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January 22nd, 2014, 02:34
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
If you want a game that's 90% combat, but which has no real story, no exploration, very limited dialogue, then sure get this!!
so it's like Icewind Dale?
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January 22nd, 2014, 03:36
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
If you want a game that's 90% combat, but which has no real story, no exploration, very limited dialogue, then sure get this!!
That was probably your impression in the 5 minutes you've played it.

It has a "real story", almost no exploration and quite a lot of dialog. The focus is on TB combat. Character management, travel and dialogs take about 20% I guess. Depends on how much you like to think.
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January 22nd, 2014, 06:49
When the first 'town' is a single page with pictures of characters you click on to converse, or buy and sell then you've lost me. When I 'travel' to a map and am dropped straight into combat, finish combat, travel to next location, combat, rinse repeat then I'm outa here!! Sorry, but it's SO much wasted potential.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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January 22nd, 2014, 07:00
Well I see how some players wont like the game.

I'm lucky my years of playing console SRPGs and visual novels let me enjoy games like Blackguards. I always thought I was just wasting my time.

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January 22nd, 2014, 10:56
This popped up in my mailbox:

"You have a Steam code for Blackguards Early Access. Tomorrow (January 22), it will update to the finished version and be ready for review:
- Custom character-class creation
- Improved UI and lip-synching
- Better balanced AI in Chapters 4 and 5

If you are planning a review or other coverage and need something, I'm here to help."

So, basically those with early access will get the final version today? Mmm sounds perfect!
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January 22nd, 2014, 11:08
Maybe they're only converting the preview codes to review versions now.
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January 22nd, 2014, 11:14
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
When the first 'town' is a single page with pictures of characters you click on to converse, or buy and sell then you've lost me. When I 'travel' to a map and am dropped straight into combat, finish combat, travel to next location, combat, rinse repeat then I'm outa here!! Sorry, but it's SO much wasted potential.
A matter of taste. If I think about the countless hours I've spent running through half-empty towns over and over again in almost every RPG, I find this refreshing.
They're officially saying they tried real 3D towns but couldn't find the fun in them … but that's probably marketing BS. The true reason is probably the game's low budget. I'm not even sure it reaches 7 digits. So I'm actually happy they had the guts to leave stuff out instead of doing it half-assed.
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January 22nd, 2014, 12:21
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Maybe they're only converting the preview codes to review versions now.
No since I also have the early access and such mail didn't went on me.
They mixed something up maybe, but obviously Ranger should write a review. Here on RPGwatch!

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January 22nd, 2014, 12:50
Not necessarily. Ranger writes for some other site. Daedalic sent out quite a few Early Access codes to websites. It would make sense to convert those a bit earlier, to speed up the reviews.
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January 22nd, 2014, 12:53
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Not necessarily. Ranger writes for some other site. Daedalic sent out quite a few Early Access codes to websites. It would make sense to convert those a bit earlier, to speed up the reviews.
This must be it. I'll be back when the review is ready
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January 22nd, 2014, 14:38
Blackguards is released two days earlier!
This means Early Access ends today.

edit: 3 hours left.
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January 22nd, 2014, 15:22
Gorath-is there a price increase after end of early access?
or it remains 25$ on steam?

(are there any cheaper versions, sorry developers)?
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January 22nd, 2014, 16:30
Yes, the price increases to 40$.
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January 22nd, 2014, 16:36
I'm kinda with Corwin on this. As a crpg this game fails miserably. But as a fun game, it succeeds pretty well. I enjoyed chapter one and messed around a little bit in chapter two, but the game didn't have enough non-combat moments to satisfy me. Still, the combat is quite fun and you'll have to reload some maps to find the right strategy. I was an avid advocate for character creation and I kinda hounded the devs about it, so I'm super glad it made it into the final build. Thanks Io and the gang!

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January 22nd, 2014, 18:28
@crpgnut
The quests and locations get more non-linear in chapter 3 ff.
Play on

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January 22nd, 2014, 18:51
Wait a minute!?! Release is today? what? AWESOME!!!

I just logged in to tell you that Daedalic released the first chapter as free demo…and now that!

Here is the link to the demo in case you got friends that want to take a look: http://www.gamershell.com/news_160065.html

And now you have to excuse me

I have a game to play!

EDIT: FYI there is currently an AMA with Daedalic Staff on Reddit. Could be interesting: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comment…ards_daedalic/
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January 23rd, 2014, 00:01
How long is chapter 5?
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January 23rd, 2014, 00:21
Originally Posted by Polyester View Post
How long is chapter 5?
Spoiler – Number of battles …
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January 26th, 2014, 12:03
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
so it's like Icewind Dale?
That's a fairly good comparison, BGD is a bit IWD TB. The comparison is quite valid because:
- Both have a global flow and story progression quite linear without dialog choices generating some branch even less alternate parts for the story.
- Both are on top of combat quality in RPG.
- Both put an effort to design specifically each combat which is quite amazing.
- Both have a solid layout for the Combat System.

But they are also quite different:
- IWD can have some large dungeons less linear, BGD don't have that really.
- IWD have elements of exploration, when BGD use travels from point to point on three layers, global map, local map, town map where (small) towns are only a series of point to visit, typically Shop, Smith, Healer, Trainer, one special NPC sometimes, and so on.
- Both have secondary quests but not a huge flow of them, but BGD put quite more efforts on that in some chapters.
- IWD is Real Time with Pause and BGD Turn Based, this changes a lot the feeling.
- IWD allows free party creation and don't have any companions. In BGD you fully create only your Main character and companions join you as the story progress. To compensate the Class system of BGD is a skill system very flexible so you can develop very differently a same companion.
- IWD is trying a bit to be a full RPG focusing on combats and party design, BGD is a lot more a Tactical RPG with an uncommon approach in the genre.
- IWD is based on a large subset of D&D rules, BGD is based on a fair but partial subset of The Dark Eye rules. One is heavily class based when the other is skills based but requires specialize enough to create sort of classes paths.
- IWD is a lot text based when BGD is full voice acting (not sure it's a good choice, they better have paid some pro talented writers than have paid all the voice acting).
- IWD succeed balance well the various core combats elements ie Close Combat vs Long Range Combat vs Magic vs Priest, and in fact balanced this a lot better than BG1&2. My current opinion is BGD have multiple non fair balancing, but I haven't enough experience in the BGD to be sure of this.

I haven't played MMX yet but have finished and replayed some time The Banner Saga. All three are Turn Based with RPG elements, TBS and BGD are much more Tactical RPG. I'm sad to quote BGD is far behind in term of sells. The Banner Saga have plenty big flaws but some rather strong elements, it is very special and quite original with a gameplay heavily based on dialog choices, and overall I found it very attaching and fun to play despite all the flaws. But I feel quite sad that Blackguards isn't on par in term of sells and number of players interested.

The interest level that succeed generate TBS is double edge, on Steam forums there's a heavy negativity because obviously many players bought it either a bit fast, either for wrong reasons, either expecting some AAA game just because 3 ex Bioware made the game (lol naivety and lack of sense of realism of many players is quite incredible).

But the point is a game needs attract interest and I'm very sad Blackguards failed it. It has its own large pool of flaws and weakness and no way is a classical RPG, but it succeed cumulate some design elements like:
- Tuned design of any combat.
- Complex characters design.
- A good implementation of resource management, at least in first parts.

The other element where the design put a focus on is the story, companions and dialogs. Alas, triple alas, it's just fairly solid stuff, no real quality here, some good points like multiple gentle smiles and some touch of mystery growing well. But if they had put more care in having really talented writers with a very talented main writer, the game would certainly have a much better impact and overall efficiency.

One important element to quote in Blackguard design is its gameplay design is tuned to have a budget cost that fits better a category of players not expected to be as large than for more standard designs similar to most modern AAA RPG. For example:
- There's elements not much developed like exploration.
- There's an effort to develop companions and integrate them to the story progression but with the price of not much companions.
- They choose a complex ruleset with EYE but choose implement only a subset to try tune its implementation design/adaptation.
- They choose tune the difficulty and craft carefully each combat and make each sort of unique, but they had give up introduce random to keep the target and budget cost.

The result is an uncommon polishing level of the design of some elements with the price of many weakness elsewhere. And I feel Blackguards is failing in term of success not because of such difficult choices and the weakness involved, but their original design plan was good but would have require an extreme focus on writing quality. Without this element well achieved with an impact level strong enough, the global plan fails. It's still a hugely attaching game, for me.
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January 26th, 2014, 12:25
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
That was probably your impression in the 5 minutes you've played it.

It has a "real story", almost no exploration and quite a lot of dialog. The focus is on TB combat. Character management, travel and dialogs take about 20% I guess. Depends on how much you like to think.
Quite agree, heavy story and plenty dialogs, but what he was meaning was probably:
- A very average quality writing ie quite bellow than best games as most Bioware Stuff or The Witcher, but even quite bellow than in a game like Shadowrun Return, and The Banner Saga despite multiple writing flaws has also a quite better writing quality.
- No choices in dialogs other than cosmetics or to spread information (questions/answers).

I also agree on:
- No exploration (and they could have one even with the system used by implementing tips and descriptions and one picture with more details and hints for each destination and path, would have been quite fun).
- Heavy focus on combats, it's a tactical RPG with an uncommon approach.
- Plus character management.

I haven't finished the game but already restarted it three times for about 25 hours played (slow playing). My feeling is the core gameplay isn't only the combats. It is successful on 3 elements:
- Combats with each combat tuned and different to all other.
- Character design and team design, the few companions without choices of them is compensated by a very flexible skill system forcing choose where specialize and overall how design each character. So each companion can have many very different designs.
- Resource management, there's a fairly good job on that quite coherent and a little based on scarcity during first parts, food, healing, wounds, ammo, potions, rude economy, scarcity of equipment, some more. But past a point the economy break and you end rich removing most meaning of this element but most RPG succeeding this aspect also end fail like that.

The design is also focused on other elements but less well achieved:
- Story, dialogs, not good enough writing quality.
- Companions, not enough companions choices (not the budget for it) and not good enough writing quality.
- Difficulty tuning, in fact the job is mainly successful, but my current feeling is too many balances not fair enough.

EDIT: To be fair it worth pinpoint the main global flaw of the game, it's not the writing it's to propose a Tactical RPG but not try implement a high replay value:
- They didn't implemented random.
- The companions are always the same and that you can design each in a very different way is still far from many choices of teams among more possible companions, or far from free party creation.

As is the game design I hardly imagine this can be solved without huge additional cost.
Last edited by Ihaterpg; January 26th, 2014 at 12:35.
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