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-   -   Neverend - Review @ NL Gaming (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=555)

Dhruin November 9th, 2006 23:46

Neverend - Review @ NL Gaming
 
Mayhem's Neverend has been reviewed at NL Gaming. The score is 74% and the only real drawback seems to be dated graphics:
Quote:

The game has a lot of good ideas like the battle system and the how you are free to chose what to spend your points in the leveling system. However, the graphics hold the game back as most PC RPG's are better looking. If you can get past the graphics then you will discover a world full of side quests and some humor. The storyline is well thought out and has a nice pace throughout the game. With the way you can choose how your character levels and the setting on how hard you want the game to be gives the game a moderate replay value.
More information.

mogwins November 9th, 2006 23:46

So is this s proper RPG then? If so, I'll definitely pick it up. I don't care about dated graphics. In fact, they're a bonus, as Gothic 3 and NWN2 probably won't run on my system!

curious November 10th, 2006 00:41

i picked up a copy off ebay a few months ago but it turned out to be an illegal copy of the european version. i was unable to patch it. and if you saved at all in one of the towns you couldn't load the game again. horrible. i did really enjoy the game though until that point. the main character is voiced well but the rest are quite laughable. i'll probably pick up another copy of it at some point when i have no other games to play. its more of an adventure game with rpg elements i'd say. i have read the review but i'd say that score is fair given that they have fixed the bugs. if you haven't played gods land of infinity i would try that game first. while only somewhat similar it is more polished and definately worth ago. the combat in both is quite similar…though after that. gods is also a full on rpg but has no voice acting unfortunately- great music though, and much prettier

Dhruin November 10th, 2006 04:40

It's generally had a poor response — frankly, I think the graphics are quite nice — but I'd love to hear more opinions about the gameplay from players. Anyone else given it a go?

I'll add that Mayhem have a pretty dubious past, so I'm wary.

Cormac November 10th, 2006 21:09

There's a rather shallow (and negative) review in the latest PcGamer. I too think the graphics are fine but the reviewer couldnt get past them — nor the fact that the game comes from eastern europe. I thought at first it was an adventure game but since learning it's a rpg (or rpg 'lite') I'm also interested.

txa1265 November 10th, 2006 21:22

I've heard bad things as well … but I've been keeping my eyes open for it at a bargain price.

ToddMcF2002 November 10th, 2006 21:27

I'm keeping my eyes open for you buying it at a bargain price and giving feedback. I've heard its…. DL bad?

roqua November 11th, 2006 15:38

Didn't this start off as a Ultima remake?

Dhruin November 11th, 2006 22:29

No. You must be thinking of something else.

Cormac November 11th, 2006 23:50

Well I couldnt even find a demo, whether in english or in french. Has someone had better luck (or better google skills) ?

txa1265 November 12th, 2006 00:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cormac (Post 7127)
Well I couldnt even find a demo, whether in english or in french. Has someone had better luck (or better google skills) ?

Too many people refer to pirating a copy as a demo …

Cormac November 12th, 2006 00:34

I dont get it.

Stanza November 14th, 2006 22:30

First Impressions, part Unh
 
I can offer up some first impressions.

I installed last night. Inserted the first disk, and as soon as I commenced the install, it prompted for disk 2. Then immediately asked for disk 1 again. Then started installing, Then eventually asked for 2 again. Which probably shouldn't be an issue, but my system has long been infected with Starforce thanks to Sacred (Why, Ascaron, why?!?), so the DVD drives take about 30 seconds to wake up after inserting a disk. In the end, half the time to install was spent swapping disks.

Once installed, I tried the usual hopeful test: remove the CDs and try starting the app. And it worked. Yeah, no copy protection! Haven't had that experience since, um… Dungeon Lords. Okay, not a good point of reference.

The only stability problem I've observed is that the app likes to crash when reloading a save — something you'll be doing frequently.

The graphics look perfectly acceptable. There was no revolting bloom or HDR to disable — I find HDR looks horrendous everywhere I've seen it, from games to the security cameras I have to deal with every day. I'll take FSAA over bloom/HDR any day. Sadly, this game does not appear to support antialiasing, though I haven't poked around the INI files, nor have I tried forcing it on through the control panel.

The main character looks fine, but that's only to be expected. Female avatars always get more loving attention in the modeling, texturing, animation, etc. Some of the baddies you'll fighting (various flavors of scrawny, bald "renegades", for example), however, could use more polys in the shoulders and elbows.

Rest assured, though, this game delivers on the two main reasons to buy a fantasy cRPG… Elf Boobies! And in a tight, white shirt! Well okay, so that's really three reasons, but still… Oh, and judging from the associated FMV, it looks like this is one elf that likes to sleep half monty when camping out, and I don't mean gratuitous nipplage. You think she'd at least roll up in a blanket.

Oh, and what's with the Wacko Jacko look? Can't someone give the poor girl a second glove?

Visually, this looks like a typical adventure game. Indeed, camera angles are fixed in town and certain other locations, where your character runs back and forth across the screen. Angles also change randomly. For me, this made navigating the first town infuriating. I hate towns. Especially large towns. Most especially hard to navigate, confusing, unmapped towns. Maybe that's because I've been replaying Daggerfall lately, but I'm sick of running back and forth across the same bloody areas. This game has signs around town — click on them and instantly teleport to one of several key points in town. But to get to all locations, you'll have to learn the proper sequence of camera angles to click through to get to where you want to be. Really, it felt like wandering around in a maze.

The exterior world is top-down, move with the arrow keys. Trees, bushes, and rocks are solid. Can't walk through them. The limited option of only 8 directions of movement makes moving between them cumbersome. Walk under a large tree, and the canopy obscures whatever is blocking your path (probably an invisible wall, but it'd be nice to see what's there).

I expect people will be putting down the combat animations. I don't mind them, but then I have low standards (kinda hard not to be a CRPGer without maintaining low standards). Some of the animations are more than subtly ridiculous, like watching a bandit do a two-handed axe chop into your poor little elf, struggle to yank it free, and back-pedal, leaving the impression, "Oh crap, he killed my elf!" No, she only took a measely one point of damage. Then there's the wolves that charge in and go straight for the crotch. Yeowch.

There are times when you have followers along. Agavaen displays the usual CRPG magical power of being able to stuff 7 tents, 11 swords, 6 suits of armor, a bushel of magic runes, and innumerable potions into her pockets without any unsightly bulges. And your NPC followers as well. Yep, they disappear into your pockets (I hope that's where they hide), and pop back out again for combat.

As for the combat, it is indeed turn-based, although with an odd flavor. You issue a command, then other characters make their moves, then your character finally executes the command you issued. Then the game pauses while you select the next move. I'm finding this annoying, since I frequently say "Go stab that guy!", watch while the current pack of homocidal idiots beat the tar out of my character, then she charges in and does the stabbity thing while I'm now thinking, "No, forget stabbing him! Chug a potion!" So then I issue the chug-a-potion command, only to watch in futility while my poor molested elf suffers death-by-crotch-mauling #104 from evil dude's pet wolf before she can swallow.

Uh-oh, time to reload again. Did I mention you'll be reloading frequently?

Combat works by using arenas. (Ooh, like Gold Box Games!) You line up on one side (along with any helpful NPCs that climb out of your pockets), bad guys on the other, and you take turns smacking each other around. There is no movement strategy — anyone on one side can smack anyone on the other. No ranged weapons, but plenty of spells (almost always fatal when cast by someone on the other side, especially if cast by a female enemy — almost always a one shot kill on me so far).

Meleers charge in, do the hacky-slashy thing, then back-pedal. I think. Kinda looks like they're sliding backwards while playing the "run forwards" animation. Wolves actually try to turn around. Werewolves just stand on their hind legs and slide backwards.

At first I thought all attacks automatically hit. They don't. Melee attacks only have a 99% chance to hit. If you're facing three opponents, you're going to get hit three times. Once you know how much damage certain opponent types deal, you'll know right away whether you can survive the fight, or if you'll die before your first attack. Sure, there were four or five instances where opponents missed me over the course of six hours. I don't think I ever did.

The number of arenas is limited. You'll be seeing the same ones over and over. It's not immediately obvious, since they match up well with wherever you're exploring, but after the first few fights — and after seeing the camera stuck behind the same confounded tree over and over — it becomes obvious. There is also this cinematic aspect, where the camera switches to different view points after every attack. From some angles, it's difficult to click on the target you want pummelized next. Plus there is this annoying camera pass at the start of combat where the camera swirls dramatically around the arena before combat starts. It only lasts a few seconds, but was really getting on my nerves when I was having to rewatch it every thirty seconds — yes, I was reloading that often at times.

The difficulty of combat scales to your level. How exactly, I do not know. After the first town, I started running into fireball chucking bimbos who did 50-80 points of damage in one shot. I only had 110 hit points, and usually faced three at a time (or sometimes only two, with some low-level crotch biter along for the humiliation). I was usually dead before my first attack. By the time I quit for the evening, I was dying 9 out of 10 fights, almost always due to having one or more fireball chuckers in the enemy ranks.

Did things get harder because I left the first town? Passed an invisible trigger on the road to the second town? Leveled-up to sixth level? I don't know. I did head back through the starter zone, and the fireball chuckers were spawning there too, so it was not a regional thing.

Stanza November 14th, 2006 22:30

First Impressions, part Duh
 
The actual mix of opponents is random. I've never faced more than three at a time. I think the arenas are only large enough for three-on-three action. It might be a lone wolf, three wolves, or a wolf/bandit/fireballer combo. I generally finished fights either barely scratched, barely alive, or died instantly. And this was playing the game on normal difficulty. I still don't have a good sense of how the stats work. Combat skills are learn-by-doing, so they will go up gradually as you thump monsters. I was using swords, so that skill was the one improving. Higher skill ratings allow "special moves", though I'm not sure what good they are. They don't do much more damage than the base move, but cost more action points to execute. I had the best luck sticking with the base attack, which is the fastest — if you're fast enough, you get multiple attacks before your opponent responds.

Maybe this changes if the skills or stats are higher, or you're using better than starter weapons. Don't know yet.

Overall, combat is very difficult, got easier as I picked up a few levels, then dramatically worse after the first town. I was thinking it might be an "Arnika Road" experience, that things would get better once I reached the second town and bought better equipment. But it didn't. Newer armor may have helped with the melee opponents, but didn't make much difference with the fireball bimbos. Only bumping up my HPs helped against them — and then only if I ran into one at a time.

(Arnika Road, for the uninitiated, is a part of Wizardry 8 between the starter dungeon and the first town. Traverse it at 5th level, and it's challenging. Do it at 8th level and it's almost impossible, especially for first-time players. Clean out the starter dungeon like a good little RPGer, and your party is almost guaranteed to be 8th level before reaching Arnika Road.)

Combat is also extremely common. Once one fight ends, a new random encounter occurs withing 20 seconds — basically, walk 1 or 2 screen widths to the next fight. You have no warning of random encounters. There are also placed encounters (almost always guarding a chest of goodies), but you literally have to walk your character almost within arm's reach of the monsters to initiate those combats. Unless they're hiding under a tree (and some do), they're easy to spot and easy to avoid.

Buyable equipment appears to be scaled by town. Gaining levels did not open up better equipment in the first town. I only visited the second town once, so no point of reference there. My feeling is that my character ended up too high of level, making combat too hard, and won't have access to comparable equipment until the next town or merchant, wherever that may be. That means early exploring is bad. On the other hand, some placed encounters won't be survivable if you haven't built up a few levels (like the unavoidable Mr. 1000 HP).

I'm not sure what happens if your character dies in combat but your NPCs survive. That only happened once, and I leveled up at the end of the fight due to the XP gain (and leveling-up restores all health), so I popped back to my feet once the big nasty was dead. Mostly you'll be going solo, so don't count on surviving by the grace of joinable NPCs. They, however, disappear if they bite it in battle — you can't even loot their corpses when it's over.

Mind you, this was all done with a melee-oriented character in a six-hour session (hoo-rah for being single!), reaching 8th level by the end of it. I did not experiment with magic much. Spells are limited by runes that you find — you need to consume more runes to increase the max number of spells. Starting as a pure mage seems impossible (resting is limited by single-use tents, which are a precious commodity).

I think I'll start over with a new character tonight and focus more on magic to see if it makes a difference. Try different equipment, boost different stats. Unfortuneately, the learn-by-doing thing makes it look like experimenting with different weapons on the same character is a bad idea. Sigh.

In town, it feels like an adventure game. In the countryside, it's more action RPG (at least as much so as a turn-based game can be).

I did not want this to sound like a rant. Somehow it did. Neverend still holds promise, and is a welcome deviation from the norm, but I can already see the things that will be making me grate my teeth through to the end of the game. I expect to be spending at least a few more evenings playing this. I'm still hopeful the goofiness and quirks will take on a sense of charm, and not aggravation.

Cormac November 15th, 2006 00:50

Thanks for the impressions, Stanza. The combat sounds a bit like something out of a JRPG. I think I'll probably pass, november is already getting expensive what with NWN2, Gothic 3, Knights of the Nine and Medieval 2. (And FYI, txa1265, this doesnt mean I'm going to download a pirated version.)

txa1265 November 15th, 2006 01:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cormac (Post 7859)
(And FYI, txa1265, this doesnt mean I'm going to download a pirated version.)

I don't assume people will pirate unless presented with something that says otherwise. For example, VB constantly talked about how games were 'so boring he deleted them after 5 minutes' …

Cormac November 15th, 2006 02:12

I'm not VB. I posted about looking for the Neverend demo in this thread and you posted this:

Quote:

Originally Posted by txa1265 (Post 7128)
Too many people refer to pirating a copy as a demo …

I assumed you meant that I was actually looking for a pirated copy. I find it insulting because that's calling me a thief and an idiot, since I've been long enough at rpgdot to know what the staff thinks about pirating and that would be sort of stupid to ask in a thread where I can download a copy of the game.
If I assumed wrong please accept my apologies.

ToddMcF2002 November 15th, 2006 04:08

Yeah Mike that comment was almost as offensive as your almost positive rating of Dungeon Lords! LOL jk

txa1265 November 15th, 2006 10:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cormac (Post 7872)
I assumed you meant that I was actually looking for a pirated copy.

Oh - accept MY apologies! I see now that you said "I don't get it" and I didn't reply … it was actually a non-sequitor that had nothing to do with you, and that I made no assumptions about your intentions. Indeed, you said pretty clearly you were looking for a demo. Thus my confusion now.

On topic, there is apparently no demo, and I've been keeping an eye on GoGamer (I seem to remember they had it cheap a while back) and eBay … still don't have it yet.

ToddMcF2002 November 15th, 2006 14:55

I think the devs will be bold and release a demo right after Namco releases one for Mage Knight. All of which will occur following the flight of pigs and spontaneous ice formations in hell.


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