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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RoA: Star Trail - Retrospective @ ITS

Default RoA: Star Trail - Retrospective @ ITS

December 28th, 2011, 08:37
Vince D. Weller writes about a piece on the Iron Tower Studio forums titled The Lost Magic - Part One of a retrospective / after action report on Realms of Arkania 2: Star Trail. Here's an excerpt:
You get plenty of opportunities to put your skills to good use - pick an activity from a list, pick a character who’ll attempt it, and let the invisible dice roll. Getting caught while shoplifting doesn't turn everyone hostile, but will get you kicked out from a store and hits you where it hurts the most – your money bag.

Each activity has to be performed manually. For example, whereas in most games prices are adjusted automatically based on your charisma and/or trading skills, in Star Trail you have to negotiate manually every time you want to buy or sell something (and you may or may not succeed). Although it may sound tedious, it does add something to the game. You feel that your party members are doing something and you're reminded of their value every time you need to do a task or perform one.

Overall, the town is small, but it does actually look like a town. There are no generic houses to enter and generic loot to steal compulsively from chests and barrels, which allowed the developers to add more buildings without driving the players insane (yeah, let's pretend that you don't know what I'm talking about). Instead, there are little text-based encounters here and there, which certainly add a lot more than the best visuals.
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December 28th, 2011, 08:37
The traveling system makes you feel that all the other games simply ripped you off in this department.
Ha, that's soooo true!

A very detailled retrospective I generally agree with. Only yesterday I started my yearly run on the first part of the trilogy … I'm currently seeking to destroy the temple of the nameless one on the island of Hjalland.

Part two (Star Trail) is by far the best game in the series though … no wonder people remember it so well.

Exhausted, hungry, and wounded, we have arrived to the town of Gashok and were greeted by a crossbow bolt…
And doesn't that add to the atmosphere?

Surprisingly, combat isn't the focus of the game and there isn't a lot of combat filler. The dungeon where the Salamander Stone is isn't filled with monsters just sitting there and waiting for someone to attack. One of the floors had 0 combat, just exploration and interaction with the environment. Pretty fucking cool, if you ask me.
Seems to me that 'modern' games try to cover up lacking dungeon design, atmosphere, etc. with combat, combat, combat … or is it just my perception?

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December 28th, 2011, 11:09
I really miss these old series Realms of Arkania, Amberstar & Ambermoon, Might & Magic, Wizardry, Gold Box, …

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December 28th, 2011, 15:03
Excellent retrospective! RoA: Star Trail was a great, if at times frustrating, game. I do miss those Choose Your Adventure -like encounters and the full complexity of wilderness travel with foraging, falling ill and everything else (You forgot to buy good shoes and a bedroll? Too bad!).

Also:


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December 28th, 2011, 15:16
Definately my favorite CRPG series. However, Star Trail is much more difficult if you don't import your party from Blade of Destiny. The character generation in these games was one of the most fun parts.
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December 28th, 2011, 23:30
I liked that import was possible at all. This possibility died out, as far as I know. Mass Effect (and perhaps Dragon Age 2 ?) are the only recent games I know about having the possibility to import at least something … Not a whole party, that's for sure !

Originally Posted by Lurking Grue View Post
Also:

Hm, strange, I don't remember that from the game …

I guess I'd have to replay it again … ?

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December 28th, 2011, 23:52
I love the color schemes of the RPGs of yesteryear

My eyes . . . so bright . . . and lovely
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December 28th, 2011, 23:57
Nowadays they'd be called "Indie RPGs" … Someine exploited that ad re-released the Realms Of Arcania Trilogy recently here under a label called "Play Indie" …

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December 29th, 2011, 09:54
I guess that would be the 'Legend' edition, all three games patched and with DOS-Box preconfigured … it's really not that bad. But I'm not gonna buy it a fourth time already ; - )

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December 29th, 2011, 18:31
I remember Star Trail. I forget to buy hats for my party and they all died of colds ("blue lung" or something like that).
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December 29th, 2011, 19:06
Fantastic retrospective of an amazing RPG series. I still remember how much I struggled to survive with a newly-created party in Star Trail - these games definately DIDN'T hold your hand and enjoyed watching you suffer, while cursing at the computer screen. I still remember there was a random event in one of the dungeons in which you could lose ALL your equipment, PERMANENTLY.
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December 29th, 2011, 19:16
Do you really want to stroll through the swamp lands? Of course, I need to get there … Bad decision, most of the equipment gone, several party members got sick

Do you really want to cross that river? Of course, I need to get there … Bad decision, party half drowned, lost a lot of equipment and several party members got sick

Your boots are gone. What, you've got no spare boots on you? Dude, it's winter and the next town is miles away … say goodbye to party member, because he's freezing to death

We could go on for a little while. You sure suffered greatly from a single bad decision … and I think it's one of the reason we still are fond of the game(s).

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December 29th, 2011, 23:19
Yes, that's what I liked most of these games : It really mattered what they were wearing ! And what they were carrying with them !

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December 29th, 2011, 23:53
I found the first one to be a superior game. Better dungeons and less linear.

Favourite RPGs of all time: Wizardry 6, Ultima 7/7.2, Fallout2, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2+TOB, Jagged Alliance 2, Ravenloft: The stone prophet, Gothic 2, Realms of Arkania:Blade of destiny and Secret of the Silver Blades.
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December 30th, 2011, 16:07
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
I found the first one to be a superior game. Better dungeons and less linear.
Not sure about the "less linear" part.
First of all BoD had a hard time limit so you were actually forced into some linearity if you wanted to be able to finish the game before running out of time.
Secondly, the game was basically made up like a scavenger hunt where you followed one lead to another and then got yet another clue and the pieces of the puzzle (or treasure map rather) kept coming together as you ventured forth from A to B to C to D and so on…
Sure, you could always stray from the given path but in case you took the time limit and the sense of urgency seriously then there was fairly little reason to take any chances by going non-linear.

In ST on the other hand you got the quest for the Salamander Stone and the Star Trail axe right at the start of the game and from there on it was totally up to you where you went first or how long you took to follow up on either of these two quests. You could completely ignore these two main quests and just head off in a random direction exploring the game world if you wanted to.

That's why I'd say that BoD was the much more linear game. Which doesn't mean that it was worse than ST. Just different.
Actually, I think I personally enjoyed BoD a tad bit more than ST because of the scavenger hunt. I fondly remember the "Let me follow up on just this one more lead and then I'll definitely head to bed" syndrome. It was just good old classic fun hunting down the pieces of the treasure map and then to collect the reward and to win the game.
The more confusing and convoluted story in ST never managed to grab me as much. But then again exploration and adventuring in ST was much more exciting and rewarding so both games got their pros and cons while being excellent in their own way.
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January 5th, 2012, 15:25
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
I found the first one to be a superior game. Better dungeons and less linear.
So after I played through the trilogy (and missed 30 adventure points in riva somehow btw) I absolutely disagree with the 'better dungeons' part.

In the first game there are a lot of dungeons, much more than in the follow ups. But there was by far less 'thought' put in them. The wolfs lair or the spiders lair and such .. they seem very generic. In the second and third game there are way less dungeons … but they are far more detailed. In some of the Star Trail dungeons you can spend days and weeks (e.g. Finsterkoppen or the swamp). And in Riva there's much more variety in the dungeons (dwarven mine, tower of the black mage, escape from the ship, under the sea, in the dungeons, vampires lair, in the hive). In BoD most of the dungeons look alike (with exceptions for the ghost ship).

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