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Default Eschalon: Book 1 - Review @ 2404.org

February 13th, 2008, 17:23
2404.org has kicked up a short review of Eschalon: Book 1. The score is a harsh 5/10 but it's clear from the start the author isn't impressed with the idea of an "old school" game. Here's a snip on coping with the darkness:
The game makes much of light, and combat in dungeons or at night is usually frustrating, as enemies are “partially hidden by darkness,” making it difficult to land a blow. Your character has little choice but to keep at least one hand free to hold a torch; granted, slimes and such might battle in pitch darkness, but it’s rather odd that human enemies don’t seem to care about needing light. Torches are plentiful, at least, though players wishing to use a shield or two-handed weapon will find the preoccupation with light to be most annoying. Merely exploring in darkness is unpleasant as well; turning up the brightness on your monitor will be more rewarding than lighting a torch.
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February 13th, 2008, 17:23
Gee, even reading that one paragraph snippet, it's plain this dude knows nothing about the game or its mechanics.

1) There are other options for casting light;
2) There are options for seeing in the dark as well;
3) Enemies without night vision (ie. humans) suffer the same penalties to hit in combat as the player;

Don't think I need to read the rest of this one.

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February 13th, 2008, 17:47
I don't think as well.

Sounds to me like the review of someone who is used to graphically satisfying games.

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February 13th, 2008, 19:31
Right on, screeg. An obvious case of pearls before swine…
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February 13th, 2008, 21:34
Finally, some one who doesn't praise this mediocre game. It's so unoriginal and regressive in term of it's design. Average at best.

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February 13th, 2008, 22:53
Eschalon definitely has flaws - true - but does this review address them? It starts from the premise that the game belongs in 1980 and has no further insight from there. I don't really understand praising a badly conceived review just because the author accidentally came to a similar conclusion while stumbling around blindly.

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February 14th, 2008, 01:58
me1 appears to have the same standards, though, Dhruin.

"Regressive design" sounds to me like the user is defining anything that isn't "next-gen" as inherently bad. That's a common industry standard, and obviously Eschalon won't live up to it.
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February 14th, 2008, 03:43
Someone needs to explain the term Old Skool to these people!! They totally miss the point, don't they?

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February 14th, 2008, 04:30
Originally Posted by screeg View Post
Gee, even reading that one paragraph snippet, it's plain this dude knows nothing about the game or its mechanics.

1) There are other options for casting light;
2) There are options for seeing in the dark as well;
3) Enemies without night vision (ie. humans) suffer the same penalties to hit in combat as the player;

Don't think I need to read the rest of this one.
What a moron.
Not you. I'm talking about the idiot who wrote the article.

As you said : spells that helped you in darkness.
My personnal favorite : Predator Sight! Combined with golddigger's flame.

What a moron!!!

P.S. : … and VB : STFU!!! Dig it!
Last edited by The Wanderer; February 14th, 2008 at 04:32. Reason: added post scriptum.
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February 14th, 2008, 04:49
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
me1 appears to have the same standards, though, Dhruin.

"Regressive design" sounds to me like the user is defining anything that isn't "next-gen" as inherently bad. That's a common industry standard, and obviously Eschalon won't live up to it.
Hardly. I finished Avernum 4 few months ago. Problem with Eschalon is that it offers zero innovation and is a poor rpg in "Choices & Consiquences" aspect. One would think that being Indy would allow the developer to come up with original, well fleshed out, choice and consiquence driven rpg, because those are the kind of rpg's that we need more of. Instead, Eschalon guys made a generic fantasy romp that doesn't do anything well. You got turn based combat in there just because it's "old school", not because the game actually needs it, since it's combat is so simple. That's just one example, the game simply doesn't have enough content or it's own charms to be even as close as fun as the classics it's trying to unsuccessfully emulate, classics which focused on intricate puzzle filled dungeons, PARTY based turn based combat and exploration. Eschalon simply does too little of everything. I am not saying it's a horrible game, far from it, it's just average, and doesn't deserve all the praise it's been getting. And yes it is "regressive design" because it's main selling point are it's "old school" charms. Now I do want to say that I finished the game, and I will play Eschalon Book 2, because Book I seems like a great steping stone for what could be a great rpg series.

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February 14th, 2008, 04:52
Originally Posted by me1 View Post
One would think that being Indy would allow the developer to come up with original, well fleshed out, choice and consiquence driven rpg, because those are the kind of rpg's that we need more of.
You feel that way, but the maker of Eschalon did not. Does his intent to emulate old school RPGs rather than move RPGs into a new direction in narrative or choice and consequence make him wrong by definition? I don't think so, nor do I see how that would work. Why should the design possibilities of independent games be limited like that? The whole point of independent game making is that you can make whatever you like, and possibly think will sell, there's no golden "don't make un-fleshed out old school cRPGs" rule.

Originally Posted by me1 View Post
Eschalon simply does too little of everything.
That is true, but in that case Dhruin's point is a good one; it makes no sense to support a stupid review just because you agree with its opinion.
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February 14th, 2008, 05:12
I think the guy is more into his immersion games than "game" games (if you know what I mean). No big deal.
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February 14th, 2008, 05:14
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
You feel that way, but the maker of Eschalon did not. Does his intent to emulate old school RPGs rather than move RPGs into a new direction in narrative or choice and consequence make him wrong by definition? I don't think so, nor do I see how that would work. Why should the design possibilities of independent games be limited like that? The whole point of independent game making is that you can make whatever you like, and possibly think will sell, there's no golden "don't make un-fleshed out old school cRPGs" rule.



That is true, but in that case Dhruin's point is a good one; it makes no sense to support a stupid review just because you agree with its opinion.
I never said that there was anything wrong with his choice. Just that "I" would prefer more innovation from Indy's because I sure as hell am not going to get it from big developers. Also, I am actually a fan of old school rpg's, and I enjoyed both Wizardry 8 & Wizards and Warriors for example. Sure, both were unoriginal, but they were well designed, well fleshed out, old school rpg's. Something which Eschalon doesn't even come close to. Meaning, that I found it to be a poor rpg because it failed to accomplish (in my mind) what it set out to do, which was to be a great old school type of rpg.

Honestly, I don't see what makes the reviewer so stupid. His introduction hints that he is infact familiar with early rpg's. His, darkness gripes aside, his conclusion seems perfectly reasonable to me. That's what I am agreeing with, general idea he is trying to get across.

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February 14th, 2008, 05:26
I don't think it's fair to compare E1 with Wiz 8, etc. Consider the budget, staffing, and time involved. Let's give a NEW game creator a little slack here and allow him to develop his skills and take his series on a journey. Perhaps down the track he'll be ready to tackle some of that innovation you ( and most of us ) would like to see!!

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February 14th, 2008, 07:51
Oh, I agree it's an unfair comparison. But then again, just because I am impressed by how much Eschalon guys accomplished with so little, doesn't mean I am going to enjoy the game more. And I was very impresed by presentation. I am also defenitly looking forward to book two, and whatever else these guys might make, so I do wish them best of luck, and great succes.

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