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My thoughts - Amazing! yet disappointing


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So I just finished the game and I want to order my thoughts. so I figured I'd do it here. Some major spoilers ahead!

 

Where to begin... Overall I thought the first half(more like two thirds) were amazing. The second half however, was very lackluster. if I currently had to sum up this game, it would be: Amazing yet disappointing.

 

I'm doing all this by heart, so I'm probably forgetting 90%. These are however the things that stuck with me.

 

[spoilers ahead]

 

Story/Quests/worldbuilding

I greatly enjoyed the story and most of the quests, up to a point. The point it really began to falter, was when i got to the elms - doing all this by heart, so i'm using a liberal interpretation of all the names ;). Up till that point every area was filled with character, ambiance, quests and  greatly impressed me. The only major criticism I have is that most quests lacked follow-through and impact on the world. Let me try to explain that by using an example. I did the Dozen quest line. It consisted of 2-3 quests only and then - nothing. They would let in their meeting, but that's about it. If you went back, nothing changed, no additional content. The same for nearly everything else. Once I finished all the quests in that first town and I had a reputation of (super) hero, I went back to check on them, but nothing, just some extra villagers walking around - no extra content. 

The only quest that had some follow-through, was that ruler of the first village (Raedric or something?). That quest however was done in 1 minute and felt sorely lacking. For me, going back to old places and seeing how I changed them, followed by getting new content, helps a great deal with world immersion. 

 

When I got to the elms I went looking for quests but found very few. Its a huge area, but there is so little to do. The quests there are, are mostly walk there -> talk/fight -> walk back quests. The quests in the first half of the game where way more interesting and fun. So i figured I'd follow the main questline. This sadly was also lacking. I did all four god quests. All of them You could do in 30-60 mins. I found the conversations with the gods themselves the most interesting parts of the chapter. The whole elms just felt kind of dead and unfinished - which is also why I tried to go back to old areas - see the points I made in the previous paragraph.

When I went to burial island I figured it would pick up again, but sadly enough it didn't. A short dungeon, some uninspiring enemies and 30-60 minutes later I was standing in front of the final boss. The story felt cut short.

 

Oh yea, that endless dungeon was a total grind for me. I got to level 8 or 9 and quit there. I really wasn't worth my time.

 

Characters

I loved most of the characters. I especially loved how they actually seemed to care, ask you question, got mad at you and disagreed with you - they really seemed to have their own personality. I especially loved the priest character. He gets tired of your questions if you ask too many, he gets mad at you and at times even acts like a **** - I felt he was really well done. The fighter and wizard were a bit too generic for my taste, but I guess you need those too. Over really well done.

The only possible criticism I could have here, is that their personally goals felt extremely trivial and you didn't really have to go out of your way to solve them

 

Gameplay

Again, something I greatly enjoyed. It really felt like a more smooth version of the old infinity engine games. Something that really pissed me of personally however, was that You couldn't  use a cape AND and amulet. I also felt like boots/gloves/helms where all a bit too trivial. The equipment system basically was armor/weapons, with a minor part for the trinkets. I love decking out my characters with equipment, so this was a bit of a disappointment. 

At a certain point, looting also felt like a grind. You find so much stuff, but the difference between gear is relatively small. I just stopped checking if new gear was better then what I had about halfway through the game. I'd check once in a while, but it generally made very little difference. So yea, the whole 'equipment' thing could use a few tweaks and/or some extra depth.

 

As for the classes, I loved most of them. All classes where interesting and fun to play. Chanter however was somewhat underwhelming. A lot of fights are quite quick (nothing wrong with that), the chanter however has to ramp up to use his skills. I felt the ramping up was little too slow - so i kicked him from my party  :devil: .

 

The stronghold part of the game felt rather tacked on. It ultimately doesn't really do anything, it feels like dlc content - I don't like dlc, so thats a bad thing. I would've liked to see this tied (more) into the main story.

 

And last but not least: exploration. While you could explore excising areas, there was a lack of non-storyline areas. You couldn't go north/east/west/south in an area and explore new areas. The only really exception was the part below defiance bay(and maybe the Raedric caste) - I would've liked to see more areas like that.

 

Artstyle/Music

I love the artstyle and the music in some(most) areas also was amazing. 

 

Bugs

I had quite a few bugs. Here the once I remember:

- Assign/recall being mixed up in the stronghold UI - I once recalled someone from a legendary quest because it said I could assign an additional member tot he quest. Little did I know it's a bug and it would recall the character.

- I got stuck in an area and the game would crash if I loaded out of the area - In the whole Readric - or whatever his name was - questline, i took the quest from the priest to free his adopted son -> freed him -> killed a lot of guard and did nearly everything -> went back to the priest. After I took the key from him I couldn't load into other areas accept for the dungeon. 

- Fog of war doesn't disappear - In the before last area I couldn't enter the next area, because the FOW was covering the leave area sign and wouldn't disappear.

- Alt tabbing back into the game sometimes leaves the game with a black screen, after which I have to close the game.

- The whole library wants to kill me - so that scroll told me to bury it and I did. Why does the whole library want to kill me? Doesn't seem to make sense really. Especially since I didn't even tell him yet I buried it.

Most other bugs I encountered are already on the forum, so I'll just leave it at that.

 

To conclude

When I was in the first half of the game I told my friends this was the most amazing game in 5-10 years. Now that I've finished, I have my doubts. I have some major gripes with the story telling and quests. The gameplay, while improved over old IE games, also has some imperfections. If the game could have maintained the level of excellence of the first half, I would totally agree with all the 90-95 scores it's getting on most sites. With the lackluster second half however, it occurs to me that most reviews don't play through the whole game before writing their reviews.

So yea, great game, but far from perfect.

 

So what did everyone else think?

 

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Actually what I noticed is that a lot of reactivity payoff is in the epilogue. Things like (SPOILERS) how well you did at the hearing and what faction you picked really do seem to influence what happens in the end (like the faction I picked took over Defiance Bay afterward, animancers survived after I had defended the well, Heritage Hill was resettled because I destroyed the machine there...). I understand wanting major changes to occur during the game, and generally wanting more of everything, but this is also a 70 hour game made for 4 million dollars. They had stretch goals that were promised to kickstarter backers - like the big dungeon and the second city - and if they seem less dense on content, I'd have to think it was because they could only do so much with the time and money they had and still fulfill all the Kickstarter promises. 4 million dollars is like 1/20th of a modern AAA budget. Maybe it was just having different expectations, but I felt the opposite. I felt amazed that they had done so much with so little.

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Oh, I understand that keeping up such a high level of quality with fairly little resources is hard, that however - with all due respect - isn't my concern. All the planning and promises are done on Obisdians side. If anything, this might have shown the limits and faults of a kickstarter campaign. I'm a customer, not an investor or developer - I only care for the finished product. I have great respect for what obsidian did with limited resources. These limited resources however don't, in my opinion, excuse the quality drop in the end.

But enough about that, I'm making myself forget how much fun I had with the game.

 

I just hope these types of games will catch on again so they will get more funding. On to the even bigger and better expansion (or PoE II)! 

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