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Default Drakensang - Demo Impressions @ Gamebanshee

August 15th, 2008, 12:46
Gamebanshee's Thomas Beekers (Brother None) has played the demo of Radon Labs crpg, Drakensang:The Dark Eye and gives his impressions of what's revealed therein in a GB feature article.
Here's a short snip on combat:
Combat has a real nostalgic feel to it. It is similar to the Infinity Engine's real-time with pause (RTwP) system. You give commands, your party carries them out, and you can pause to change or give additional commands. Once you’ve queued up whatever special moves and spells you want to use, you simply sit back and watch as the battle unfolds before you. Combat happens at a leisurely, easy pace which makes it feel pretty relaxed, though I should note this is partially because the demo doesn't contain a lot of challenging combat.
However, while healing and mana restoration is fairly quick (a lot faster than in the pen and paper version of DSA), there are certain nasty after-effects of combat that will stick around, such as being “wounded”, which will cripple the character until he's properly tended to. I can't really tell from the demo, but I believe the intention of that system is to get the player to approach combat with care and tactics.
More information.
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August 15th, 2008, 12:46
Hmmm, you know. I'm downloading the demo right now. German is not my first language, but I suspect I will be okay. I will let you know what I thought of it.

Originally Posted by Gamebanshee's Thomas Beekers View Post
The downside of this is – unsurprisingly – bloom, bloom, bloom. While Drakensang never takes it to the Oblivion shining-face extreme, I would still say they simply use too much bloom, perhaps to cover up some of the game's graphical shortcomings. It fails to do that, and instead I found that it just hurt my eyes.
What's wrong with bloom? I've always thought that effect looks wonderful. It looks a little dreamy and fluffy, like you're in a romantic scene of some Spanish soap opera, but hurt my eyes? No, no problem with that. I think bloom can be great, even "face-shining" Oblivion bloom.

Update: Hmm, I'm doing fine with the German in most case, although it takes a bit of effort and I can't translate everything perfectly. What bugs me is the lack of specific configuration options like mouse sensitivity and advanced graphics. As far as I could tell, I could only set graphics to low, medium and high, without specifically disabling certain features and tweaking the engine.

Is this game up for digital distribution, by the way? It might be a fun way to practice my German.
Last edited by Thaurin; August 15th, 2008 at 13:43.
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August 15th, 2008, 14:40
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
What's wrong with bloom?
Nothing is wrong with bloom.

Just like nothing is wrong with the colour yellow. And nothing is wrong with the colour marine.

Smear bloom, yellow or marine all over your visuals, and then you get an eye-sore.

Bloom is used as this bizarre patch-up to any graphical shortcoming - and sometimes not even as that - thrown haphazardly around until everything shines in a way that could possible be used in films to indicate you're dead and in heaven now. Seriously.
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August 15th, 2008, 15:30
Still, that's only your opinion. I like the look when it fits. Apparently you think it only fits in situations where you are "dead or in heaven." I disagree. It's a stylistic choice, one that apparently many people can't handle. I just wondered why.

I liked it in Fable. I liked it in Guild Wars. It gave them their distinctive looks. It definitely wasn't an eye-sore to me.
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August 15th, 2008, 15:46
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
Is this game up for digital distribution, by the way? It might be a fun way to practice my German.
I think yes, but I'm not sure.

The combat within tunnels can to go on one's nerves, imho.

There *are* tunnels within the demo, but they are not the same as in other areas of the full game.

I witnessed last night how in a narrow tunnel big, big rats (like in the demo, only more and more agressive) battle with the party - and they *always* attack the weakest character first !

Which means if I draw the weakest character aside, and he or she moves, the whole lot of rats and their assigned party-members as foes begin a huge shuffle … all within a deep and narrow tunnel …

After a while, it went on my nerves.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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August 15th, 2008, 15:59
It is fantastic game. Trust me. You will love it when english version comes !

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August 15th, 2008, 16:26
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
Still, that's only your opinion. I like the look when it fits. Apparently you think it only fits in situations where you are "dead or in heaven." I disagree. It's a stylistic choice, one that apparently many people can't handle. I just wondered why.
Fair enough.
Indeed it is only my opinion, just like most things in the preview - other than facts - are my opinion. As for "where it fits", as I said, I have nothing against the mechanic of bloom, but games these days tend to overuse it. It doesn't fit when Oblivion NPCs have shiny heads, and it doesn't fit when patches of dirt shine at you like a thousand suns in Drakensang.

Why? Boy. That's kinda hard to put into words I guess Overuse of bloom can actually literally be painful to look at if you look directly into your brightly lit screen, but even moreso we live in a gaming world that strives for photo-realism, and bloom is a lot of things but it's not photo-realism. Unless it's supposed to be in a setting where everyone has a really shiny head.

If you're going ethereal, or magical, sure, turn up the bloom a bit. But there's so much bloom in every damned game out there.

But heck, if you don't mind it, great, just assume that that paragraph does not apply to you.

I wish I could just ignore it, it'd make most games these days a lot more enjoyable.
Last edited by Brother None; August 15th, 2008 at 17:08.
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August 15th, 2008, 18:54
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
games these days tend to overuse it.
Only some games. I hardly believe that most games these days do it. I think it was a trend for some time when bloom (and not HDR lighting) became viable on graphics engines, but these days I think it's a stylistic choice that is consciously made.

bloom can actually literally be painful to look at if you look directly into your brightly lit screen, but even moreso we live in a gaming world that strives for photo-realism
Wow, I hate to use the H-word, but I think photo-realism is such a hyped word. If you read PR blurbs of games released in the mid-nineties, they drone on about "photo-realism," which sounds completely absurd by today's standards. Today, graphics still don't look photo-realistic by far. I don't really think that's going to happen ever, anyway.

So instead, I say it's a choice that has to suit the setting. What I'd like to see more is different levels of bloom throughout a game. Maybe less in caves, or different dimensions that increase it immensely. Dream sequences that have lots of bloom, etc. I think some games are starting to make use of cinematic techniques like that.
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August 18th, 2008, 12:20
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
What's wrong with bloom? I've always thought that effect looks wonderful. It looks a little dreamy and fluffy, like you're in a romantic scene of some Spanish soap opera
My personal problem with bloom, is that that since I wear glasses specifically to *stop* the world looking dreamy and fluffy in my everyday life and have done so for more than two decades, that particular optical effect doesn't have any mental association with 'romantic'. It has a mental association with 'Oh hell, I can't freakin' see! Where did my glasses go?' and 'I'm going to have a splitting headache due to eyestrain in a couple of hours if I don't find them soon.'

Possibly it comes across differently for people who don't rely on artifical aids for good vision.
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August 18th, 2008, 17:08
Bloom is definitely overdone in a LOT of games these days, even in top quality AAA games.

Even WoW has a similar effect, which they call "Full Screen Glow" - and if you turn that on, certain areas will blind you or appear completely melted. Try it in the Barrens, and you will have bright red/orange colours dripping down your flatscreen.
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August 19th, 2008, 13:40
Yeah, and I always loved that effect in WoW and always kept it enabled.

What's your opinion on HDR lighting then? It's like bloom, but more accurate and realistic. I guess the truth of the matter is: bright light in real life is blinding.
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