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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Eschalon: Book I / Why should i play it ? WHY ?

Default Eschalon: Book I / Why should i play it ? WHY ?

November 20th, 2007, 16:28
Originally Posted by vanedor View Post
IWD was much more linear. Had little exploration, freedom. And the plot is pretty limited, to say the least. All it offered was the ADnD system and fights… and this, in my opinion, could get really dull and repetitive after a while.
BG and IWD combat system are virtually identical. Yet you describe the one as one of the best and the other as dull and repetitive. My opinion: they were both dull and repetetive. The challenge was just keep reloading until you discover the right tactics. The heavily modified (for the worse) D&D system and the TB/RT hubrid didn't help either. The only game that got DnD combat right was ToEE.

BG non-linear? It was very linear at heart and was just giving the impression of non-linearity. For a true non-linear game, try Fallout.

Good Plot? Others have the right to disagree but I certainly don't think so.

It just strikes me as odd that when people are talking about the old-time classics, the BG series is the first to mention.

“Of all the journeys you will undertake in this life, uncovering the secrets you hide from yourself is the most dangerous voyage of all.” – Shyha Tuhlwin, Therish Philosopher
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November 20th, 2007, 16:42
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
It just strikes me as odd that when people are talking about the old-time classics, the BG series is the first to mention.
For some people, 10 years ago is ancient history, potentially half a life-time back. There are many, many RPG players now that either weren't alive or weren't old enough to be gaming when the "real old-school" RPGs were released. Those fall into the category of "pre-history"

Baldur's Gate was pretty much the new beginning or rebirth of the cRPG genre however, so it's not that odd that it's a first mention.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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November 20th, 2007, 16:46
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
It just strikes me as odd that when people are talking about the old-time classics, the BG series is the first to mention.
What should people mention then? If Bg isn't going back far enough how about Curse of the Azure Bonds or even further to the good ol days of Commodore 64 with Bards Tale or even a bit farther back to Intellivision with the one of the first mass marketed AD&D games Cloudy Mountain.

When talking about classics BG is one of those games, just like planescape, Fallout, Wizardry and Ultima are classics. They all had something to offer that was new and fun. Some may disagree with how much fun they were or even at all. That depends on your own opinion on what kind of game you like to play, but they are classics because a lot of people did like them. I'll bet ten years from now someone somewhere will be having the same discussion on classics like Oblivion (shudder) Gothic and Witcher. Whether I like these games or not doesn't matter, it offered something new and, for some, something fun to play for awhile.

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November 20th, 2007, 16:53
Originally Posted by Gallifrey View Post
For some people, 10 years ago is ancient history, potentially half a life-time back. There are many, many RPG players now that either weren't alive or weren't old enough to be gaming when the "real old-school" RPGs were released
I would recommend DosBox for the younger players. I'm currently replaying Darklands, a free download now by the way. Amazing how the game still feels very fresh after all those years. Don't forget to patch it.

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November 20th, 2007, 17:31
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
BG and IWD combat system are virtually identical. Yet you describe the one as one of the best and the other as dull and repetitive. My opinion: they were both dull and repetetive. The challenge was just keep reloading until you discover the right tactics. The heavily modified (for the worse) D&D system and the TB/RT hubrid didn't help either. The only game that got DnD combat right was ToEE.
Perhaps they did not get it «right» in a purist point of view, but it was still great for the crpg fan that I am. The difference between the two is how they place the fights, how they script them. In BG, they seem believable. The same fights are not repeated ad nauseum and vary enough to remain interesting. That's something they haven't done in IWD.

Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
BG non-linear? It was very linear at heart and was just giving the impression of non-linearity. For a true non-linear game, try Fallout.
You can leave the path to do secondary quest. I always found exploring every areas of the game to be very entertaining. It's not basically empty space like fallout 2 or Morrowind. It's close to Gothic 2 in term of contents. Always something more to discover. If you want a truly linear game, try NWN2 main campaign. I will agree with you that BG is some sort of middle ground… but I believe this is what made this game great.

Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
It just strikes me as odd that when people are talking about the old-time classics, the BG series is the first to mention.
Well, sometimes, perhaps because it's true?
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November 20th, 2007, 18:16
Originally Posted by vanedor View Post
You can leave the path to do secondary quest. I always found exploring every areas of the game to be very entertaining. It's not basically empty space like fallout 2 or Morrowind. It's close to Gothic 2 in term of contents. Always something more to discover. If you want a truly linear game, try NWN2 main campaign. I will agree with you that BG is some sort of middle ground… but I believe this is what made this game great.
The design linear main quest + many equally linear optional side quests does not equal non-linear. I think that the term 'linear' is misunderstood, I often encounter posts describing Oblivion as non-linear because it's free-roaming. I think something similar hods true for BG. Since you mentioned the Gothics, one of the charms of those games is how all the quests are interconnected, this is a measure for non-linearity in my book.

I admit I might have a bias against BG since the story bothered me for some reason. NWN OC you're right on the spot, it doesn't get any more linear than that. However some of the best NWN mods have made up for that. Still I find the hybrid combat system sub-par.

“Of all the journeys you will undertake in this life, uncovering the secrets you hide from yourself is the most dangerous voyage of all.” – Shyha Tuhlwin, Therish Philosopher
Last edited by Lethal Weapon; November 20th, 2007 at 18:23.
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November 20th, 2007, 20:00
I know this has already gone in other directions … but looking at the other games I have paid $30 or more for (or review copies that would cost $30 or more) I would have to say that Eschalon looks to deliver some pretty decent value for the money. It is fun, looks decent, feels fresh and new within a certain context.

But then I'm also enjoying id's Orc's & Elves on my DS which also feels quite old-school.

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November 20th, 2007, 21:08
My answer to your question, Salzherz, is short and simple:

It depends and your playing style.

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November 20th, 2007, 23:00
OK girls.
I am a old fart. I know it. I played it all. ALL. All RPGs. Also the forgotten one like Star Saga one (have a look on my shelf in this second). Yes, this old idiot. Bragging.

And now this discussion run in the same direction i thought:
Arguments like:
ITS GOOD BECAUSE its independent.
ITS GOOD BECAUSE the graphics are on the 1998 standard.
ITS GOOD BECAUSE i could create a character.
ITS GOOD BECAUSE THE OTHER GAMES ARE NOT GOOD. HUH ?
ITS GOOD BECAUSE I PLAY IT, and only 2500 others, we are the ELITE !
SURE, a big wave to all the old elite farts like me. And the newcomers like you. UEBERRPGlers. SURE.

Gimme one argument PRO Eschalon. Where does Eschalon IMPROVE the genre ? ONE NEW IDEA ?
Oh, its new ! New for 1998. Not for now, not after classics like you know which. Yes, its a bit harsh against the developers. Because they did a good job. But that is not enough.
OK ELITE youngsters. Come on gimme a hint. Why should i play it. WHY ?
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November 20th, 2007, 23:19
Because uhm, it's fun?

Seriously, it has a sort of gameplay that cannot be found in any modern AAA rpgs while the interface is far better than anything we had back then.

It offers an interesting story, exploration.

Sure, BG might be a superior game and if you don't mind replaying it for the 12th time, go for it, do not touch this game and don't look behind.
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November 20th, 2007, 23:26
Originally Posted by SALZHERZ View Post
OK ELITE youngsters. Come on gimme a hint. Why should i play it. WHY ?
I, like yourself, have played almost every CRPG created… been doing it for more years than many gamers have been on this planet… but the answer to your question is quite simple…

Don't play it.

If you're not interested in it, there is no good reason that anyone can give you to play it.

Many people are finding it quite fun (haven't tried it yet… installed it but haven't played yet). And fun is the whole reason we play these games when you get right down to it.

So, if you played the demo and you didn't have fun… don't buy and play it.

However, if you did have fun… then that's all the reason you need. The game doesn't have to push the genre forward in any way to be worth playing…

If it's fun for you play it… if it isn't just don't play it.

my 7.25 cents

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November 20th, 2007, 23:43
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
BG and IWD combat system are virtually identical. Yet you describe the one as one of the best and the other as dull and repetitive. My opinion: they were both dull and repetetive. The challenge was just keep reloading until you discover the right tactics. The heavily modified (for the worse) D&D system and the TB/RT hubrid didn't help either. The only game that got DnD combat right was ToEE.
I totally agree. The battles are more like puzzles. The only way to win the battle is to solve the puzzle. If you fail you reload and try solving it again. Im not really a fan of puzzle games.

I so wish they would use a better rpg rulesystem like runequest for these games instead of 3.5 dnd.

Originally Posted by SALZHERZ View Post
OK girls.
I am a old fart. I know it. I played it all. ALL. All RPGs. Also the forgotten one like Star Saga one (have a look on my shelf in this second). Yes, this old idiot. Bragging.
Ive played RPGs more or less since 1989 and echelon is fun. Perhaps because of the combat system which I like quite a lot or the nice graphics, sounds and animations. They are not done on the latest 3d tech but they do have a nice touch to them.

Also the game is not 1st/3rd person perspective which is somwhat refreshing. The character creation is perfectly complex not too much - not too little. Ive tinkered with different characters which means its good.

Its a nice snack of game.
Last edited by zakhal; November 20th, 2007 at 23:53.
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November 20th, 2007, 23:46
I just don't understand why it has to expand the genre or be better than past classics. My favourite author is Isaac Asimov, and I think The Gods Themselves and Foundation are his greatest works. Should I not bother with anything else because they don't measure up to those two works? I doubt any game will ever match up to Fallout for me - am I relegated to playing that one game forever because other games aren't outright better?

So far, Eschalon provides me with an atmosphere and mechanics that I enjoy (I really like the lighting system and using the environment to kill nasties for starters) and because I have never played it before, there is an enjoyment in the discovery of the game space (locations, story etc) that I can't get from replaying an old game even if they are arguably superior in quality because I have already experienced them.

So, why should you play it? You shouldn't. You'd rather replay BG2 — so there you go. I'd rather the new experience, so I guess that's just a different personality thing.

I like the chargen, the atmosphere, the environmental interaction, the lighting - and I want to find out the story of my character. I'm probably getting to the point where I want the story to get a move on and there are umpteen improvements that would be nice in theory (social skills, more varied quests, deeper combat system) but I'm still enjoying the current content as it is. Just because the game is a 7/10 (or whatever) doesn't mean I should drop it in favour of a 9/10 game.

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November 21st, 2007, 00:15
Yes, all of you are right in your own decision making process.
Maybe i am to harsh, but its like a anticlimax of hope about the whole genre for me.
And we all together will come to this point of view, will there be a new (oldstyle) RPG witch a great story, a proven combat system, a good character building and party based that could be better then the old ones ?
I will not play Eschalon, i dont play Devil Whiskey, i cant play Avernum xx. Now you could say, then dont play. Yes. Sigh.

Ok, back to our beloved RPGs and… maybe…. is there another silver line of hope on the RPG horizon ?
Anyone with an answer beside Dragon Age ? Thank you.
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November 21st, 2007, 00:27
Other than Dragon Age, possibly Drakensang.

I know you say you won't play it but Avernum will almost certainly offer most of that criteria.

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November 21st, 2007, 00:27
I didnt like devil whiskey or avernum either. But there are som shareware games that are exceptions. Like vga planets or eschalon (i never learn to type that name). Geneforge is pretty good.
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November 21st, 2007, 00:43
And what about the broken hourglass? The story and dialogues will certainly be great if they invest for them half the time they invest for their background stories
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November 21st, 2007, 00:48
Originally Posted by SALZHURZ
Ok, back to our beloved RPGs and… maybe…. is there another silver line of hope on the RPG horizon ?
Maybe Age of Decadence. Coming out next year.

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
So, why should you play it? You shouldn't. You'd rather replay BG2 — so there you go. I'd rather the new experience, so I guess that's just a different personality thing.

I like the chargen, the atmosphere, the environmental interaction, the lighting - and I want to find out the story of my character. I'm probably getting to the point where I want the story to get a move on and there are umpteen improvements that would be nice in theory (social skills, more varied quests, deeper combat system) but I'm still enjoying the current content as it is. Just because the game is a 7/10 (or whatever) doesn't mean I should drop it in favour of a 9/10 game.
I agree with you Dhruin. I started off a bit disappointed, but the game has picked up now I'm further into the game and have more skills and spells and options available. The beginning was sluggish I guess because they wanted the players to get used to the controls, settings etc - which I think was a mistake, lots of people are now criticizing the game based on the demo and I can't blame them.

It's gone up from an initial 6.5 / 10 to somewhere between 7.0 and 7.5 at the moment (just got to Vela). Not the best RPG ever, but more fun than any other so-called RPG (Gothic, Oblivion, etc) released this year. Hopefully it'll move up the scale further as the game progresses.
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November 21st, 2007, 12:16
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
What should people mention then? If Bg isn't going back far enough how about Curse of the Azure Bonds .
Happy days with the old SSI gold box games . . . I did like the Buck Rogers ones too, a nice change from the standard D&D rules.

Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
I would recommend DosBox for the younger players. I'm currently replaying Darklands, a free download now by the way. Amazing how the game still feels very fresh after all those years. Don't forget to patch it.
Darklands was great, real attention to historical detail that you don't see any more.
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November 21st, 2007, 12:23
Originally Posted by dagorkan View Post

It's gone up from an initial 6.5 / 10 to somewhere between 7.0 and 7.5 at the moment (just got to Vela). Not the best RPG ever, but more fun than any other so-called RPG (Gothic, Oblivion, etc) released this year. Hopefully it'll move up the scale further as the game progresses.
I've found it improving as well, far too slow to get through that first level though. Is it just me or does it seem to get easier to get through later levels? My experience per salamander is just the same for example, I'm just more hardcore so they're less of an issue.

All in all, it's good fun. Not groundbreaking but considering it's done by one person with a limited budget it's done very well. A lot of thought gone into the rule system that I'm expecting to give interesting gameplay potential once I've got a slightly better character and worked out a few tricks. Could perhaps do with a bit more story but it's early days and it's not in the diablo camp.

I've got high hopes for books 2 & 3 as well, I'd imagine now he's put in all the hard work on the engine & rules the later episodes will have more depth on the story and locations.
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