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Game News Bard's Tale IV Backer Beta Released - Previews, Interviews, Final Release On September 18th

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
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    Tags: David Rogers; InXile Entertainment; Paul Marzagalli; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

    As promised earlier this week, inXile released the Bard's Tale IV beta to eligible backers today. It consists of the game's first few areas, with about 5 hours of gameplay. They've made a much bigger production out of this than they did with the alpha release earlier this year, with a whole bunch of previews, interviews and gameplay videos teed up for launch. There are plenty of videos to choose from, but one of the first ones to be published by a German site called Gamesworld has the advantage of having no intrusive voiceovers. I'll post that here, plus an interview with creative director David Rogers by PCGamesN as an added bonus:


    Here's a list of all of today's Bard's Tale IV previews and interviews:

    Some of the previews find the game jankier and/or easier than others, but they're all pretty similar overall, citing its combat, atmosphere and puzzles as noteworthy elements. PC Gamer's preview is fairly representative. Here's an excerpt:

    So far I love this combat system, which will probably be the most controversial element of The Bard's Tale 4's design. It's a far cry from the standard RPG menu of attack/defend/magic/item, with each character proceeding in turn. But even in just a few hours, there's a promising richness to this combat. I quickly found a strategy I liked: throwing down traps that stunned enemies when they were stepped on, then using my fighter's taunt to pull a unit forward onto that space.

    The AI, unfortunately, hasn't been too devious: while I've had a few tough battles, I've also fought some that should've been tougher, but ended up a breeze thanks to enemies wasting opportunity points by walking back and forth. I hope the game is still just easing into the hard stuff.

    The first few puzzles I encountered were pitifully easy, but were just introducing concepts that would quickly get much more complex and much more fun. These cog puzzles are frequently used to open locked doors, and within a couple hours you'll be swinging them on arms, trying to line up certain cogs to spin and others to stay clear of the mechanism. The harder they get, the more I like them.

    The Bard's Tale 4's exploration really started to feel right once I got past the tutorial and started exploring with no waypoints to string me along. While it's cool and exciting to have a hub like Skara Brae filled with NPCs, the town isn't a great showcase for the powerful Unreal Engine 4. You can see where inXile had to stretch its budget: an opening cutscene told via illustrations feels like a placeholder animatic, the lighting's dull, and some character models are, well, not beautiful. Then again, they're peasants; maybe that's appropriate.

    The tunnels under Skara Brae, where you quickly flee to escape the Fatherites, are more atmospheric but still largely barren. But I absolutely loved the next area, beneath Kylearan's Tower. There's gorgeous foliage and effervescent mushrooms, a chamber where a spell has sent huge chunk of the ceiling (and a few goblins) floating through the air, hidden passages and treasure chests aplenty. Magic Mouths in some rooms offer clues to the puzzles in amusing verse.

    If the rest of The Bard's Tale 4 maintains this level of atmosphere, I'd play through it for the scenery alone. It really nails the vibe that, to me, makes the idea of the dungeon crawler compelling: the sense that a place is alive, yet empty. You're alone in an environment that feels mysterious, braving its traps to fill in the unknown.
    Finally, although the Kickstarter update doesn't mention it for some reason, Bard's Tale IV has a release date now - September 18th. I was afraid that the game was going to slip into Q4, so that's welcome news.
     
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  2. Grotesque ±¼ Patron

    Grotesque
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    I can't wait to play it and try to understand why Might and Magic VII still remains the best blobber out there.
     
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  3. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Given that this looks like crap (understandable given the budget) why are the requirements so high for this turn-based blobber???
     
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  4. lukaszek Arcane

    lukaszek
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    thats weakest machine they had on site and tested on
     
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  5. hpstg Learned

    hpstg
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    Funny how the basis of this Kickstarter was for a blobber with amazing graphics (which would actually fit it).

    To be fair, there hasn't been anything looking actually good out of InExile, ever.

    They seem to lack on the artistic front, and their programmers must likely won't have the budget, resources or experience to optimize.
     
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  6. Shadenuat Arcane

    Shadenuat
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    Should have seen the crap of an engine M&MX run on.

    And yes, as always, promo material looks like benchmark software, the result... Grimrock with more advanced lighting effects.
     
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  7. hpstg Learned

    hpstg
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    But with MMX, that was what was promised. With this InExile basically promised an atmospheric indie game with great graphics and hand crafted dungeons and encounters.

    I would buy that game even if it was just twenty hours long. This looks and feels 'meh' on all levels.
     
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  8. toro Arcane

    toro
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    Looks better than Numenera.
     
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  9. Sacibengala Learned

    Sacibengala
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    My God. I could have bought something nice with the money I invested on this. What a waste. Never again for inxile, never again.
     
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  10. duanth123 Arcane

    duanth123
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    What's a Numenera?


    I think InXile needs to return to its roots, focus on masterfully realistic depictions of international helicopter rescue.
     
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  11. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Reminder, this is the Unreal engine. Where's your god now Unity haters? :cool:
     
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  12. soulburner Savant

    soulburner
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    You can make a poorly optimized game using the Unreal Engine, but I'm yet to see a well optimized game using Unity.

    I hope this can run on my old Thinkpad :D
     
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  13. Mightmagic Educated

    Mightmagic
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    No.
    M&M VII was a good blobber but not the best. World of xeen was better than M&M VII for example.
     
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  14. Grotesque ±¼ Patron

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    Better low frame rates than a fried videocard
     
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  15. holla_cabezas_de_mierda Arcane

    holla_cabezas_de_mierda
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    I like 'bards' as a character class in D&D where they are sort of lore/culture experts and story tellers while also being a combo magicuser/rogue/fighter. However I almost never have them use their music ability because it never made much sense.

    The scenario where some monsters attack the party and one dude (the bard) whips out a flute and begins prancing and tip-toeing about performing a melody never really worked for me and just felt really silly. So I guess I larp that he is some expert on ancient lore and lost treasures and is generally good at negotiating the party through exotic far off cultures using his worldly knowledge instead of some tights wearing, recorder playing faggot.
     
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  16. Strange Fellow Recovering Video Game Abandoner Patron

    Strange Fellow
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    Did you see the bard model on the chargen screen, with the lute? Obviously the monsters just get transfixed by his sick shredding and windmill picking :fuuyeah:
     
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  17. holla_cabezas_de_mierda Arcane

    holla_cabezas_de_mierda
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    yeah, and It really sucked imo....i saw that electric guitar shit, and it almost made me immediately click out of the video and ignore the game forever. I Actually DID terminate the video right away, but decided to go back and watch it a minute or so later. The entire UI, as well as the animations seem awful to me.

    I liked the original Bards Tale back in the day, but I am not sure I will be able to stomach this game very long if they decide to try and ham it up and make stupid jokes throughout. For some reason Fargo seems to have decided Bards Tale was always a cheezy comedy and continues to make horrible comedy RPG's using the Bards Tale name. I honestly don't recall the first game being a goofy comedy, but maybe I am not remembering correctly. I really think it torpedoes sales, so I would think he would want to stop it, but it seems to me that Fargo thinks selling Bards Tale as a silly 4th wall breaking sit-com is a great marketing ploy and he seems determined to try and push this idea to the very end...so we shall see I suppose
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  18. lukaszek Arcane

    lukaszek
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    mandatory:
    [​IMG]

    it take ballz to be a bard
     
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  19. holla_cabezas_de_mierda Arcane

    holla_cabezas_de_mierda
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    holy shit that is awesome
     
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  20. Invictus Arcane The Real Fanboy

    Invictus
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    Don’t really understand most of the criticisms:

    The graphics look fine, nothing groundbreaking but at least they have its own style and we all knew even though it is using a fantastically well optimized Unreal engine there was so much InXlile could do with the budget they had

    The combat looks fine too, a bit on the easy side with dumbass monster AI but given that it is a playable beta demo understandably so. I originally hated the grid but so far it looks like it adds a bit of tactical depth to the game... hell looks like I would prefer that to the “Circle of Derp” formation system from Wizardry 8

    And lastly... to be honest Inxlile has so far released some competent games with Wasteland 2 (which I really enjoyed to merit a second playthrough with the DC) and an disappointing Torment but this looks at least to be on the same level as Wasteland 2 and while that doesn’t mean “Oh my gawd top blobber evah” it will probably be a decent fun 40 hour first person turn based RPG like we have thought we would never see again and for that I am truly greatful

    If anybody is regretting their backing on this game send me a PM maybe we can work something out and I will buy out that original pledge

    Oh and the best blobber of all time would definitely be a 3 way tie between Wizardry 7, Grimoire and World of Xeen imao

    Edit: Loved the stab the lead of the project took at Sawyer with that “2% increment” comment; any good designer understands you need to make level ups special allowing you to do something new or something you already could do but better
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
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  21. Arctrax Literate

    Arctrax
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    I like what I see, normal in terms of graphics (i was expecting something more with U4... ) but i like what i see in combat, it looks fun. Ill definetly try it in sept.
     
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  22. Darkzone Arcane

    Darkzone
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    Ok i have played through the beta. My opinion is still standing that this is the best game from InXile besides "The Bard's Tale 2005". And it is mostly serious, but in some moments a bit of silly without being annoying. In my current opinion based on the limited beta, it is better than LoG2, but i miss the food limitation. On the other hand this results in a better exploration of the dungeons and puzzle solving, without the food requirement.

    Tokens and additional characters:
    You receive two tokens after completing the mission to gather the 3 party members. With this tokens you can make your two characters, replacing the story premade characters. I have made one character and added it to the party, because i liked the story characters.
    The choice of different voices is a bit limited for dwarfs, trows and elves, but this can be due to the fact that it is a beta. How it plays out with the archetypes i cannot tell, because the beta is not long enough to earn enough skill points. Also to say is that you can specialise in different weapons.

    Combat mechanics:
    Overall it is fun and strategic and not just a stupid A,A,A,A,D,D,D. You have not enough points to use all abilities so you better choose wisely and this also applies to the scripts handling the enemies. I had no point in the fights where i thought that the "AI" is extremely stupid, but it does also not concentrate on specific weak party members. Instead it was mostly a frontline battle between me and the enemy groups. I have also lost just one fight where the three enemies had 3x the HP compared to a party member and could lay flat one party member with just one hit. The fights are mostly easy, but it is a beta with a straight forward approach and being just a giant tutorial.

    Puzzles:
    In my opinion the puzzles were too easy, but on the other hand people are stupid and complicated puzzles can in modern times be detrimental to the sale numbers of a game. Perhaps in a later game, or on release this will change. I found a puzzle axe but since none of my party members were specialized in axes i have not tried to solve it. That to say i might have missed some other special weapons.

    Items and Crafting:
    Crafting is overall good here since you craft utility things that you consume, like: food, health potions, grappling hooks, lockpicks, caltrops and things from recipes that you find in the game. You can also specialise in crafting for additional things, like poison, bombs and booze. Items can extend you inventory or add places for additional party members. Also the items can change extremely your combat tactics.

    Music and voice acting:
    Fuck i love it. Nearly everyone has some degree of a scotisch accents and scotish singing is found thoughout the game if it is a woman singing while making the laundry or several women singing while repairing a sail. Alone for this it is worth buying.

    Graphic:
    Naturally it is not AAA game, therefore you cannot expect wonders, but it is sufficient for someone who is not a graphic whore. Despite that it has an nice atmosphere and Under Skara Brae in fog and torches looks ok.

    UI:
    You may not like the look but it is functional, convenient and not cladding the screen. Most things i could reach with two mouse button clicks, therefore the usability is rather high in my opinion.

    Performance:
    It is not optimised. I have played it on my children's 4GB notebook with the highest graphic settings on a extern monitor and while it still run it was not that optimal, but it was also not a crawling on its knees. Perhaps they have no LoD in the models or they use a volumetric clouds and fog instead of decals or ???. Eitherway InXile should work on it. I will not look into it, because i don't really care.

    Conclusion from the beta:
    If you like LoG2, and you want more story and more tactical depth than i recommend it. I had overall more fun playing the beta than any other game in recent times and i think that it is better than WL2. If the game can retain this level of entertainment in mid and end game then i prefer it before PoE, WL2, DOS and DOS2 and LoG2. And then it ( in my opinion ) deserves a very solid 80ies from 100.

    Since i have to go now swim with my family i will go deeper into character build and items in a later post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
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  23. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

    Goral
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    You mean contrary to wizards who wave their arms and conjure fireballs out of nothing? I would argue that bard makes more sense than a practitioner.
     
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  24. Diggfinger Savant

    Diggfinger
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    Dat Gamesworld video would work so much better with Cleve breathing over it IMO
     
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  25. Ranarama Learned

    Ranarama
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    Well someone never played a PnP rpg. Every party has that one player.
     
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