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Default Eschalon: Book II - Review @ IndieRPGs

September 1st, 2010, 13:36
Craig from IndieRPGs points out their review of Eschalon: Book II. The score is 4/5, although I thought the text read lower than that. A snip on dialogue and quests:
You have no Charisma or Personality stat, so there are rarely more than one or two ways a conversation can go. Most conversation trees give you two branches at a time: one “I’m ending this conversation” branch, and one “I’m continuing this conversation” branch. That’s mostly it. Consequently, the hand that guides conversations forward never manages to stay out of sight. You will always know that you are talking with a “Give a Side Quest” or “Advance the Plot” marionette. For a game so plainly about exploration, the inability to meaningfully explore other characters is a major oversight.
This stinginess with dialog options extends to the quests. Just to be clear: the non-dialog-driven quests in Eschalon are nicely non-linear, with multiple ways of achieving the same objective. Entering Port Kuudad, for instance, can be accomplished in a wide variety of different ways, few of them immediately apparent when you first arrive at the outer gates.
But once you start talking to NPCs, all this non-linearity goes out the window. Eschalon reprises one of the problems that plagued the original Baldur’s Gate: encounters that always devolve into fights no matter what you say or do.
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September 1st, 2010, 13:37
Sorry, I don't know much about Escalon, but I had a very similar experience with Baldur's Gate :

Eschalon reprises one of the problems that plagued the original Baldur’s Gate: encounters that always devolve into fights no matter what you say or do.
Given that the vast majority of players praises BG in general, I must say that I'm just surprised to find that I'm not the only one whosees it so (I thought I would).

BG was to me more or less a "combat simulation" : No matter what you said or did, you ended up in fights.

This is at least traditional, imho.

And this was the reason why I never much get through the game.

Don't know know it is with Escalon, though. Is fighting so much favoured ?

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September 1st, 2010, 13:54
Yes, read my review!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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September 1st, 2010, 16:25
You can get through the game with just 10 fights in total.. so I would say that's not really true.

That said I don't know… I waited and waited for book 2… but it just doesn't match up to book 1 for some reason… I can't put my finger exactly on what is wrong though.
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September 1st, 2010, 18:30
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
You can get through the game with just 10 fights in total.. so I would say that's not really true.

That said I don't know… I waited and waited for book 2… but it just doesn't match up to book 1 for some reason… I can't put my finger exactly on what is wrong though.
There even are people, who came through the game with zero kills, see the forums!
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September 1st, 2010, 19:19
To me Book II was more about completing the silly challenges than a true game. The game was just there so that the challenges had a format. I finished it once, but it's a pretty bland game. Of course, it's lightyears ahead of what I'm playing now, so it really depends on your viewpoint at the time of playing.

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September 2nd, 2010, 05:22
One of the greatest discoveries I've made in the past 4 years of making RPGs is that not everyone thinks of an RPG like you do.

For me, role-playing is all in my head. Some RPGs have essentially zero story (Dungeon Master, or any Rogue-like come to mind) but that never stopped me from thoroughly enjoying these games because as I developed my character…as he or she became more real to me…the more I got into the game. I never needed choice/consequence dialogs or a strong narrative to make an RPG enjoyable to me, and in fact I am often turned off when the storyline forces me away from playing the character how I want. I still haven't finished Dragon Age because I feel like it's not really an RPG…it's an interactive digital movie. I can't go anywhere and do anything…I have to follow their story which unfolds like a "choose your adventure" book. Same with The Witcher. This is boring for me.

So, Eschalon actually has a fairly deep story you can follow, but the game itself is more about the elements of role-playing that I enjoy: character development, exploration & plundering, and freedom from a forced linear storyline. There is simply no way that this kind of game is going to be enjoyable to every RPG fan, but that is okay. Eschalon isn't made for every RPG fan- just the ones looking for a break from the mainstream.
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September 3rd, 2010, 14:19
I'm with Thomas on the need for deep NPCs. I can do without them if the rest of the game is strong.

But for me the exploration, character building and all those other good things have to be backed up with a decent and challenging combat system, one area I think BG came out ahead of both Eschalons. Eschalon's combat is functional, but dead simple. If you at least had a party of four or six, the faux-turnbased would be a little more engaging. Right away you've got positioning, ranged support, characters healing or helping one another. It would really improve the dynamic without (I think) having to rewrite the basic mechanics.

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