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Default Hard to be a God - Post Mortem Excerpts @ GameBanshee

February 22nd, 2008, 04:43
GameBanshee has some translated excerpts of a Russian post-mortem from DTF on Burut's Hard to be a God. The demo received positive mutterings on our forums but apparently the final result in Russia is less enthusiastic and Burut has let fly in this article at publisher Akella, describing some of their decisions as "foolish and unacceptable".
More information.
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February 22nd, 2008, 04:43
What was said in the exerpt wasn't even about the game and just petty complaints about how they split the game bettween 2 companies. I am not sure how the rest of it is but from what I have played of the game so far they are very far off the mark and just spouting off bs about a great game.

I love almost every part of the game so far (I am not really into realistic horse riding) and for me it is the best game I have ever played.

Visuals
They have decent visuals but not the best but I don't care about having high end graphics so it doesn't bother me yet.

Sound
I never listen to in game music (I mute it then turn on some j-pop/j-rock) but the sound are good.

Combat
The combat is user controlled with fatigue (you can't fight if you have no stamina) and you have a choice bettween light, (one handed weapons and dual weapons) medium, (staves and double bladed weapons) heavy, (two handed and one handed with a shield weapons) and ranged (bows and high tech weapons which I haven't gotten too yet) weapons. You get 2 special attacks for each weapon type (except for ranged) that you get from putting points into the skills.
I like the combat system but I like some others better

Quests
This game has some great quests and I have liked all the quests I have done so far. Even if it seems like a quest is a typical rpg quest it probably isn't and you will have choices on how you complete quests.

Story
The story is the best I have ever seen in any game and it makes me want to read the original book. It reminds me of some of my most favorite novels but in a form where I can be that character.
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February 22nd, 2008, 11:24
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
What was said in the exerpt wasn't even about the game and just petty complaints about how they split the game bettween 2 companies. I am not sure how the rest of it is but from what I have played of the game so far they are very far off the mark and just spouting off bs about a great game.
A great game…



…that they made.

Your critique is a bit odd when it's the project lead of this "great game" who is "spouting off bs about a great game".

Besides, the piece is indeed less about the game as it is about the cooperation between Akella and Burut, but that is also very apropos.

Now, I've also been playing this game's English version for some time (review copy), but I can't say I really agree with your assertions that this is a great game. Some good ideas, but some pretty flawed execution here and there. I'll have to finish it before making any judgement calls, tho'
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February 22nd, 2008, 15:39
I've played the game… it's simply not fun. The combat mostly resembles a clickfest with pauses for stamina regeneration; health is somewhat hard to get (it costs) - together with the plentiful battles, this makes for a harder, frustrating game. What's most irritating, though, are the quests - interesting or not, I managed to break two of the three quests found in the first area. Plus your character is mute while everyone has spoken lines, which I find just odd.

Oh, and the translation is horrible.
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February 22nd, 2008, 15:50
The character is mute in the English port, he wasn't in the Russian version. He does speak during cutscenes, but not during dialogue.

And amusingly, I've had a similar but dissimilar experience: combat is frustrating because of the messy controls and the way your character moves, but it's not "hard". In fact it's not challenging at all. The only troubling combat I've had so far involved those always-annoying "accompany this person from A to B". Tsssk.

Not sure about breaking quests. I certainly haven't been able to, though I've encountered one quest I think I can't finish because I can't enter a building (floor is higher than door). Invisible walls and the fact that you can't jump over objects combined with messy level design = frustrating fun. Nothing like getting stuck behind a fence at key points.

But speaking of quests, the game does insult your intelligence quite a bit. A lot of its quests offer to be more challenging, but de facto the game holds your hand in a way that even a hack 'n slash would find insulting. You rarely get to choose between different dialogue lines, and your journal blatantly tells you when someone is lying, since the "impressions" the PC writes down are always the truth. I hate that kind of meta-narrative.

Translation is middling. I wouldn't call it horrible, I've seen worse, but it won't win any awards.
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February 22nd, 2008, 15:59
Combat was more frustrating than hard, I'll agree, though the scarcity of health really is a problem (just go fight some wolves in the forest, and you're bound to run out of health soon). Speaking of messy, though - the horse controls are terrible. In fact, they're so terrible I don't think I could explain it with words, but I'm sure everyone will agree with me once/if they try 'em.

Breaking quests (SPOILER): First quest, Exam. I pick up the side quest for the miller, get thief clothes, talk to miller, and head towards the thieves in the swamp, handle that one disguised. Then, notice house on map, head there, talk to thieves there, and pay 'em 100 gold - blamo, you get a necklace and the "Go back to Don Mayshi" line - no explanation for the necklace (the quest previously mentioned rich landlords, but nothing about a necklace). If you then try to talk to the guy in the Inn, he'll just mutter something along the lines of "Oh, you again"… you also miss out on killing the Bald Magoo spies — and maybe more, since I don't know how the "right" questline progresses (ditched that first playthrough when the spies slaughtered me). You can also somewhat break the miller quest - if you don't talk to the miller first, you won't get the reward from him (which is a decent 600 coins).
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February 22nd, 2008, 16:22
Originally Posted by VPeric View Post
Combat was more frustrating than hard, I'll agree, though the scarcity of health really is a problem (just go fight some wolves in the forest, and you're bound to run out of health soon). Speaking of messy, though - the horse controls are terrible. In fact, they're so terrible I don't think I could explain it with words, but I'm sure everyone will agree with me once/if they try 'em.
Well, beating up someone from horseback really shouldn't be easy. It's a fairly sensible system, I've seen worse.

Haven't had that problem with health. In the first area it's a bit annoying, but as you level up you put points in it. Then just eat your fruits and veggies to heal and you're fine. I'm some ways in and have yet to even use a potion to heal.

Originally Posted by VPeric View Post
Breaking quests (SPOILER): First quest, Exam. I pick up the side quest for the miller, get thief clothes, talk to miller, and head towards the thieves in the swamp, handle that one disguised. Then, notice house on map, head there, talk to thieves there, and pay 'em 100 gold - blamo, you get a necklace and the "Go back to Don Mayshi" line - no explanation for the necklace (the quest previously mentioned rich landlords, but nothing about a necklace). If you then try to talk to the guy in the Inn, he'll just mutter something along the lines of "Oh, you again"… you also miss out on killing the Bald Magoo spies — and maybe more, since I don't know how the "right" questline progresses (ditched that first playthrough when the spies slaughtered me). You can also somewhat break the miller quest - if you don't talk to the miller first, you won't get the reward from him (which is a decent 600 coins).
[also spoilers]
Oh, I thought you meant break as in "they don't work anymore if you do this and this". You're just doing them out of order, and it's pretty sensible and common in cRPGs that you won't get to do the whole quest if you do them out of order. Of course the whole tavern encounter becomes void if you already solved the quest, I mean you're there to get help solving it, not to chat people up.

I'm pretty sure Mayshi tells you to get the necklace, though it might not be written down in the quest log like that. The translations are sometimes pretty messed up making it unclear what you're supposed to do here and there.

What bothers me more is how the heavy hand-holding means that quests with a lot of potential (gather information about this guy, find and assassinate that guy, lots of political intrigue) basically become a matter of following your quest compass and clicking through one-choice dialogue. Now *that* really is terrible. Happens more and more beyond the demo area.
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February 22nd, 2008, 19:34
I have no problem with the combat and I usually suck at realtime combat but maybe that is because of what I use which is a one handed weapon without shield. Your comment about journal entries leads me to the only other problem I have with this game which is that the text in the journal is too small and hurts my eyes so I don't read it.

I have no problem getting through quests without the journal and if you buy beer it is a very good source of health for very cheap.

Spoiler
Since you lose all your money after you leave the ship after the first part of the game you should spend all of that on beer. I have over 300 mugs of beer which lasted me for a long time then I went to all the vegetables and fruit I had stored up. I only recently ran out and had to use my first potion but I have now bought more.
End Spiler

I have mainly liked this so much because of the story and have had no glitches so far. If you think the journal is hand holding you can do all quests without it.
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February 22nd, 2008, 20:54
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I have mainly liked this so much because of the story and have had no glitches so far. If you think the journal is hand holding you can do all quests without it.
Man, even without the journal the meta-narrative is ridiculously strong.

Haven't seen a single quest that was really creatively challenging. It's all "walk here and talk to or kill this guy". That's it. Not exactly great quest design when all dialogues have pretty much one option and all fights are hella easy.
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February 23rd, 2008, 02:41
Most choices in the game are not within a single dialog or even in dialog but it choices of how you do the quest. I know that not all quests do that and I wish they were expanded but a good deal of the quests give you options.

Spoiler
An example is when you get the first quest you have a choice to either kill the thieves or disguise yourself as one of them and convince them to leave. Another example is after you get arrested after getting off the ship you can choose who to escape with.
End spoiler

I haven't checked on options for most of the other quests but I know of only a few that don't and I'm not even sure on that since until recently I have only had the thief costume and the FRA costume and haven't tried them in all situations.

I do wish that they didn't have map markers for all quests though since some that have map markers you wern't given the information on who or where the next destination is.

PS. It has far more choice then in Oblivion and many other games and many of the less obvious choices are not told directly to you.
Last edited by guenthar; February 23rd, 2008 at 02:53.
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February 23rd, 2008, 14:10
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
Spoiler
An example is when you get the first quest you have a choice to either kill the thieves or disguise yourself as one of them and convince them to leave. Another example is after you get arrested after getting off the ship you can choose who to escape with.
End spoiler
Spoiler
Didn't know you could choose who to escape with, I just ran off with the first guy I talked to.
But yes, those're choices, albeit limited ones. I mean, it's not like I can choose to talk to the thieves, join them on a robbing spree, steal the necklace in the night and sneak back? Maybe I'm asking for too much, but Hard to be a God is not exactly a step forward in branching quest design.
The monk arrest scripted event is another weird example. First time it happened, I chose the dialogue option in which you say you will fight them…and it triggers exactly the same cutscene of you being arrested.
/Spoiler

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I haven't checked on options for most of the other quests but I know of only a few that don't and I'm not even sure on that since until recently I have only had the thief costume and the FRA costume and haven't tried them in all situations.
Aye, the costume reactions can be fun to play with.

Spoiler
Like in the Arkanar suburbs, held by the Gris ones. Just to try it out, I dove into an alley, switched from thieves to FRA costume and they all came running with their weapons. Good fun
/Spoiler

Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I do wish that they didn't have map markers for all quests though since some that have map markers you wern't given the information on who or where the next destination is.

PS. It has far more choice then in Oblivion and many other games and many of the less obvious choices are not told directly to you.
More than Oblivion, sure, but I'm not one of those people that holds up Oblivion as a landmark RPG. Oblivion was a huge step backwards in reactive game design and meaningful choice and consequence, I'm not going to compare a new game to an old game that sucks at it.
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