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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Hard to be a God - Detailed Preview @ Gamebanshee

Default Hard to be a God - Detailed Preview @ Gamebanshee

November 13th, 2007, 11:15
Gamebanshee has posted Brother None's in-depth look at the book, demo and gameworld of Akella's 3rd person RPG set in an alternate universe, Hard to Be a God. I'll give a few snips, but this is a lengthy article and deserves a full read if you're at all interested in the game:
Hard to be a God is more an allegorical tale and introspective journey than anything else. If you search for the crux of the book you bump into the second problem, expressed by the conversation in chapter 8 between Don Rumata – representing a “theoretical” diety – and the enlightened Budach, a medical man Rumata was able to rescue. They discuss the society of Arkanar, and Rumata asks Budach what he would do if he theoretically could advise a god how to solve all of the people’s problems. Budach proposes a number of solutions, but they are all flawed in some way. This short conversation serves to illustrate that – when the Marxian model fails or is “too slow” – there are no easy solutions to fix everything, even for the Gods…
…The RPG system is simple and straightforward. You have skills: light weapons (one-handed weapons or dual weapons), medium weapons (two-handed light weapons, like fighting staves), heavy weapons (two-handed heavy weapons, like a battle axe, or a one-handed weapon and shield (the best option for the short demo)), ranged weapons, dexterity, diplomacy, stamina, medicine. Upping the melee weapon skills will unlock a number of special attacks, which once activated can be used intermittently with a right click. Kind of action RPG-esque, if a lightweight version of it…
…In both normal and mounted combat, aiming can be the typical awkward fare. In general, this and a few other elements (like the way you do swing combos) can make combat a bit difficult to play out well, but once you get the hang of swinging and blocking, which shouldn’t take incredibly long, it is not a bad combat system. And you’ll notice that sometimes clever tactics or combinations of moves can give you the edge, making it a bit more than the standard point and click fare.
…The setting is quite good and knows pretty complex factionalism as well as a fascinating influence of the SU hi-tech world on Arkanar, even if that doesn’t show much in the demo. The atmosphere in the demo is nice and the music is pretty good, but it’s your basic late feudal fair, beating up wolves and robbers. The interesting stuff doesn’t come until later. The fact that earth technology replaces magic is really a unique selling point.
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November 13th, 2007, 11:15
No comments?

I know some people here also played the demo. Were my impressions roughly the same as yours?

Any fans of the Noon universe? I've been wondering if I got all the details right. Even reread the book since it was so long ago that I first read it and I wanted to freshen up and be sure I got it right.
Last edited by Brother None; November 13th, 2007 at 11:24.
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November 13th, 2007, 14:43
I enjoyed the article, BN. I haven't as yet played the demo, but several here whose opinions I value have recommended t, and after reading your observations I'm even more inclined to try it out—it appears to be a much more individualized and convoluted game world than I was expecting, even if some aspects of gameplay are a bit mundane.

Nice job on really getting into what makes the game tick.

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November 13th, 2007, 17:58
Well, as to game. To tell the true I don't care of it. We've already reviewed it and gave it 7.3. With remarks like "it's bad made, with dull game mechanic and combat system, poorly optmized and balanced, but really interesting game". I havent played it yet (and not sure i'm gonna play it tbh), but my fellow reviewer told me, that "interesting" mainly regarded to game plot…

But i'd like to talk about the book. Strugatsky brothers are my favorite authors in the world literature. I like almost all their books (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was inspired by one of them btw), but so called Noon Universe series is what makes them especial. It's not just a standart science fiction, but some kind of futurology. They didn't write another utopian story, but created a really superb futuristic model of humankind by means of literature.

Alas, most people just don't understand it. Especially outside of Russia where atheistic and materialistic way of thinking isn't very popular. But it's not only about atheism and materialism. Modern civilization has the only idea and the only true god - money. It'd be hard to expect from people to understand Strugatsky…

BTW comunists didn't like Strugatsky either. Noon Universe wasnt even close to orthodox marxian point of veiw which is dominated in Soviet ideology. The Strugatsky oeuvre is much closer to something you can name as "humanism"… Hard To Be a God is an example of early period of Noon Universe series. I'd recommend you to read Prisoners of Power (Habited Island in Russian), Beetle in the Formicary, and Waves Extinguish the Wind. But not sure have the last two been translated to English…

PS Noon Universe is unoficial series name. There is no any oficial tho… It was named after the first series book "Noon. XXII Century" by fans.
Last edited by Kshahdoo; November 13th, 2007 at 18:12.
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