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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Knights of the Chalice - Review @ DIYGamer

Default Knights of the Chalice - Review @ DIYGamer

October 26th, 2011, 20:49
DIYGamer has penned a review for this game. The title is Everything old is new again. The reason for this can be seen in the review found here:
Knights of the Chalice is a truly old-school RPG. Plot and characterization get pushed aside in favor of assembling a party of heroes (4, in this case, with no NPCs to recruit, or replacements to draft) of your own design and going on a vaguely defined quest to explore dungeons, discover evil plots, beat up evildoers in complex turn-based combat, hoard loot, an do it again and again until your four novice heroes could casually trade blows with the deities of the realm.
A snip about the combat:
KotC is a game of tactical turn-based RPG combat. Played on a grid representing five-foot spaces, positioning is key as each character can take a free swing at anyone trying to muscle past them. While the game does, effectively, only contain the rules for basic combat, arcane spellcasting and clerical miracles, it has the full rules pertaining to these three core pillars of D&D gameplay. Want to have a warrior shoulder-barge an orc out of the way, then wrestle an evil wizard to the ground in order to stop him from casting spells? Easy, so long as the dice fall in your favor, and every action does have a handy percentage chance (based on all the virtual dice involved combined) of success shown so you know the odds.
A snip from the conclusion:
For better or worse, Knights of the Chalice is a game with a clear audience in mind, and it achieves the goals it sets itself quite admirably, recreating Ė and in many respects improving on Ė the nostalgic feeling of old-school RPG adventuring. Iíll admit that aside from some interface quirks and some mild frustration, Iíve had a romping great time with this game so far and will likely go back to playing it more as soon as Iím done writing, but I find it hard to earnestly recommend it to anyone but seasoned old-school RPG fans with a little extra money to burn.
More information.
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October 26th, 2011, 20:49
I downloaded a demo for this a while back and had to quit after only a few minutes. I could get into an old school tactical game. Simple graphics are fine also. But this one is extremely difficult to even look at.

But why the horrible, crowded layout? Why the garish, vibrating colors? Why the bad, hard to read font made even harder to read with a drop shadow on every character? An old fashioned game doesn't have to be ugly.

I don't know how anyone could play this for hours. It looks like a suck-tastic MySpace or Geocities page made by a teenager.
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October 26th, 2011, 21:16
My impression wasn't as harsh as that, but similar. I just couldn't really comprehend INTENTIONALLY making things that blocky. I get trying to recreate the old-school feel, but IMO games like Ultima VI looked better when run through the hg3x filter than KoC looked. I don't mean to be disrespectful to the author, and it seems he's been reasonably successful with it which I'm glad to see, but that was my impression.

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October 26th, 2011, 21:22
Well, I doubt it was intentional. The guy really focused on implementing the fantastic DnD ruleset, and I have to salute him on that. Gameplay is king in my world, not customizable hairstyles and eyebrows.
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October 26th, 2011, 21:29
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Well, I doubt it was intentional. The guy really focused on implementing the fantastic DnD ruleset, and I have to salute him on that. Gameplay is king in my world, not customizable hairstyles and eyebrows.
Yeah it's kind of ironic that the game that arguably did the best job of emulating the 3.x ruleset on a computer was also a game with only 3 classes. I definitely thought it was a great game, although in the same way that the 3.x ruleset completely breaks down at high level, so does much of the gameplay in knights of the chalice. It's a ton of fun at low and mid level though.
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October 26th, 2011, 21:38
This game has the best TB combat in the last 10 years. The developer really put some effort into his combat encounter design. I bought it when it first came out and I'm still playing it.
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October 26th, 2011, 21:42
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Well, I doubt it was intentional. The guy really focused on implementing the fantastic DnD ruleset, and I have to salute him on that. Gameplay is king in my world, not customizable hairstyles and eyebrows.
From what I saw, I think he definitely succeed on the gameplay and ruleset. I guess I'm just curious why he didn't run his graphics through a scaling filter or something to smooth them out. Would have made the font, if nothing else, easier to read.

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October 26th, 2011, 21:44
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October 27th, 2011, 00:05
I thought it was quite delightful - a homage to old games. I thought the colour and midi music coupled with a surprisingly modern interface worked well. He did redo the fonts ages back, by the way - they look fine on my setup.

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October 27th, 2011, 04:29
I enjoyed the game for several hours but ultimately lost interest. I need a compelling story (even if it is just with the written word) giving me a reason to continue. I enjoy figuratively putting myself in the protagonist's shoes and understanding his motivations. Just levelling up and exploring new areas isn't enough for me unless the graphics are realistic/amazing (not applicable to this type of game) and the combat is fun and even then I get bored at some point without a good story.
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October 27th, 2011, 04:49
The art style reminded me of darksun/old-school goldbox games, but in the end I didn't care about the colors. What mattered was the combat and it was pure bliss. It was great having to think tactically again and being able to take my time with it. Also the AI was no joke. Damn thing was smart. I got wiped out when first leaving the castle because I didn't think it would use their spellcasters effectively. I was wrong.

I had a lot of fun with this game. Hopefully the next will have more of a storyline, but for a first attempt it was amazing what he did.

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October 27th, 2011, 05:05
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I thought it was quite delightful - a homage to old games. I thought the colour and midi music coupled with a surprisingly modern interface worked well. He did redo the fonts ages back, by the way - they look fine on my setup.
Agreed, this game was excellent (once the font was changed). I also loved the interactive info screens; a lot of love and hard work went into this one.
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October 27th, 2011, 09:56
Also, remember the dev added new display modes which are very useful since you can see more on the screen! They weren't there when the demo was originally released. (Now they should be in the demo, too.)
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October 27th, 2011, 11:03
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I thought it was quite delightful - a homage to old games. I thought the colour and midi music coupled with a surprisingly modern interface worked well.
My thoughts exactly. KotC is one of the best indie RPGs to come out in a looong time.

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October 27th, 2011, 11:50
I've only played the demo as well, but really enjoyed it. It has some charming old school sensibilities and like skaven said, it reminded me of my time playing the first Darksun. (Note to self - must purchase the full game!)

Whilst I agree that the character sheet screens are a little cluttered and awkward at first glance, I think these details become gradually more superficial once the glorious fun of the combat has been realised.

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October 27th, 2011, 14:37
For those who dropped the demo because of the (truly awful) font: it's fixed in the full game.

Really a delight to play. Both the enemy AI and the in-game help systems could serve as models for just about any AAA developer out there.

Also the AI was no joke. Damn thing was smart. I got wiped out when first leaving the castle because I didn't think it would use their spellcasters effectively. I was wrong.
Same thing happened to me! I'm meandering out of the castle. I already know they're waiting for me, but I'm thinking Right, this is the training fight to ease me into the game. Since I've been playing games like this for years it will be a cakewalk. And I've got a bunch of NPC guards on my side.
Whole party wiped out in five or six rounds.

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October 27th, 2011, 17:49
This game rocks!!! I love the tactical challenges, and that the AI is totally ruthless, lol! Reminds me of the spiderweb games, but maybe even more challenging and deeper in some ways.


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October 27th, 2011, 17:56
I found that the AI was a lot better in the early game then the late game. Certainly strategies which are ingeneous at the lower levels (making grapple checks instead of attacking) are suicidal at higher levels. I had many enemies commit suicide against my fighters by constantly drawing gapple related AoOs from them.

But as I said above the game as a whole works so much better at low level, in part because the 3.x rules work so much better at low level. I never finished the game just because high level play got kind of boring. But low level was amazing.
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October 27th, 2011, 21:59
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
For those who dropped the demo because of the (truly awful) font: it's fixed in the full game.

Really a delight to play. Both the enemy AI and the in-game help systems could serve as models for just about any AAA developer out there.


Same thing happened to me! I'm meandering out of the castle. I already know they're waiting for me, but I'm thinking Right, this is the training fight to ease me into the game. Since I've been playing games like this for years it will be a cakewalk. And I've got a bunch of NPC guards on my side.
Whole party wiped out in five or six rounds.

This is so true. I have not played a AAA game in the last 10 years with such good combat system/encounter design, AI, and in-game help.

It really shows that one guy with good ideas designing for a niche market can do better than design by committee for a broad audience.
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