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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Serpent in the Staglands-First Impressions

Default Serpent in the Staglands-First Impressions

May 30th, 2015, 15:12
So, anyone here playing it? It has a free demo on their website and the download is only around 300mb.

I downloaded the demo and have messed around with it. First off, the game is real time with pause; despite the fact that a turn based system would have greatly inclined the game the devs decided to go for this. I have no idea why, perhaps they wanted to copy the flaws of Darklands (shitty combat) in addition to the graphic style?

I like the graphic style, but I do feel many, including rpg fans, will be turned off by it. The font needs improvement though, because sometimes due to transparency some words become impossible to read.

The animations are not bad. Some are quite charming, such as gory death animations.

The character system is surprisingly fun. It is simplistic true, but warriors get battle skills to use instead of just hacking away, while spellcasters get a nice variety of spells. Due to the class-less nature of the system, you can mix and match character types. You could make one character a warrior-mage, another a Sword and Shield weilder who is also a crack shot with a bow (as battle skills/book of war has abilities for many weapon styles, including bow and arrows)
Amusingly, elixirs can be used in combat and have corresponding battle skills.

I am as of yet unsure how much of an effect stats have on different abilities. My starting characters we similar with only a small die worth of difference in stats depending on how I allocated the starting stats, as you only get 2 points to allocate at char gen.

Interesting to note there is no mana in the game. Spells can be cast indefinitely, what matters is casting time. This can be decreased by pumping the dexterity(sp) stat, but at the expense of other stats.

Combat has potential. Your characters do not start off as movers and shakers* and I feel they never will be able to wade into an army and mow it down. This is dark fantasy folks, not forgotten realms, but even keeping that in mind you are not Conan or Elric, but rather Fafrhd or Croaker. Then again this might change by game end and leveling, but I doubt it.

Combat suffers from other problems though, mostly due to the RTwP nature. You will need to constantly pause and unpause to give orders and move things along. Due to the long casting time of spells vs enemy movement, your area effect spells end up being not very useful thus far. This could change by increasing casting speed via leveling.

There is a shape-shifting school I found to my amusement. You can start out by transforming into a cat. I see a lot of potential in this if more powerful forms are available.

The game lore is immersive, and the writing is ok. But nothing to write home about. The UI is butt ugly and intrusive. Combat log text is too big, and hard to scroll through.

* There is an issue with the story I have. You sort of do start out, storywise, as a mover and shaker, as the main character is supposedly a deity. But he is stuck in mortal form and is thus weak as a mortal. Meh, I wish they had not done this. Still, you get to form a party of upto 5 PCs from the getgo.
You can also recruit companions along the way if you have room (max limit of 5 applies) I don't really know if the companions add anything storywise to make it worth taking them

The demo is worth giving it a shot. It's free and a very small download. Try it out, especially if you are a fan of Darklands.
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May 30th, 2015, 16:27
@Infinitron plz copy/pasta this over in the codex thread.
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May 30th, 2015, 19:29
Originally Posted by Andhaira View Post

Combat suffers from other problems though, mostly due to the RTwP nature. You will need to constantly pause and unpause to give orders and move things along. Due to the long casting time of spells vs enemy movement, your area effect spells end up being not very useful thus far.
Real-Time with Pause Combat

Party-based, real time with pause combat focused on macro tactical decisions and creative party skill combinations
Combat designed for minimal pause spamming and without cooldown skills, instead focusing on pre-buffing, positioning, movement and fun encounter designs so you can focus on what's fun.

http://serpentinthestaglands.com/

Backlog:0
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May 30th, 2015, 22:11
I have a full game (got it from GoG) but I am waiting for first big round of patches before I really dive in (devs seem to make 2-3 patches per day). I did play it a bit in starting area (didn't do any battles yet). The game is pretty cool so far, but not for people that cannot play games without QoL features. I can see this game become another Knights of the Chalice (not a lot of people play it but those that do love it). A lot of design choices are pretty hardcore and UI is half baked (kind of expected since devs are unexperienced). but they plan to improve UI with patches.

As for companions, they have a bit of the story and situations and also they usually start with better stats and some equipment.
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May 30th, 2015, 23:35
Thanks for chiming in AA.

What do you mean when you say QoL? (did you mean to say popamole? )
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May 30th, 2015, 23:38
Originally Posted by Andhaira View Post
Thanks for chiming in AA.

What do you mean when you say QoL? (did you mean to say popamole? )
No, this game even lacks Baldur's Gate (1998 era) QoL features. It is hard to call anyone wanting a better UI popamole.
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May 31st, 2015, 00:00
Well yeah, it's modeled on Darklands which came out in 1992. It's a smart model for a 2 man team who don't have much assets to invest in this.

But I like how it came out; waiting for more patches myself and improvements to UI and combat log. Just read there is a bat form transformation spell. Sounds fun.
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May 31st, 2015, 00:19
Not really Darklands. Darklands had way better UI. I don't really see much similarities with the exception of the graphics and that you die fast. At the moment I would play Darklands over Serpents without thinking. Its the better game.
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June 3rd, 2015, 10:20
Anyone playing or are you all waiting for more patches like me?
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June 8th, 2015, 12:46
This game had 8 patches now and it is about ready for a serious play through.
I just need to finish my Batman Arkam Asylum play
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June 8th, 2015, 17:46
I finished with Shining Force Two this morning so this one might be up next. Has it been patched sufficiently yet, does anyone know?
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June 8th, 2015, 18:34
Somebody review it! I've been looking for reviews to post since the release, and I haven't seen a single one.

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June 8th, 2015, 18:41
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
I finished with Shining Force Two this morning so this one might be up next. Has it been patched sufficiently yet, does anyone know?
8 patches are enough I think. Only bigger issues left are too long loading times for some people (if you don't have SSD some people reported up to 50s) but there are less loading screens than PoE and when loading the game some creatures you killed can respawn around you.
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June 9th, 2015, 02:46
Originally Posted by Hexprone View Post
Somebody review it! I've been looking for reviews to post since the release, and I haven't seen a single one.
Here's my review, it's a bit outdated as I wrote it almost a week ago (some bugs have been fixed since then) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfnXhT5L0vs
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June 9th, 2015, 03:48
The handful of comments on GOG are all positive and for 19.99 I just might this weekend. Did someone say there is a Demo?

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June 9th, 2015, 03:53
Originally Posted by CelticFrost View Post
Did someone say there is a Demo?
You can download the demo off the games website.

Here is the Link - http://serpentinthestaglands.com/demo.php

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June 9th, 2015, 10:18
The demo is just one for more reason to respect these developers. How many Western indie developers make those? Well, there's not much point when the demo of Serpent has more gameplay than the actual game in many cases.

It's amazing that just two people did this game, even if it does run on Unity. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when the Geneforge series and Knights of the Chalice were made by just one people, but for some reason this one feels like it could've been a legit retail RPG back in the 90s. Even if it's kind of short and lacking in content, but it's not like every old RPG was massive and 80 hours long.
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June 9th, 2015, 11:35
Originally Posted by 90sgamer View Post
The demo is just one for more reason to respect these developers. How many Western indie developers make those? Well, there's not much point when the demo of Serpent has more gameplay than the actual game in many cases.

It's amazing that just two people did this game, even if it does run on Unity. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when the Geneforge series and Knights of the Chalice were made by just one people, but for some reason this one feels like it could've been a legit retail RPG back in the 90s. Even if it's kind of short and lacking in content, but it's not like every old RPG was massive and 80 hours long.
Hey! Knights of the Chalice is a better game than 90% games I played!
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June 9th, 2015, 16:04
Man, I'd pay 100 bucks for a Knights of the Chalice Two. In a flat second.
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June 9th, 2015, 17:13
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
Man, I'd pay 100 bucks for a Knights of the Chalice Two. In a flat second.
It is being made.. for a few years now
Release time: TBA
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