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Default Bard's Tale IV - First Look

July 8th, 2017, 04:08
PCGamer takes a gander at The Bards Tale IV.

We go to inXile for an exclusive inside look at Brian Fargo's return to the world of The Bard's Tale.

We're standing in the most beautiful dungeon I've ever seen in a game-which happens to be a lush green forest peppered with highlights of orange and red, not the dank catacombs I think of when I hear the word ‘dungeon.' And when we start walking forward, peering side-to-side and climbing a set of stony stairs, there's something else odd: our free, unconstrained movement, a far cry from the rigid step-by-step, block-by-block exploration of classic dungeon crawlers. This is what it looks like to build a new game in a genre as old as PC gaming itself.

Developer inXile has invited me to its studio for an early look at The Bard's Tale 4, the first game in the series since 1991. After the blinding glare of a bright southern California morning, the inXile office, a floor above a local surf shop, feels a bit like a dungeon itself. But a cool one-it's small and intimate, decked out with Christmas lights and artwork for Wasteland 2 and only the occasional baby doll hanging from the rafters. For the next hour, I'll get to see a game that feels at once delightfully old-fashioned and tantalizingly new. The Bard's Tale 4 is the first dungeon crawler that's really grabbed my interest since I sat on my dad's lap playing the original Bard's Tale circa 1993, getting lost in the endless streets and abandoned houses of Skara Brae. Partially because, damn, is it ever pretty, but mostly because inXile is walking a tricky tightrope of nostalgia and innovation.
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July 8th, 2017, 17:10
For the money gathered, this game looks cheap and poorly put together.
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July 8th, 2017, 17:13
I think it looks good but I am more into game play.
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July 8th, 2017, 17:23
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
For the money gathered, this game looks cheap and poorly put together.
What? I think it looks good.
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July 8th, 2017, 17:28
I think it looks great as well.

I just hope it has some complex game mechanics and a ton of juicy stats I can dig in to.
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July 8th, 2017, 18:04
Doesn't matter what it looks like, just like any other game. The details will be in the gameplay, and if it invokes that old Bard's Tale feeling!
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July 8th, 2017, 18:20
I agree with that, Carn. I just think for the money, this game doesn't look any better than kickstarters/figs that have made much less. If this is as fun as the original Bard's Tale, it'll be okay.
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July 8th, 2017, 19:38
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
I agree with that, Carn. I just think for the money, this game doesn't look any better than kickstarters/figs that have made much less. If this is as fun as the original Bard's Tale, it'll be okay.
So…like which kickstarters?
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July 8th, 2017, 20:13
I think it looks bloody awesome, apart from the party characters in battle which looks really off. Can't wait to play the game.
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July 8th, 2017, 21:22
For a blobber it looks just fine. Blobbers don't need all the tactical finery of, say, a FPS. They just need to provide mood and a sense of the environment.
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July 8th, 2017, 21:32
I think the idea behind it is that since it is a blobber, there are a lot more resources freed up to make the graphics as technically intense as possible. So you'll probably see as many particle FX, ENB effects and so on on the screen as they can possibly fit at one time. If that makes sense.

Great article, though. Really looking forward to this one. Also nice to hear there is some forest/outdoor exploration.
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July 8th, 2017, 22:21
Don't care about the graphics; give me synergy between classes and their skills. And imagination. If this game has half the imagination behind its skill design as Starcrawlers, it'll be plenty good. Just add a fun story (preferably not cliché).
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July 8th, 2017, 22:25
The gameplay video I saw showed good potential for interesting synergy. Some of it was like a more advanced Lords of Xulima, it seemed.
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July 8th, 2017, 22:27
Lords of Xulima skill design had little synergy. It was your standard fare reactive setup of curing ailments and inflicting damage. Such a design is simplistic, one-dimensional, and antiquated.
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July 8th, 2017, 22:30
Looks too complicated for my tastes. Gimme a Bard or two and a choice of several songs, choice of various warriors, wizards, weapons, ranged weapons, dungeons, loots. Don't need my Bards Tale game to be a Graduate School course. Just want to relax, bash and have fun.

A minority view.

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July 8th, 2017, 22:32
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Lords of Xulima skill design had little synergy. It was your standard fare reactive setup of curing ailments and inflicting damage. Such a design is simplistic, one-dimensional, and antiquated.
Mmk.
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July 9th, 2017, 00:45
KISS -- "Keep it simple, stupid" -- design/engineering principle

"The principle most likely finds its origins in similar minimalist concepts, such as Occam's razor, Leonardo da Vinci's "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication", Mies Van Der Rohe's "Less is more", Bjarne Stroustrup's "Make Simple Tasks Simple!", or Antoine de Saint Exupéry's "It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away".

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July 9th, 2017, 01:46
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
For the money gathered, this game looks cheap and poorly put together.
Considering the 9 figure budgets most AAA games get, this looks amazing for such a little amount of money.
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July 9th, 2017, 02:35
The gameworld looks awesome and i bet its going to a really fun game to explore and solve all those cool puzzles. I just don't like the user interface and the feel of combat.

For instance when those party members turn to face me when I issue them commands. It just looks weird and fourth wall breaking… And then it becomes confusing when I don't get see proper attack animations from my party members. I know this is a blobber and maybe some of that is part of this subgenre, but I'm not sure how much I'd actually enjoy playing it.
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July 9th, 2017, 05:40
I love the old Might & Magic games and found Lords of Xulima to be fun and addictive, so I'm very much looking forward to this one.
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