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September 30th, 2018, 14:14
Couchpotato noticed these reviews for The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep.

IGN - 7.9/10

<blockquote class="quote">At its roughest edges, The Bardís Tale IV shows its retro revival roots in some not so positive ways. It may not be special enough for me to easily overlook these technical shortcomings entirely, but itís an RPG thatís brimming with enjoyable, challenging fights, elaborate and entertaining puzzles, and plenty of visual and musical flair. And that was more than enough to keep me humming along contentedly to its tune more often than not.[/quote] Rock, Paper, Shotgun - No Score

<blockquote class="quote">I feel absolutely certain this will find an audience whoíll defend it, no matter how flaky the tech, how awful the writing, how outstandingly dull the characters. (Oh, they try to do BioWare Bants between themselves, which is so far off the mark, and only laughable because, despite wandering them around for hours, Iíd literally no idea what their names were, let alone if they had a personality.) Because people love old things made new, and people love pretending that something crappy now reminds them of something crappy from back when their backs hurt less and they could stay up past 10.30 in the evening without feeling it the next day.[/quote] WCCFTech - 7.9/10

<blockquote class="quote">Overall, The Bardís Tale IV is a rare new game that feels just a little old. People who only care for the newest thing with the newest mechanics might not appreciate the cosy, slightly dusty tenderness of Bards Tale, but it does have this delightful feeling regardless. Even if youíve never heard of the series, or played RPGs from the nineties, The Bardís Tale IV: Barrows Deep is a special game not to be quickly dismissed.[/quote] COGconnected - 86/100

<blockquote class="quote">There is so much going on that is good that itís hard to even mention it all. You start with plenty of customization options, not just with character creation, but within classes and skills. All told there are somewhere between sixty to seventy skills per class. I havenít even mentioned the puzzles, which I found to be just the right mix of difficult, neither boring nor too hard. The story is great, even with the occasional self-spoiler. Combat has a lot going for it and keeps things interesting, but itís always possible that not everyone feels that way on that front. The few performance issues aside, itís a game thatís hard not to like. Interestingly enough, prior to release InXile Entertainment CEO Brian Fargo said that if The Bardís Tale IV sells over two million copies over the first eighteen months heíll attempt to buy back Interplay. Is this a two million seller over the next year and a half? It very well may be.[/quote] Trusted Reviews - 2/5

<blockquote class="quote">Without the bugs, The Bardís Tale IV is okay at best. With them, itís perhaps best to preserve your nostalgia and play the HD remaster of The Bardís Tale I to III instead. Several bugs were cleared up between us getting code for the game and the review version, however as it stands the version weíre currently playing still has several technical hitches and is a mediocre experience even when it runs smoothly. It could be better, but itís hard to recommend in its current state, even to die-hard fans.[/quote]More information.
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September 30th, 2018, 14:14
Hopefully inXile will realize they'll have to fire most of their incompetent Useless-Eater team and hire professional developers and start developing professional games, like their Bard's Tale for PC 2004.
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September 30th, 2018, 14:53
An astonishingly mixed bag, it seems.
@mercy: there are ways to be contrary without coming across like that, you know?
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September 30th, 2018, 15:53
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Hopefully inXile will realize they'll have to fire most of their incompetent Useless-Eater team and hire professional developers and start developing professional games
Bite your tongue, because they did - they're developing professional mmos now.
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September 30th, 2018, 16:17
You know they bloody well are not developing an MMO so why do you keep yapping that crap.

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Bite your tongue, because they did - they're developing professional mmos now.
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September 30th, 2018, 16:29
That "Trusted review" score sounds really off considering the text…

I can understand that a lot of people had performance and bug problems and therefore give low scores. The ones who think the gameplay underneath is bad I have a harder time understanding.

EDIT: Ok, it was associated with the last text. That makes more sense.
Last edited by TomRon; October 1st, 2018 at 10:36.
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September 30th, 2018, 16:49
Originally Posted by TomRon View Post
That "Trusted review" score sounds really off considering the text…

I can understand that a lot of people had performance and bug problems and therefore give low scores. The ones who think the gameplay underneath is bad I have a harder time understanding.
Same here. The gameplay is excellent for a modern dungeon crawler, best one by far we've seen in awhile. I also had zero performance issues or bugs, so I'm not sure what people are complaining about there. Granted, bugs are subjective from computer to computer, but I had no issues at all in the 25 hours I played. But I think people need to upgrade their rigs, period. I plan on playing more after Kingmaker, it was really starting to get interesting.
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September 30th, 2018, 17:09
Originally Posted by TheRealFluent View Post
Same here. The gameplay is excellent for a modern dungeon crawler, best one by far we've seen in awhile. I also had zero performance issues or bugs, so I'm not sure what people are complaining about there. Granted, bugs are subjective from computer to computer, but I had no issues at all in the 25 hours I played. But I think people need to upgrade their rigs, period. I plan on playing more after Kingmaker, it was really starting to get interesting.
It really, really depends.
The combat difficulty balancing is horrible and the character system is pretty bad as well. Both is easy to fix actually because the underlying system is quite good, but the way it materializes in the game doesn't work anymore after 1/3 to 1/2 of the game.

I think the game's strength are it's puzzles. And that again is not everyone's cup of tea. On the other hand lots of people also liked Legend of Grimrock and that one had nothing but good puzzles either, though puzzles were not as frequent as in BT4.

But if you want to have interesting battles and are not so keen on doing puzzles I can fully understand that you don't like BT4.

Edit: Just as an example, I took 1h06m of my gameplay from Mangars Tower which is likely representative to the majority of gameplay after the first couple of hours:

9 minutes for 3 Combats, taking about 1.5m, 1.5m and 6 minutes, and only because I want to kill them as fast as possible (in terms of turns) which actually made the combats longer than necessary.
7 minutes in character screen, figuring out the least useless skills to take at that point.
1.5 minutes for dialogues.

The rest of the time about 50 minutes was used for running around and solving logic based bring a light beam from A to B puzzles and find the right combination of runes puzzles.

The next hour of gameplay I then spent mostly on tieing up loose ends, some quipment management and running from A to B.
The previous hour to that, however, has pretty much the same distribution in terms of puzzles and combat.

I'd call it a save bet to say that I spent ast least 3 times as much time on solving puzzles than on doing combat.
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Last edited by Kordanor; September 30th, 2018 at 17:28.
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September 30th, 2018, 17:23
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
It really, really depends.
The combat difficulty balancing is horrible and the character system is pretty bad as well. Both is easy to fix actually because the underlying system is quite good, but the way it materializes in the game doesn't work anymore after 1/3 to 1/2 of the game.

I think the game's strength are it's puzzles. And that again is not everyone's cup of tea. On the other hand lots of people also liked Legend of Grimrock and that one had nothing but good puzzles either, though puzzles were not as frequent as in BT4.

But if you want to have interesting battles and are not so keen on doing puzzles I can fully understand that you don't like BT4.
I think the character system is great and I've had interesting battles, but I'm only 25-ish hours in. The system lets you customize your party like no one else will, making your playstyle unique to your own choices. I don't powergame or min/max, though, but the battles have been fun for me. I might turn it to Hard since discovering Barrage + Soul Leech, though.
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September 30th, 2018, 17:32
Originally Posted by TheRealFluent View Post
I think the character system is great and I've had interesting battles, but I'm only 25-ish hours in. The system lets you customize your party like no one else will, making your playstyle unique to your own choices. I don't powergame or min/max, though, but the battles have been fun for me. I might turn it to Hard since discovering Barrage + Soul Leech, though.
Edited my previous post to edit something regarding puzzles and time distribution.

And yeah, I pretty much agree until the point you just played. But after that time, shortly before you breach the 2nd skill chain (which blocks of high level skills), the combat becomes extremely easy.
And after having 2 or 3 skill points after the skill chain break, you hardly have any useful choices anymore.

For me that was pretty much on part 25/26 of my Let's Play. I am on part 47 now, and estimate that I still have about 15 hours to play.
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September 30th, 2018, 17:42
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Edited my previous post to edit something regarding puzzles and time distribution.

And yeah, I pretty much agree until the point you just played. But after that time, shortly before you breach the 2nd skill chain (which blocks of high level skills), the combat becomes extremely easy.
And after having 2 or 3 skill points after the skill chain break, you hardly have any useful choices anymore.
Is that on Hard difficulty? I unlocked the higher skills and it's still been challenging for me, but especially the puzzles. I find the combats good, too, but again only to the point I played. I've party wiped several times and had some epic fights where my whole crew was almost dead. If you min/max it might be different.
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September 30th, 2018, 17:49
Yeah, that's on hard difficulty. And I also agree that some of the puzzles can be quite challenging (though the harder ones are still to come).

And regarding min-maxing: I didn't really min max. In fact I also play with the pre-designed characters only, except main character.
However there definitely some stuff, which ties in to the bad character system I mentioned before: Basically it comes down to STR.
The game has 5 stats:
Strength: Extremely powerful through the whole game
Constitution: Only really useful during the first part of the game, as survivability isn't really a concern anymore later on
Armor Class: Same Story
Spell Points: Pretty much useless, you could do fine with just 2 spell points during the whole game (obviously you will have more anyways)
Intelligence: Absolutely useless. You don't need channeling spells anyways.

So it comes down to stength>everything else. Simplest attribute distribution in pretty much all RPGs.
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September 30th, 2018, 17:52
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Yeah, that's on hard difficulty. And I also agree that some of the puzzles can be quite challenging (though the harder ones are still to come).

And regarding min-maxing: I didn't really min max. In fact I also play with the pre-designed characters only, except main character.
However there definitely some stuff, which ties in to the bad character system I mentioned before: Basically it comes down to STR.
The game has 5 stats:
Strength: Extremely powerful through the whole game
Constitution: Only really useful during the first part of the game, as survivability isn't really a concern anymore later on
Armor Class: Same Story
Spell Points: Pretty much useless, you could do fine with just 2 spell points during the whole game (obviously you will have more anyways)
Intelligence: Absolutely useless. You don't need channeling spells anyways.

So it comes down to stength>everything else. Simplest attribute distribution in pretty much all RPGs.
See, my party is different. Intelligence is important as I channel with my Bard and my Practitioner, to increase spell points to unleash Barrage attacks. We all play differently, which is my point of how nice the character development is. No one will play the same way at first. I also rely on Armor Class to absorb damage from hard hitting opponents, and use the Battle Standard to refund opportunity points and so on. I have my own strategy and likely everyone will if they don't have pre-knowledge of the systems.
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September 30th, 2018, 18:06
Originally Posted by TheRealFluent View Post
See, my party is different. Intelligence is important as I channel with my Bard and my Practitioner, to increase spell points to unleash Barrage attacks. We all play differently, which is my point of how nice the character development is. No one will play the same way at first. I also rely on Armor Class to absorb damage from hard hitting opponents, and use the Battle Standard to refund opportunity points and so on. I have my own strategy and likely everyone will if they don't have pre-knowledge of the systems.
Yes and no. Continue for the next 10h. I am pretty sure that you will have broken the system in a different way than I have, which I will not mention here as this could be seen as spoiler. But considering the class skills and puzzle weapon boons there is no way to not break it.
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September 30th, 2018, 18:25
I agree with Kordanor on the battles, I'm kind of steamrolling them now. That might be partly because I've outleveled the location I'm at, but even Orange encounters are a breeze now. I'm going to up the difficulty to see if it makes a difference, but the system feels a little broken at this point. I'm a min-max guy though and planned my characters out pretty well, not picking loads of skills but only bee-lining towards cap stones I wanted and picking passives. It adds up to a pretty OP party as soon as you hit tier 3.
@Kordanor, what beam puzzles in Mangars tower? I wonder if I missed a part of it but I don't think so, and it was all Rune puzzles apart from the music one as far as I remember.

EDIT: Agree on the stats. Intelligence should govern spell damage, not Strength. And the enemies should hit harder, making con and ac worthwhile.
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September 30th, 2018, 18:49
Originally Posted by TomRon View Post
I agree with Kordanor on the battles, I'm kind of steamrolling them now. That might be partly because I've outleveled the location I'm at, but even Orange encounters are a breeze now. I'm going to up the difficulty to see if it makes a difference, but the system feels a little broken at this point. I'm a min-max guy though and planned my characters out pretty well, not picking loads of skills but only bee-lining towards cap stones I wanted and picking passives. It adds up to a pretty OP party as soon as you hit tier 3.
@Kordanor, what beam puzzles in Mangars tower? I wonder if I missed a part of it but I don't think so, and it was all Rune puzzles apart from the music one as far as I remember.

EDIT: Agree on the stats. Intelligence should govern spell damage, not Strength. And the enemies should hit harder, making con and ac worthwhile.
Sorry, meant Iwon Rheg, same puzzles also to be found in Siambra Dhu.
I think Siambra Dhu also had one encounter you were not supposed to win, like 8 guys with 96 armor and 250-400hp. Was close but I made it anyways. But that was before they nerfed a certain boon in Patch 2.

Regarding Int: I have to potentially correct myself there. Apparently it does increase the damage of a few spells. Likely still not worth it, but need to look into that again, not that I am short of damage atm…
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September 30th, 2018, 18:53
From one of the snippets of reviews in the OP "The story is great…" while from another one "… how awful the writing, how outstandingly dull the characters …."

I understand that it's eye of the beholder (not the game), but to me having an interesting story and/or characters (i.e. good writing) is very important in a game like this.
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September 30th, 2018, 18:56
Puzzles really start to kill my enjoyment of this game.
I wanted a turn based dungeon crawler with tons of combat (like the old games were) but got a puzzle game with a bit of turn-based combat in between.
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September 30th, 2018, 20:18
Intelligence governs spell damage, but magic is considered physical damage in the game, other than Mental, I think. INT definitely increases Mental damage, but Fire damage is physical. Maybe they thought Physical damage would be like setting someone on fire, while Mental damage is more "real" magic. Could be wrong on that one, though. And I hope I don't steamroll battles now, but I will turn it on to Hard and see if that makes a difference.

I use Intelligence all the time with my Practitioner for good damage. She can deal much more than my physical output. And some Intelligence with the Bard so she can drink more is good for my group, as is having my main Practitioner (bladecaster build, so more Strength-based) for when he needs to hit a few Arcane Barrage attacks to kill an enemy he can't reach or just for extra damage. Many ways to skin the cat in this game.
Last edited by TheRealFluent; September 30th, 2018 at 20:58.
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September 30th, 2018, 21:04
Because people love old things made new, and people love pretending that something crappy now reminds them of something crappy from back when their backs hurt less and they could stay up past 10.30 in the evening without feeling it the next day.
Insulting your customers? And this from the senior editor??
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
The rest of the time about 50 minutes was used for running around and solving logic based bring a light beam from A to B puzzles and find the right combination of runes puzzles.
Talos Principle: The RPG! I might have to push this a little higher up the wish list.
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