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Underworld Ascendant releasing in September, gets negative previews

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Underworld Ascendant releasing in September, gets negative previews

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 1 June 2018, 21:24:51

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Sam Luangkhot; Underworld Ascendant

The big Underworld Ascendant news that OtherSide Entertainment promised last week has turned out to be a bit troubling. In a new E3 trailer released today, they announce that the game will be out in September, less than four months from now.


Alongside the release of the trailer, two websites - Ars Technica and PC Gamer - have published previews of Ascendant's E3 build. Both previews are scathingly negative, citing uninteresting and above all janky gameplay. An excerpt from Ars Technica:

To start: combat. Nothing about UA's current first-person swordplay and archery feels right. Melee combat strikes were difficult to aim, and any visual or audio recognition of my strikes was lacking. My combat successes seemed contingent on enemy models—mostly ragdoll-bouncy skeletons—but they often didn't react. Crouch-walking around with a bow, meanwhile, repeatedly got enemies' attention even when I was out of their line of sight, despite an on-screen indicator with a closed-eye icon that appeared to confirm my hidden state.

Emphasizing spells didn't help matters. The primary spell at my disposal, a freeze-enemy move, required aiming and firing multiple times to actually ensnare enemies, even when I was aiming at enemies who stood still. The same went for when I tried to use a sticky seed that I found lying on the ground to ensnare or freeze enemies or traps. (When I finally got a skeleton soldier stuck, it wobbled around in the ground like a wacky inflatable tube.)

I was encouraged to set doors on fire as a means of traversal, and sure enough, anything in the world made of wood could catch fire. Why bother finding a key? But there was only so much stuff in the level made of wood, and no other chemical-reaction spells or items were made available to enable creative spell-solution possibilities. Will we see a variety of burnable, freezeable, and meltable elements in various dungeons to use to either solve puzzles or rain down hellfire on our foes? If so, this gameplay slice didn't reveal them.

Instead, I felt like I had my best time just flinging various powers around while tearing through a been-there-done-that take of series like Thief and Dishonored. "This could be pretty good with another year of polish," I thought to myself as I wall-ran to reach a faraway platform, marched through a sluggish, annoying series of traps, and clumsily slapped my sword onto a skeleton until it finally decided to die.

Then I went back to OtherSide Entertainment's site to confirm the release date. September of this year? Say what?!
OtherSide's community manager responded to these criticisms on the official forums:

The criticisms raised in the articles are honest of the build they saw. We've been reading through the press this morning and feel the same way: They both acknowledge that the game isnt 'done' yet, and negative criticism is the most productive thing we are going to get out of any of these articles.

Fixing movement, animations, and even making sure the level design is adjusted CAN be done. It's GOOD for us to have this feedback, especially as we start to ramp up our external playtesting and QA processes.

We've been transparent about what we've been working on for the past month, and a lot of that has been fine tuning the experience based on what we saw at PAX, as well as throwing in entirely new mechanics and animation systems since then. Puppetmaster is in, and we're still figuring out how to make the motions more satisfying and "less janky." We saw a lot of people get stuck early on the PAX build, so we made the level design easier to read so more press could get through the level. (While PAX press had up to an hour to play through the demo, the E3 press had 15 minutes. We wanted to make sure they could see more than just one room, especially if they were stuck!)

As always, we're taking the reviews in stride and will be heads-down working on the game. The game can only get better as we keep working on it!
Nevertheless, and this is true regardless of what's in those previews, I just don't see how a game that has been in development for over three years can go from pre-alpha to release in less than four months. I'd love to be surprised, but if OtherSide are out of money we could be looking at a disaster here.

There are 118 comments on Underworld Ascendant releasing in September, gets negative previews

Blackthorne needs a kidney


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