opponents that charged me. I can also see how he can be built as a really tanky mage. My only regret for building him was evolving the trap - it was useful, but I think the healing spell evolutions would have ultimately served me better for kiting. I also see how he can be turned into a really nice tank with all those self-healing abilities he can stack. He works very, very well with agility due to the power granting passive and the agility into ability DPS conversion passive - I kept his crit rate at his entropic stance at least 20% through out the game and it really paid off - its weird for a mage, but I really think Agility is his main attribute due to those two abilities. Its just incredibly cost effective from both gear and point expenditure perspective. My only criticism of his design would be the Lightning Strike evolutions and Arc Lightning splash evolution. Lightning Strike Bolt evolutions are simply not very useful for any build style (the animation leaves him too vulnerable even with the stun, the bounce turns it into a half-arsed "maybe" AoE spell that will be, pound for pound, left in the dust by entropic AoE spells). Arc Lightning splash evolution looks like its basically a poor man's Creative Destruction.

 

 

Playing Lucas now next. Despite all obsession with glass cannons, I am trying to see if I can build him legitimately (isn't forced to dodge dance) tanky. He definitely needs to stack up that armor, and he definitely can tank minibosses better thanks to spamming that Shield bash, but his survivability in groups seems to be completely dependent on the stagger/knockback from his twohander. On the bright side, despite focusing almost entirely on defensive gear, he hits much harder than Reinhart (albeit at lower AoE). His Will to Attack DPS conversion allows him to doubledip off Will attribute for boosting attack damage; and the ability to turn the Sword Dash and Execution Charge into naturally very high crit chance abilities completely removes the need for agility on him. He *destroys* bosses and groups with those two abilities alone, it's quite humorous to watch. He generates power very nicely thanks to getting hit all the time, his only weakness seems to be focus generation - you gotta swing that sword a lot. Perhaps the % to gain focus passives help significantly with that, but they are competing with heal/damage avoidance passives in my book. I'll decide later.

 

Some other spoilerish observations/questions:

 

1. Companion order seems to be a victim of rushed game design. Anjali feels like she has the most central relation to the main storyline, and you always get her as your first companion. (If you play her, you get Lucas in the cage just like in the demo.) Katarina always seems to come after the bridge once you finish the first act. My only question is who comes instead of Katarina if you play as her - I hope it's Reinhart because otherwise he gets rather jipped on available spotlight time as a companion. I don't think it will even be possible to reach the final influence bonus deed with him if he always comes in as the last recruitable companion.

 

2. Heart of Naggog - is there any consequence to not destroying it other than missing quest XP? As it stands, blowing it up makes the Gunderic fight much harder (he becomes immune to regular attacks and hits much harder), but you can just destroy it after the fight which makes that particular decision completely pointless. Perhaps the choice with it that he drops better loot if killed in his "hard" mode? Hard to tell thanks to the random generator.

 

3. I salute the writers/voice actor on the Dapper Old Gent. His overall design and relevant plot decision are probably the best in the game - there was some real conflict between what you feel for the guy, his actions, and the ideals/practicality involved in both choices. Probably the greyest in terms of ambivalent morality character I've seen in an RPG for quite some time; I could have made very pragmatic arguments for either of his decisions, and on the emotional aspect I felt rather sorry him despite his decidedly unscrupulous behavior.

 

 

Story has good basics behind it, but it felt rushed. The game feels like its missing a third act - the "first act" up to reaching Stonebridge feels nice, the Glitterdale/Stonebridge feel like they are halves of the same act, and then the game just jumps straight to the concluding area and final boss fight. IMO it really needed something between "gathering allies" phase and "END JAYNE KASSYNDER" phase; to pad out both the gameplay and inject some more story. Main 4 characters plots is another reason I say it felt rushed - Reinhart basically gets throwaway lines to him being a college man, Katarina mostly looks like she gets stuff only in the first act, Lucas I don't know yet but I suspect he got the full Reinhart treatment, Anjali's bits feel essentially central to the whole plot arc overall. An overall effect is that characters felt more one dimensional than they should have been - Anjali being the most developed and yet you can summarize her by "worships Odo, proud warrior-race lady version of justice/honor, and really wants to killi Jayne Kassynder." You can tell there is supposed to be more to her with a few comments she makes, but those are about the only angles that get emphasized on her as evidenced by her allotted influence gains.

 

The "idealist vs. pragmatist" angle was a nice idea, I daresay more interesting than Mass Effect's Renegade/Paragon (which came down to mr. nice guy vs. being a complete and total **** for the sake of being a ****.) Like other story aspects, it simply needed more meat on its bones.

 

Gameplay observations - based on one full play through and hints I am getting from starting the other one

 

The basics behind combat are a highlight despite their simplicity, a good blend of typical brawler action games and Diablo-clones. After a while I felt the controls were perfectly fine with Keyboard-Mouse, the only issue through out the game was the camera - it zoomed it at the worst times, and its rotation is awkward; and I think it could have benefited from a slightly bigger zoom-out. Ability design felt top-notch - nearly every skill felt useful (though some evolutions/passives seem useless), characters (from looking over at their basics, haven't play tested it) all seem capable in combat with distinct feels between them.

 

The major faults is that combat feels a bit too easy after you get used to it, item variety is atrocious (Chaos items seem like a nice idea, but I haven't felt any effect from equipping them and the prevalence of standard attribute items made most of them feel like filler) - the only trade off decisions are really if you want crits or not (perhaps this will change with Lucas and armor attribute). Late game, resource management seems to evaporate, but that might have been a pacing intention all along - you certainly feel tremendously powerful when you can fire off your strongest abilities non-stop; and this isn't exactly an ARPG that is designed to have an extended max level end-game. Blocking is pointless outside of early game where you use it to charge up your power orbs with better focus efficiency than abilities.

 

Overall, combat has good basis of ideas and mostly good execution. There doesn't seem to be a reason to block when you can dodge (dodgerolls need nerfs, increasing ocoldown or something, it trivializes the difficulty once you get the rhythm of timing it) - you gain power spheres like candy later on, and sacrificing other useful attributes for raising block seems counter-productive. If this game ever gets a sequel, I hope it keeps expanding in that direction; no need to compete with Diablo likes between all the Diablo related games that are coming out; DS3 found a good niche here imo. I also highly suggest expanding enemy variety and boss variety - almost every boss follows a "telegraph, throw super high damage AoE, projectile, or charge" pattern.

 

Item design needs work, probably. Not very varied, Chaos system is a cool concept, but it neither feels powerful nor is there any relevant feedback on the exact numbers of its abilities.

 

UI wise - more number feedback. Some abilities flat out say what the do with zero numerical support behind them to help you judge the value of investment. Ditto for equipment stuff like Retribution, various stuns, all the chaos abilities.

 

 

Now, I still gotta do about 2.5 more playthroughs, but I doubt my initial impressions will change that much. At most I might change my opinion on various item types. I do hope this game sells well enough to get a proper sequel to it with a stronger budget/time allocation to it. It had a ton of good ideas, with relatively good to great execution where it occurred, but it really needs more content/work overall to fully judge Obsidian's abilities in the genre.

 

Oh, and P.S. - I haven't encountered a single bug. Jesus Christ, this game was well polished from the technical aspect. Not the prettiest looking, not the cleanest UI, but this game could practically set an industry standard on how to not ship games with bugs.

 

P.P.S. - ok, this post came out way bigger than originally anticipated

Edited by toastification
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Now at Stonebridge, Level 15. Quick thoughts:

 

(1) Game definitely looks really good, has pretty much zero technical problems, and the combat is definitely simple but fun - does nothing particularly sophisticated but everything clicks into place.

 

(2) It looks like the game is quite short, seeing as I'm level 15 already, though levelling may slow later on. I'm expecting between 13-15 hours, which is only barely acceptable given the replayability with C&C and different characters and co-op. "Real" playing hours would probably be longer, though, since I'm dying a fair bit on hardcore.

 

(3) Speaking of hardcore, challenging. In a good way. Never hair-pulling 'what am I meant to do' hard, so you're not frustrated when you reload, you're raring to go because you know you can do it.

 

(4) IMO Camera is completely fine, PC controls are bad but ocne you get used to it definitely playable. This changes a lot based on the individual, though. But certainly the camera never spins into weird places, gets stuck, etc. Definitely wish it was a bit more flexible to show off those vistas, at the present you pretty much feel like you'r enot even meant to see them.

 

(5) Writing gets better, though I wouldn't say great, yet. Some interesting setups and political stuff, and voiceacting is generally OK. There are definitely choices - conseequences, we shall see.

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(3) Speaking of hardcore, challenging. In a good way. Never hair-pulling 'what am I meant to do' hard, so you're not frustrated when you reload, you're raring to go because you know you can do it.
The difficulty doesn't increase linearly thorough the game. It instead goes off the cliff once you hit the last part.

I breezed through the content on Hardcore with Anjali until I got to Warbeast, that's when I died first time. From there on it was a real struggle.

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Out of curiosity Tru, if you've cleared it (or at least got quite a bit past where I am as it seems),

 

I've just reached Stonebridge and I have a choice between which quest I do now. Choices consisting of helping Stonebridge or Glitterdelve. I also avoided the one side-quest I gained on the way, but I intend to do that.

 

Compared to the first act/part, how much more game have I got left for the remaining parts of the game? I'm hoping act 2 is at least as long as act 1, with act 3 being assumingly short as is normal.

 

Currently, I've played for 7 hours and 40 minutes. I'm doing everything I can and playing on hardcore. However, as I'm level 15, I'm assuming there may not be as much content in act 2 as there was in act 1. Unless the exp needed for levelling starts to ramp up a fair bit.

Edited by Dan_CW
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Out of curiosity Tru, if you've cleared it (or at least got quite a bit past where I am as it seems),

 

I've just reached Stonebridge and I have a choice between which quest I do now. Choices consisting of helping Stonebridge or Glitterdelve. I also avoided the one side-quest I gained on the way, but I intend to do that.

 

Compared to the first act/part, how much more game have I got left for the remaining parts of the game? I'm hoping act 2 is at least as long as act 1, with act 3 being assumingly short as is normal.

 

Currently, I've played for 7 hours and 40 minutes. I'm doing everything I can and playing on normal. However, as I'm level 15, I'm assuming there may not be as much content in act 2 as there was in act 1. Unless the exp needed for levelling starts to ramp up a fair bit.

 

If you are done with one of the two you have done a little more than 50% of the game.

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Is there some kind of bonus/reward for playing hardcore, like many games have?

 

There is an achievment tied to it. Apart from that I don't know as I'm playing on normal.

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Apart from that I don't know as I'm playing on normal.

 

I'm playing Lucas on hardcore now and it is more enjoyable than ever, every single click, motion and ability usage is even more important than before and if you are skillful enough you can still win engagements without losing a significant amount of health, if any. It's all up to you.

 

It feels really good, this is like discovering a whole new ARPG sub-genre.

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According to Steam I've charted 11 hours now (I'm trying to do every side quest in this game)- Just finished Stonebridge and I'm heading to the Glitterdelve mines thing. I really loved the Stonebridge quests- it was where the game really picked up for me.

 

Now that I'm used to the controls I gotta say I love the combat. This game and Divinity 2 DKS have some of the best ARPG combat I've seen in ages, it's fun and tactical and the rpg elements work well to layer the game. Plus I like that the game forces you to be aggressive and doesn't really allow you to just run around the map waiting for stats to regen like Div2 and other arpgs do- hated how Witcher 2 was just spam quen and kite around the map till vigor regens (at least that's how it seems so far). Maybe it's not the party based combat of the original or whatever- but man it works well. I hope that AI companions can't revive you on hardcore though since I felt it was a bit of a crutch on normal (didn't stop me from dying a few times to some bosses though- the boss encounters felt very old school and fun).

 

Not sure how I feel about the story though- it's kinda cliched but executed well (kinda like Bioware stories), I do hope we get some more Obsidian style, more morally grey, thought provoking stuff (I really hope JEYNE KASSYNDER is more than just a big evil dark lord on her throne of spikes)

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