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Default Inquisitor - Review @ Gamasutra

September 17th, 2012, 01:37
Gamasutra takes a long look into Inquisitor and bring us their views of the negative points of Inquisitor, with a promise that they will bring another article soon with the positive elements.
If there is one problem that permeates just about all of Inquisitor, it's direction. The game is simply not very good at telling the player what to do, where to go, and when. When you're given a quest, most of the time you're on your own in figuring things out… which is both rewarding, and occasionally extremely frustrating.
Inquisitor starts out with your character standing alone in a forest, on a dirt road. Although some vague instructions are given during the introduction, it's not one second into the game and already things are a little unclear. Exactly where am I? Where am I supposed to go? How do I know how to get there? Following the road north soon reveals the gate to the town of Hillbrandt, which is barred shut by the guards, who insist that I go fight some giant bats pestering the town walls before I'm let in. Not more than a few seconds into the game and already I have my first side-quest.
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September 17th, 2012, 01:37
Reading the above passage, I find it hard to understand how this is a complaint. I mean, really, how hard was that, what you just described?
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September 17th, 2012, 08:36
I know, I know…… wait awhile and I'll have a review ready for the Watch!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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September 17th, 2012, 09:27
I look forward to it. Gaming time is always so limited these days. Not as far into the game as I would like.
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September 17th, 2012, 10:52
It doesnt happen often but what a GREAT game!
Sure it has plenty negatives but yet is just great anyways.
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September 17th, 2012, 11:00
Yeah, I'm enjoying it hugely, although many fights I only seem to win by spamming chain lightning seals (still can only cast tier 2 spells…at level 28!!!! grrrr #$#!!!) I enjoy the investigative element - don't think I'm falsely burnt anyone yet ;-)
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September 17th, 2012, 11:00
If there is one problem that permeates just about all of Inquisitor, it's direction. The game is simply not very good at telling the player what to do, where to go, and when.
After reading that part, this game is very high on my buy list.
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September 17th, 2012, 11:29
That sounded like marketing for the hardcore audience to me

I haven't gotten around to getting this yet, and it will probably be a while - but it sounds good.
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September 17th, 2012, 11:59
I got half way through that review and gave up, i had enough of the constant whingeing, Eric Schwarz does not like any difficulty. Why send a schoolboy gamer reviewer to do a mans job?

The game purposely makes things difficult in all manner of ways as a hurdle and a challenge to be fathomed and overcome.

The game has a deeper side - alignment! - never once mentioned in the slightest in that review of repetitive dislikes. In essence it is bad practice having a hack-and-slasher to review a game with such underlying depth.

The challenge difficulty is not in the combat fighting of the enemies but in the faith alignment - or put another way - how to complete quests within alignment as the more powerful devastating forbidden magic is in fact mal aligned to the mother church and the true divinity.

Have you, any gamer, unknowingly or inadvertently used forbidden magics? - ha ha! - then you are now heretic also! - and in your lack of wisdom, you the great inquisitor, need also to be judged and tried and burnt at the stake…..clever isn't it? - keep your eye on the alignment meter - it moves ever so gently.

The game theoretic suggests a thief will be the most able character to stay within divine alignment by using ranged weapons and less of any forbidden magic, providing his follower allies also stay similarly aligned.

Inquisitor is quite simply - (to the fully seasoned gamer) - a hidden gem of a game.

I suggest Eric Schwarz play the game again to completion and within divine alignment if he can (which i strongly doubt) then review the game again properly.

yours faithfully - wulf
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September 17th, 2012, 12:43
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
After reading that part, this game is very high on my buy list.
And after reading that I bought it, even if I initially wasn't going to (too many games on backlog and all that).

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September 17th, 2012, 13:18
@Wulf - I had wondered about alignment and heretical/evil magic…I've only really used a few spells from the Pagan book. And my alignment is firmly on the side of the divine. But that's great - and very realistic! I hated the fact that KOTOR allowed you to use dar kside powers without accumulating dark side points (as the tabletop RPG does).

I love that I've become paranoid about speaking to fellow inqusitors too ;-) … I'd burn them all if I could! burn, Burn, BURN!!!!! (hahahahahaah!!!! NO, I'm not mad…am I?)
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September 17th, 2012, 15:14
Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
I got half way through that review and gave up, i had enough of the constant whingeing, Eric Schwarz does not like any difficulty. Why send a schoolboy gamer reviewer to do a mans job?

The game purposely makes things difficult in all manner of ways as a hurdle and a challenge to be fathomed and overcome.

The game has a deeper side - alignment! - never once mentioned in the slightest in that review of repetitive dislikes. In essence it is bad practice having a hack-and-slasher to review a game with such underlying depth.

The challenge difficulty is not in the combat fighting of the enemies but in the faith alignment - or put another way - how to complete quests within alignment as the more powerful devastating forbidden magic is in fact mal aligned to the mother church and the true divinity.

Have you, any gamer, unknowingly or inadvertently used forbidden magics? - ha ha! - then you are now heretic also! - and in your lack of wisdom, you the great inquisitor, need also to be judged and tried and burnt at the stake…..clever isn't it? - keep your eye on the alignment meter - it moves ever so gently.

The game theoretic suggests a thief will be the most able character to stay within divine alignment by using ranged weapons and less of any forbidden magic, providing his follower allies also stay similarly aligned.

Inquisitor is quite simply - (to the fully seasoned gamer) - a hidden gem of a game.

I suggest Eric Schwarz play the game again to completion and within divine alignment if he can (which i strongly doubt) then review the game again properly.

yours faithfully - wulf
Hi,

First of all, I'm Eric. I've been a member of the CRPG community for a long time and I'm happy for your comment, however, I don't think you understood the point of this article. And, frankly, your assumption that I'm not familiar with classic RPGs, and that I'm an ADHD "modern gamer" with no attention span could not be farther from the truth.

The RPGWatch news post suggests that this is a review. That is absolutely not the case. In fact, I'll be reviewing the game for GameBanshee once I've fully finished it (something most other sites have likely not managed by this point). I'd also like to point out that the quote selected for the news post is taken out of context and certainly does not cover the entire range of my discussion.

Rather, Gamasutra (and my own personal blog) is where I post articles I write on game design and similar matters. The point of this article was to demonstrate how being old-school for the sake of old-school does not always make for a better game. It is not meant to be an assessment of the game's overall quality, and if you'd have read the whole thing you'll notice that I plan to write a follow-up which discusses why some of the old-school design works very well and puts Inquisitor ahead of many modern RPGs.

Suffice to say, if you like Inquisitor, that's great. I like it too. However, it is not devoid of flaws and many of its issues (overly long dungeons, bad combat balance, poor guidance during quests, an abrupt introduction, extreme challenge level, user interface problems, etc.) come from, in my opinion, a misguided attempt to provide a "hardcore" experience without the developers, which was done not necessarily because it makes for a better game, but rather simply because older titles did these things often. Sometimes, this works, but a lot of the time it doesn't - just because something is old-school in design doesn't mean that it is by nature better.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
That sounded like marketing for the hardcore audience to me
That's exactly what I'm talking about. The "150 hours of gameplay, 100 km of dungeon levels" etc. is all marketing. It's old-school made to appeal to old-school fans but conveniently leaves out the fact that much of the game is full of repetitive filler, atrociously balanced combat that is hard in all the wrong ways, etc. Don't let "omg its like a game from 1999" blind you to the fact that it's also not nearly up to par with many games from that time period. Or I guess you guys are ready to accept Lionheart as a flawless gem as well?

I hope that this clarifies things a little bit for you.
Last edited by sea; September 17th, 2012 at 15:38.
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September 17th, 2012, 15:28
Originally Posted by sea View Post
Hi,

First of all, I'm Eric. I've been a member of the CRPG community for a long time and I'm happy for your comment, however, I don't think you understood the point of this article.

The RPGWatch news post suggests that this is a review. That is absolutely not the case. In fact, I'll be reviewing the game for GameBanshee once I've fully finished it (something most other sites have likely not managed by this point). I'd also like to point out that the quote selected for the news post is taken out of context and certainly does not cover the entire range of my discussion.

Rather, Gamasutra (and my own personal blog) is where I post articles I write on game design and similar matters. The point of this article was to demonstrate how being old-school for the sake of old-school does not always make for a better game. It is not meant to be an assessment of the game's overall quality, and if you'd have read the whole thing you'll notice that I plan to write a follow-up which discusses why some of the old-school design works very well and puts Inquisitor ahead of many modern RPGs.

Suffice to say, if you like Inquisitor, that's great. I like it too. However, it is not devoid of flaws and many of its issues (overly long dungeons, bad combat balance, poor guidance during quests, an abrupt introduction, extreme challenge level, user interface problems, etc.) come from, in my opinion, a misguided attempt to provide a "hardcore" experience without the developers, which was done not necessarily because it makes for a better game, but rather simply because older titles did these things often. Sometimes, this works, but a lot of the time it doesn't - just because something is old-school in design doesn't mean that it is by nature better.


That's exactly what I'm talking about. The "150 hours of gameplay, 100 km of dungeon levels" etc. is all marketing. It's old-school made to appeal to old-school fans but conveniently leaves out the fact that much of the game is full of repetitive filler, atrociously balanced combat that is hard in all the wrong ways, etc. Don't let "omg its like a game from 1999" blind you to the fact that it's also not nearly up to par with many games from that time period. Or I guess you guys are ready to accept Lionheart as a flawless gem as well?

I hope that this clarifies things a little bit for you.
I cant wait for the followup. It was a good reading, for me anyways.
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September 17th, 2012, 17:46
@booboo - yes, notice how the selection of aligned fields magic are mandatory at character creation, four allocation points as a mage (2/plus and 2/minus) yet only two as a thief (1 plus and i minus)

You must choose at least one opposing magic which (very subjectively) you might choose to use with extreme caution - if at all! - i have great difficulty accepting all traits of inquisitorial magic eg: —->

"light" - this is cleansing so must be o.k to use - opposing darkness.

"Stoning" - this is stated as being of Pagan origin (???)

"Crucifixion" - was banned at the first synod. (??)

"Blinding" - seems of non-evil origin -o.k to use.

"Invisibility" - looks to be both good and evil, depending on the caster.

"Stigma" - appears to be anti-pagan so o.k to use.

"Turn to ashes" - Santini himself used it - should be o.k to use.

It looks as if some spells 'do' and some 'do not' stay true to alignment, eg: a good priest would need to select the good or non-evil derived spells within each field of magic - while some magical fields have no good-aligned spells whatsover - eg: "Liber Lucifer Ordinis Novi"

To make matter worse in deciding which magical field to choose, many magical artifacts, amulets, rings, weapons, armor etc' also have good or evil magical implications.

Magics explanations —> http://inquisitor-rpg.com/?page=magic

Obviously as the game progresses we will learn more on the subject.
……………….
@sea,
Thank you for your unrelenting reply. Your subjective negativity is overwhelming and has little promotional direction to gamers unfamiliar with this RPG style - a more positive outlook would be welcomed. I can if you wish, go into greater detail and prove the opposite on every negative point mentioned in your article - yet i prefer not to delve to that level.
The blog article has a review outlook and style, the composition of a review, the layout of a review, all the hallmarks of a review - it comes across as a review - it is to all intents and purposes "a review" to the reader. Even in blog style, by containing composed review characteristics, the article cannot escape being a review.
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September 17th, 2012, 20:45
Blimey, a game that doesn't tell you where to go and let's you find stuff on your own? I just bought the game due to that even though im not real excited about torturing people.
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September 17th, 2012, 21:24
i finished it in good alignment .. 1st attempt.. Don't really understand what ranged combat has to do with it though. The most important thing is getting the heretics right. And the game is very well written, so if you pay attention and have a bit of intuition you'll get it right. I was appalled by the gamers who just went head first in every decision.. then came to the forums to seek explanations. Well, at least they bought it.
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September 17th, 2012, 22:42
Originally Posted by sea View Post
Hi,

First of all, I'm Eric. I've been a member of the CRPG community for a long time and I'm happy for your comment, however, I don't think you understood the point of this article. And, frankly, your assumption that I'm not familiar with classic RPGs, and that I'm an ADHD "modern gamer" with no attention span could not be farther from the truth.

The RPGWatch news post suggests that this is a review. That is absolutely not the case. In fact, I'll be reviewing the game for GameBanshee once I've fully finished it (something most other sites have likely not managed by this point). I'd also like to point out that the quote selected for the news post is taken out of context and certainly does not cover the entire range of my discussion.
In principle any part we quote from an article is out of context, but in this case I do not think it is that much out of context. At least half of your article lists design choices related to the lack of guidance of the player in different parts of the game. Although some have their value, some in my opinion do not, like the part I quoted.
To me some parts of your article reads as if it was written from the perspective of a player who can't be bothered with reading the manual and wants to be told what to do. I found that out of sync with other parts of the article and your statement of being a long time RPG gamer.

I do agree with you that the term review is incorrect

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September 17th, 2012, 23:32
The point of this article was to demonstrate how being old-school for the sake of old-school does not always make for a better game.
I may get burned as a heretic here myself (joke intended), but I do agree. This is something I have been fighting with a bit myself on the game design front (I have Inquisitor, but didn't start playing it yet… how weird is that?)

The thing is… making an "old-school" style game *right* is HARD. It's a heck of lot easier to slap some modern-era lead-you-by-the-nose contrivances onto the game than to put all the context-dependent clues into the game to help the player find his own way through the game. It's a lot easier to put in a modern, paint-by-numbers, rigid quest system in place than to make the quest system flexible enough to allow for the player to do it his own way. The classics we draw inspiration from often did this by making the quests very *simple* - and whatever flexibility there was came from that simplicity. A lot of the old Ultimas, for example, didn't really care how you came about a particular quest item - whether you talked to all the right people or not - only that you had it in your possession and used it at the appropriate time.

If you do it wrong, it becomes a case of "Guess what the designer was thinking?", the intellectual equivalent of the "hunt the pixel" puzzles that plagued (and still plague) many mediocre graphic adventure games. The player's only interface into the world - the only way to find clues - is what you, the game-creator, give him. You have to provide all the clues, all the dialog, all the suggestions, all the journal texts. Man, it'd be easier just to throw a "Go here!" cursor on the screen, wouldn't it?

The problem really is really finding the appropriate mix of modern design and old-school sensibilities. You can't just appeal to the gods of old school and be done with it. From what little I've read from these old-school designers, they really did agonize over these same kinds of problems back in the day, too. The wall of stats during character creation? It worked okay when you only had six attributes, plus armor class and hit points, and all your players were pen-and-paper D&D'ers. It became more challenging as the art advanced and the audience expanded.

I'm with the majority (I think) of RPGWatch readers who love old-school RPGs, and who are frustrated by some of the directions modern games are going. But it's not like old-school style was any sort of uniform design, or that any of the games back then were perfect. I don't think games should strive to slavishly ape old approaches. Instead, I prefer to use them as jumping-off points… to reexamine those approaches from a modern perspective, keep what's cool about 'em, and build up from there.

Since I've not played Inquisitor, I'm not going to claim they did it wrong. But I will reiterate that the old-school approach is NOT the easy road. That's undoubtedly one of the reasons it was so long in the making.
Last edited by RampantCoyote; September 17th, 2012 at 23:46.
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September 18th, 2012, 00:04
I want old school/hardcore crpg principles with a modern interface:

challenging quests/combat/puzzles
choices with consequences
interesting complex character/party design
interesting stories/conversations/memorable NPCs
many factions with different rivalling goals
possibilities of world interaction/manipulation
death traps, hopeless game situations, fear
turn based combat with chess like possibilities (many moves, resistances, attacks, weapons …)

For me the essence of crpg gaming is:

Using his own intellect to form and steer a party so it can survive and succeed in a challenging interesting interactive fantasy world.

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September 18th, 2012, 00:28
I want old school/hardcore crpg principles with a modern interface
I guess one of the problems with defining "old school" is that there are almost no old-school games (with more primitive interfaces) that meet your criteria. Even a "new-school" player need only look at The CRPG Addict's blog to learn that there was no unified theory of classic RPG gameplay *at all*. (In fact, you can see that a lot of what is considered new and "evolved" today - like Action-RPGs - had their origin WAAAAAAAAAY way back when…). Sure, there are a couple of candidates that come pretty close, but they had their own flaws as well.

So really what it comes down to is… what sorts of things did (some of) the old classics do back then that we enjoyed that modern publishers are showing no intent to repeat? How can the indies bring those back?

As a side-note, we've had quite an influx of indie RPG developers releasing their first 'major' RPG lately (myself among them). We're all kinda re-learning the lessons of the past in our own way. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens when these same individuals are on their second or third game - after they've learned lessons "the hard way."
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