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Default RPGWatch Feature - Not a Review of The Bard's Tale IV

November 5th, 2018, 14:36
Forgottenlor started playing The Bard's Tale IV and around a third of the game, gave up. But unlike other games he gave up on in the past he did want to share his views of what he did play and this is how this editorial was born.

This isn't a review, so I won't approach it as I normally approach a review. I'm no longer sure it's appropriate to review a game after finishing about 1/3 of it, unless it contains the same content repeated again and again. The Bard's Tale IV isn't that kind of game. It's not procedurally generated but is a hand-crafted game with many different areas, and it introduces new content each time the player enters a new area. I tend to review games I finish, which is why as one of my readers complained I tend to give "good" or "very good" reviews. I actually finish most games I play, but there is a decent minority of games I don't. Those fall into two categories. The first are the games I give 4-5 hours to before I realize I just can't be bothered with and the latter are the long games, like The Bard's Tale 4 IV, that are fun enough to continue with, but at some point are just no longer appealing when I have many other games in my backlog. I started after about 15 hours thinking about abandoning my The Bard's Tale IV game but came back to the game a couple of times before actually quitting, so I actually played 20 hours before throwing in the towel.
More information.
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November 5th, 2018, 14:36
Thanks Forgottenlor
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Default My thoughts exactly

November 5th, 2018, 15:31
Great review of a mediocre game. I wanted to love it so much as one who grew up with the Wizardry/BardísTale/Might and Magic goodness. I finally stopped playing it after the fairy puzzle after fairy puzzle. A few puzzles are ok, but these seemed a chore and work, not entertainment, and honestly had other games that I would rather play. I am sad too at what this game could have been and was at least communicated that it would be at the KickStarter. Oh well. First Bardís Tale I havenít completed multiple times.
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November 5th, 2018, 15:44
Yeah I'm not a puzzle fan… Despite being a backer my copy of this is sitting unplayed, ah well maybe I'll give it a go at some point.

Just to note though I got my monies worth just in the BT1 remake, so I'm very happy.

Daniel.
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November 5th, 2018, 16:22
Not finishing a game is almost a requirement for 'professional' reviewers.
The 2017 handbook of professional journalism clearly outlines the following.
You are only supposed to spend 30 minutes in the intro area, make your initial grading and complaints about the entire scope of the game and never play again. Later on, you watch a YT clip of the final credits and *update* your score to reflect any changes.
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November 5th, 2018, 16:27
On a more serious, less sarcastic note…

I loved the disclaimer up front about time played. Heaven forbid we have another #MaylanderReviewGate scandal.

Appreciated the Identity Crisis section as it connects some of the pieces that didn't quite make sense to me during development.
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November 5th, 2018, 16:45
I still haven't dive into BT4, too many games at the same time released. And I need my chinese soaps daily fix so videogames are not the #1 priority currently…

Doesn't mean I'm gonna be against this "not a review", in fact I wish actual so called professionals had guts to admit how many hours they spent and in what exactly.
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November 5th, 2018, 17:08
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
I still haven't dive into BT4, too many games at the same time released. And I need my chinese soaps daily fix so videogames are not the #1 priority currently…

Doesn't mean I'm gonna be against this "not a review", in fact I wish actual so called professionals had guts to admit how many hours they spent and in what exactly.
Chinese daily soaps?! Oh well, at least not so cheesy as k-drama.

A bit refreshing to see a reviewer admitting that he could not get into the game and finish it.

BT4 also sits somewhere in my library. Currently busy with catching up with some j-drama and trying to finish Dying Light and Kingdom Come. Not much time left for anything else.
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November 5th, 2018, 17:09
Part of the problem, I believe, is that a lot of people believe that you should not review something if you did finish it, which is just plain stupid. Professional reviewers (especially the ones from high-tier sites) simply do not have the time to play the whole game sometimes but the public would complain if they were actually honest.
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November 5th, 2018, 17:10
In a related subject, I also played about 20 hours of the game and quit. It's cool but not cool enough for playing 40-50 hours.
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November 5th, 2018, 17:59
I did finish the game - it is very long - sadly the sum of the good parts did not make a good game. The biggest disappointment is that if they had made the game a bit smaller and shorter and flushed out the writing; story and progression it could have been a very good game. Oh well.
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November 5th, 2018, 18:09
I backed the game as well. But after reading a lot of reviews, telling me everything I need to know (that I wouldn't enjoy the game at all), I won't even give it a try.

They really strayed way too far from the originals, and in addition to that made a lot of mistakes.
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November 5th, 2018, 18:21
Originally Posted by GabrielMP_19 View Post
Part of the problem, I believe, is that a lot of people believe that you should not review something if you did finish it, which is just plain stupid. Professional reviewers (especially the ones from high-tier sites) simply do not have the time to play the whole game sometimes but the public would complain if they were actually honest.
I understand the balance between finishing and playing. However a lot of these professional reviewers literally play less than 30 min, or watch a demo, then jump on a bandwagon and pepper it with a mixture of announcement hype, stating development promises as if they are fact, and blowing silly things out of proportion (both positive and negative).

Its even sadder when you can tell a reviewer actually hasn't even played the game, but they watched a tech demo.
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November 5th, 2018, 18:43
I backed the project and played it through, but I'm not sure if I'd ever replay it in the future. It was good, and I enjoyed most of my time with the game, but in many ways it really didn't feel like a Bard's Tale game. That music though, and this comes from someone that usually turns the audio off in each and every game, the music in this one is pretty spectacular.
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November 5th, 2018, 18:50
I like the game , have 64 hours spent in it. I see your points Forgottenlor, it could have been so much better. I feel the same about Wasteland 2, it's good but it could have been so much better. Brian Fargo failed again.
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November 5th, 2018, 19:05
So its basically a puzzle game? I like puzzles but one puzzle after another loses the immersion for me. This is why so many Myst clones failed in the 90's.
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November 5th, 2018, 19:05
Originally Posted by muhabor View Post
I feel the same about Wasteland 2, it's good but it could have been so much better. Brian Fargo failed again.
Its funny how in current society we give participation stickers to everyone, we can't 'shame' anyone for inadequacy or inaction, and yet… yet we nail people to the wall when we feel they've disappointed us.

I guess my definition of success and failure must be dated.
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November 5th, 2018, 19:18
Originally Posted by Wisdom View Post
I understand the balance between finishing and playing. However a lot of these professional reviewers literally play less than 30 min, or watch a demo, then jump on a bandwagon and pepper it with a mixture of announcement hype, stating development promises as if they are fact, and blowing silly things out of proportion (both positive and negative).

Its even sadder when you can tell a reviewer actually hasn't even played the game, but they watched a tech demo.
Are you actually sure that people do this? Who does? In which site? For all I know of the media industry, you will generally get fired if you play half an hour and write a review unless you are a remote freelancer working for a very small site. Nobody is going to do this at Kotaku, PCGamer or Polygon, for instance, or they will end up getting fired.
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November 5th, 2018, 19:21
All due respect, as someone who:
1. is a hardcore gamer
2. works with (non-gamer) journalism often
3. has already freelanced writing game reviews
I think it's a crude exaggeration how people think that reviewers do not play the games. I don't think they actually finish the games all the time but most major sites would not tolerate their reviewers doing such a lazy work.
The main issue, I believe, is either that the reviewers are simply bad or that they do not understand the game very well.
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November 5th, 2018, 19:33
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
So its basically a puzzle game? I like puzzles but one puzzle after another loses the immersion for me. This is why so many Myst clones failed in the 90's.
I would say (going by feeling) 50% of my gametime was spent solving puzzles. Combat like 20% and 30% exploration, leveling, other interactions (like going to a shop or talking to npcs). That doesn't include backtracking, which also took up a bit of time.
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