TSL - Cease and Desist
Started by dark-daventry, November 06, 2011, 03:08:08 PM
Quote from: Damar on November 08, 2011, 06:27:39 PMOk, just finished the game and I thought I'd wait to post what I thought of it, because quite frankly I'm pissed off, but I'm going ahead and posting anyway. I'll get to why I'm irritated in a minute, but might as well start with the good.As always, I really like the music. The game itself was also pretty, though like someone else said, there was some clipping issues. I didn't really care either since it's a fan game. I also really enjoyed the maze. In fact, I really wished it had been bigger. It was pretty basic, actually since most of the maze you could see was inaccessible. I also wish you hadn't had to cheat to get to the castle. Normally I'm not a fan of mazes in games, but the overhead view made it much more accessible.Ok, now for the kind of picky things. I wasn't a fan of Pan's voice (it looks like he wasn't even listed in the credits.) To be fair, though, I really don't know what I imagine Pan sounding like. I couldn't even tell you if he has a high or low voice, so me saying I don't like it isn't exactly fair. What I can say, though, is I don't like how he was written. Having him refer to himself as "one" constantly just didn't work. It was annoying and difficult to follow. But he wasn't really a major character, so not a huge deal.I also don't really like the fact that everything is moving backwards. At the risk of being that nerd who actually analyzes these things, it just doesn't make sense. Events are moving backwards, yet other things are moving forward. The curse obviously doesn't get undone, and clearly everyone is still aware that Alex and Rosella were cursed, even as they're becoming unaware of other things (Shamir unlearns spells and the chess pieces replay their game, unaware it already happened, though Graham knows.) The banner is suddenly hanging again while the tree still blocks the way to the beach. Like I said, I stop short of being that nerd who analyzes it and gets indignant about such things (I save that level of geekdom for Star Trek) but these inconsistencies kind of scratch at the back of my head. Was it really necessary to have time revert? Why not just have things being undone completely and disappear, since that achieves the same result story-wise (though people when then accuse you of ripping off Neverending Story.) And actually, for that matter, what is the Black Cloaks' endgame? Completely undoing the world in which they live? Doesn't that hurt them just as much as everyone else? The story says that they're ambitious and corrupt, but ambitious people don't want to undo the world, they just want to rule it. Like I said, these are picky points, but they are points that kind of stick in the back of my head because they just don't quite fit together.Moving on to the more frustrating items, which was the puzzle design. The first thing that bothered me was getting the horn. Mainly, Graham goes around asking everybody for everything, guilting them into it by saying it will help his children. But to get the horn, he doesn't even bring that up to Beast, and instead conspires to steal the horn in an elaborate plot. I'm all for a elaborate plot but it all seemed so unnecessary because Beast was reasonable at that point. Now, if you had shifted his transformation back into a beast a bit earlier, then that would explain why he's being unreasonable and Graham needs to resort to stealth and deception.One of the things that really bugged me was calling the winds. I figured out how to do it just fine. The puzzle made sense. What didn't make any sense was having to put all the instruments in the same inventory slot. Why would I have thought to do that? You click inventory items on each other to combine them. You didn't combine these. You just wanted them consolidated. But that doesn't make sense, because they're already consolidated in Graham's pocket? On top of that, there was no indication from the narrator that this was an issue ("Good thought but calling one wind at a time won't do Graham any good."). All you got if you tried to play the instruments was either a stock response, or a "you can't do that here" response. And it should also be noted that the "you can't do that here" response occurs in a separate screen from where you're supposed to play the instruments while the stock responses occurred in the screen where you were supposed to call the winds. So I was left thinking that there was a hotspot I was missing outside the city, maybe around the statues. It really got me frustrated because it was the worst kind of "read my mind" issue so far in the game in that I didn't have to read the developers mind to solve the puzzle, but I did have to read their mind to figure out how to implement the answer. And speaking of the winds, I suppose it would be really picky to ask why the winds didn't look like they did in KQ7, even though the narrator makes special mention that Graham knows the statues aren't the true forms of the winds.Moving on to the Pandora's Box puzzle. I tried it on normal because I didn't want to be a wuss. I figured I could handle it. And I was right. But it took me forever. Seriously, just reducing the number of symbols to two per side would have improved the puzzle. As it was, though, I just had to keep doing the same thing over and over, and it took forever. And the more frustrated I got, the more I disliked the puzzle and started to question it. Like, seriously, what was Valanice doing? Were there really symbols swirling around her? How does projecting them on the wall translate into unlocking the box? I realize that's getting very concrete with the puzzle, but the fact is that when you get someone frustrated enough, they start to pick things apart like that. At least I do. The interface on that puzzle just wasn't well designed. And not just because it was tediously complicated. Also, it was just badly designed. A lot of the symbols would go up into where the icon bar was, which meant you couldn't click them. And then they'd disappear or switch places. It really was infuriating. So infuriating I didn't really get a sense of accomplishment when I beat it on normal. I was just irritated and glad it was over.And then you threw me right into a rock, paper, scissors game with Shadrack. Two non-adventure minigames in your adventure game. The Shadrack fight pissed me off beyond all recognition. It took me forever to beat even after recognizing the patterns. The rock animations, which looked cool at first, began feeling like they were lasting forever, and the entire time I just felt that it had no place in an adventure game. It's a freaking boss battle. I played King's Quest because I didn't like arcade and RPG games. I don't care if RPGs are popular, I don't need boss battles in my King's Quest. Especially not after an infuriating mini-game puzzle. And absolutely not when it's just killing time and didn't resolve anything. Was Shadrack defeated? Of course not! You'll still have to face him again. This did nothing to further the plot, nothing to develop the characters. It was there to kill time, and I knew it the entire time. I knew the game would probably end after I beat Shadrack, rendering the frustration I was feeling completely useless. It was a meaningless edition and it left me severely pissed off. It literally dragged all the fun and good will I had playing the rest of the game right out of my mind and left me sullenly staring at the computer, trying to dodge lightning bolts. At least the arcade sequence in the last chapter furthered the story. This did nothing. It was unnecessary.There were other things that didn't sit quite right with me. I felt the title of the episode was over long and didn't seem to reference anything in particular (but ultimately that doesn't matter. It's just a title.) I also didn't like the fact that Valanice seems to be completely lost. I attributed her suicide attempt to being under a spell, but this episode seems to confirm that she's going through a tough time and at a loss on how to handle it. Frankly she comes across as weaker than she's been portrayed in past games. And lastly, once again I feel compelled to point out that I hate the episodic release. It breaks the flow of the game. Yes I know I've made that point before. To which I respond, that's the fault of the episodic release too. I haven't made this point for six months, so I feel it bears repeating, even if it is beating it into the ground.Ok, I'm done now, I promise. Over all, the episode was enjoyable. There were just some flaws in the execution of the game that keep gnawing at me. And then there were those minigames that just interrupted the flow completely and were more infuriating than anything else.
Quote from: jsh357 on November 09, 2011, 06:30:37 PMI do have one question that I hope somebody can answer (This isn't a criticism really). It might have been answered in an earlier episode but I totally missed it. How did Shadrack locate Pandora's Box? I thought Rosella had sealed the box away for good in the tomb. Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with it coming back as it was always a Chekhov's Gun in the KQ timeline, but it feels like the bad guys managed to track the box down far too easily. The tomb was standing wide open when Rosella walked in there (assuming it's the same place). Maybe the creators didn't feel like it was necessary or worthy to explain, but I would not be surprised if other fans of the series took issue.
Quote from: Damar on November 09, 2011, 07:17:07 PMLikewise, fighting Shadrack didn't give me a feeling of accomplishment. Finishing collecting the spell ingredients did. This is an adventure game. I play it for puzzles and story. If I want boss battles I'll go play an RPG. Figuring out patterns and moves doesn't make me feel more in touch with the story, it specifically takes me out of the story and forces me to focus on minutia. Personally, I'm one of those people that can't get engrossed in a boss fight because turn based fighting doesn't exist in the real world. It has always felt contrived to me, but like I've said, I just don't enjoy RPGs. Regardless, this didn't further the story. Shadrack had already said what he needed to say and when you beat him he just flies off while shouting that next time we won't get so lucky. It doesn't further the story and any sense of accomplishment is hollow because the point of this whole episode was solving puzzles and navigating the islands to find the spell ingredients. That's what ultimately bothers me. If it furthered the story, like the sequence in episode 3, I'd be more forgiving of it, even if I didn't like it much. I would agree with what was said before in that I hope episode 5 doesn't have any more action sequences. Not just because I'm not a fan, but because there's so much story that needs to be wrapped up. Clearly a lot of story has already been cut. Why put off more story just to make people do another boss fight in an adventure game?
Quote from: Aurelind on November 09, 2011, 12:33:17 PMalthough I want to slap people for failure to communicate in such dire circumstances
Quote from: flitchard on November 09, 2011, 08:44:14 PM[spoiler]I liked the battle. Isn't it about time that Shadrack tried to stop you? He CAN'T honestly be unaware of your threat to his plans... Plus, as for unnecessary, did you LISTEN to his speech? Something WEIRD is going on, when the guy who was sealed away for 1,000 years RECOGNIZES your face, and calls you by name... Finally, this ISN'T the first "Boss fight" in King's Quest. THAT would be Mordack from V. So, I understand your opinion, but respectfully disagree... [/spoiler]
Quote from: snabbott on November 10, 2011, 07:36:02 AMI don't see how the Shadrack battle is any more RPG-ish than the battle with Mordack in KQ5. Personally, I would have made it more complex - being able to use all elements for both attack and defense. The fact that the battle was turn-based may not be very realistic, but I think it would upset people more if it were actually a real-time arcade battle.
QuoteAnd no, we're definitely not done learning about Valanice.
QuoteAlso, the game does have a real ending - it's not an open ending that would have been to be resolved in parts 2 and 3. True, some of the plot does end up seeming contrived, but I think that's what happens when you consolidate a story into 1/3 of what it was meant to be. Maybe it would have been better to throw out the whole thing and re-write it, but I think it works as is. Anyway, that's the designers' prerogative. People don't have to play it if they don't like it. And with a commercial game, that sort of thing would likely affect sales. In which direction is not clear - do a lot of people dislike the way things are being done, or is it just a very vocal minority? I'm not sure how you would make sure you had a representative sample for something like this. I guess that's why there are marketing people.