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Codex Review RPG Codex Review: Druidstone

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    It really isn't. I just think that this "design confusion" is due to not sticking to their initial plan. I think if they had planned a game like they ended up making from the get-go - or stuck to whatever they were going for initially -, things would have turned out better.
     
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  2. Van-d-all Learned

    Van-d-all
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    Props for taking the time to even review a game that looked shit from the get-go I guess.
     
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  3. Grampy_Bone Magister

    Grampy_Bone
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    It's like someone identified the most interesting and fun mechanics of RPGs and stripped them all out one by one.
     
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  4. Absinthe Erudite

    Absinthe
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    Darth Roxor, I think you're just under-utilizing the archer chick. For one thing, her Cure ability becomes damage vs undead. In those cases, she will likely be your top damage dealer, since she can shoot 5 (or 6) health Focused Cures that hit 3 times. Otherwise, giving her Power Attack and upgrading her Volley ability also turns her into an acceptable damage dealer, especially when she gains Advance at level 6 (which gives her a free second attack). The Poison upgrade is not necessary (if you're paying 2 gem slots for just +1 delayed damage to your targets which depends on something else hitting it, it's shit) but I suppose it's workable with minion strategies like upgraded Willow Flute, since all those midgets will now do +1 damage to your targets, and it's also good for killing bosses. It also picks up a bit of value at level 6 when you can give her Advance to attack a target a second time in the same turn. The Hunter Bow also lets you burn a gem to give her Aim (+2 range and +2 damage), giving her a 4 (5 with Power Attack) damage hit. Between Power Attack, Volley, and Aim, she should have a decent range of attacks that one-shot mooks. You could also just run her as an acceptable melee just by giving her Power Attack and the Battle Axe (the one that gives +1 Power Attack on kill), at which point she will regularly hit for 4 damage, but she will be hurting for multi-target attacks outside of the axe's innate Cleave (she can use Advance to hit a second target later on though).

    Druidstone is more a game for people who enjoy tactics games than people who enjoy RPGs. In my case I started up Druidstone and hours had passed before I realized it, which is generally the hallmark of a solid game. I don't give two shits about the story though. The writing is crap. There's no interaction outside of the levels (it's all cutscenes - press ESC twice to skip) and the story is just an excuse plot that makes little sense and vacillates between treating itself as a joke or trying to pretend there's an actual plot. And the soundtrack could do with some improvement honestly. But the gameplay carries Druidstone. So if you get into Druidstone expecting a RPG, you will definitely be disappointed, but if you're into tactical puzzles, then it's solid.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  5. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    The purpose of the game is to complete the mission objectives by the most efficient path possible. This can mean completing an objective by ignoring combat—even doing so when the party would be lost on the next turn.

    You are not supposed to beat every spawned enemy, you are supposed to get passed them and complete the objective(s).

    *Replays are for improving upon your previous performance on that encounter.

    **To those who only briefly played... the characters do not start out with many options, but this changes rapidly over the course of the campaign; characters gain new abilities, and discovered artifacts, and consumables. These abilities start to really compliment each other, and can twist the gameplay. Also, certain missions can include additional allies—themselves coming with additional abilities.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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  6. Absinthe Erudite

    Absinthe
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    Druidstone is usually intentionally setup so you have to consider how to get through the level as efficiently as possible. You'll find yourself doing unusual things like not killing everything on the map because you have to focus on your goals. That said, once you get good enough at it, there are a number of missions where you can just sit there and kill every enemy possible for loot and honestly when you're replaying levels you won't get quest rewards more than once so it's not that strange to just grind 'em for cash. The opening mission with 2 basilisks can be farmed for gold if you're in a pinch since those basilisks will either drop 4 gold pickups or 4 health pickups. It's not hard to wind up with over 100 gold from that level if you just kill everything. Poison volley definitely helps. The prisoner rescue mission will also earn you 100+ gold just from looting.

    Also, even the early abilities work well together once you learn how to abuse abilities like Teleport and Charge. On a basic note, moving partway, charging, then moving again will give you a lot of extra speed. Charging destructible terrain features is also an option for moving faster. But more importantly, knockback (like Charge does) actually deals an extra +1 damage to a unit if it's knocked into a wall. If a unit is knocked into another unit or destructible terrain feature, they both take 1 damage. And knocking enemies into pits is typically instakill. So one stunt you can do with this from the start, for example, is that when a unit is standing next to an exploding barrel, you walk your mage up to the barrel too, then you use teleport to swap positions with another enemy unit, which puts the enemy next to the barrel in a position where the warden charges the enemy into the barrel for massive damage (typically 3 damage from weapon + 1 damage from knockback + 5 damage from exploding barrel on main target and 5 damage from exploding barrel to everything else standing around the barrel). Now you've combo-killed two dudes with your basic unlimited use abilities, and your mage still hasn't used his action point yet, so he's still free to cast enemies into the ground.

    And speaking of knockback, if you give the archer chick the Windstorm Bow you unlock from Oakfield Grove and enable its knockback, it turns out it actually works well with a poisoned Volley because the Poisoned status will immediately raise the damage they take from knockback. That means you do around 4 damage (assuming no Power Attack) with the Volley and if you add Advance the follow-up hit will do 5 damage to the target (assuming no Power Attack). With teleport stunts you can usually line up enemies against each other or against walls. Later on the ninja chick can reposition enemies with her pull, but she also has her own knockback to take advantage of. So knockback Volley can do a lot of damage, but it's worth noting that Volley's pierce bonus doesn't apply to knockback damage and at this stage you are burning a lot of gems to make your archer powerful (it does work though). By contrast making her melee with a Battle Axe only requires 1 gem in the axe for Power Attack on kill and you'll probably want another gem in Power Attack so she heals 1 health every time she hits something with Power Attacks (which is pretty damn often, given the endless Power Attack recharging). Just activating knockback in the bow (1 gem) pays off fairly well though.

    Speaking of which, it's important to keep into account whether you're putting your gems to good use or if it's actually a weak/marginal use. One of the major factors when it comes to practical gem usage is whether it will reduce the amount of turns you need to kill shit or turns you would waste healing off damage. This is why Power Attack and Aim are good with a Hunter's Bow, because even though +1 damage that lasts 1 attack for 1 gem slot looks lousy, it lets you one-shot units when otherwise not possible, which will save you turns (you only need 1 gem in Power Attack and 1 gem in Aim with a hunter's bow though, and you have 2 volleys for free). And it's also why you should get a bunch of Focus on your mage so he can wipe the floor with multiple enemies on a regular basis. And when you go down that road you notice a lot of gear comes with gem slots that aren't much good or that you won't get around to using. The Mage Robe for instance is typically garbage unless you're putting the fire immunity to use, because unless you already maxed out gems on your Focus ability, there is no point to using the gem slot on your robe for yet another +1 Focus, and with a plain Staff (+1 Focus use, no gem needed), you will have 5 Focus before you need to use the Mage Robe's gem slot and a 6th Focus is usually more than you'll need on one character, especially since by that point you can also hit multiple enemies with Ice and/or Lightning, no Focus needed. So a lot of the time it amounts to you paying 100 gold for a 1 health armor (but there are a large number of fire-using enemies in the game). Leather Armor is hot garbage (Deer Armor and Bearskin are strictly better). The starting dagger on your Mage is total shit (Sickle is strictly better if you want something along those lines) and thus worth selling off. The plain Staff you can buy is one of the best weapons for your mage, simply because it saves you an extra gem with its +1 Focus. Ring of Protection's gem slot for an extra Shield use is a shit use of your turn (it burns your action point) and a shit use of a gem too, and yet Ring of Protection is still decent because the real prize is just +2 health (which is handy if you want to give your Mage a Leaf Shirt because you're going crazy with TP reposition stunts). And some items give abilities that are much more useful if you put them on a hero that already has the ability and upgraded it. Silk Shirt (+1 First Aid use) for instance is decent only if the Warden equips it and has a gem in his own First Aid skill upgrading it a free action, but then it's wearable because it's basically a 4 health armor that can remove status effects (but you are burning 2 gems to give him these hitpoints). The Cloak of Night accessory is stronger on the ninja chick who can upgrade vanish to give bonus damage.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  7. Ranarama Learned

    Ranarama
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    You can't skip or even speed up AI turns. Game is an abortion, nothing can save it.
     
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  8. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    Why would you want to?
     
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  9. thesecret1 Learned

    thesecret1
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    Looked like garbage since the very start. Devs should stick to Grimrock
     
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  10. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    They already did Grimrock—then improved upon it with Grimrock 2. I don't see how they can improve any further without losing sight of the genre, or just churning out more of the same.

    There are positive posts favoring Druidstone for what it intends to offer. Most of the negative posts that I have read, were authored by people whose preference lies elsewhere, and who seem to believe that the game is a failure at being something they have assumed, but that it was never trying to be.
     
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  11. thesecret1 Learned

    thesecret1
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    I'd gladly get more of the same Grimrock over a random, bad game, though.
     
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  12. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    Same here.

    *But I don't consider a game bad for being different—unless it's a numbered sequel; and Druidstone is not pushed as a Grimrock sequel, and doesn't seem to be set in the same game world.

    I have been enjoying the game, and I will be part of the burgeoning modder community for it; once those tools become available.
     
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  13. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    Is that true?
    Everytime this happens in a turn-based game, I get the strong urge to punch someone in the face. And the urge becomes stronger and stronger each time.
    I'm afraid I will hurt someone one day (I might just punch myself in the face, to numb the pain), because game developers keep committing the same cardinal sins over and over and over and it drives me fucking mad...
     
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  14. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    because video games need to stop wasting my time
    I'd rather play the game than look at dumb animations, NPCs moving around, or stupid particle effects.
     
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  15. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    :neveraskedforthis:

    This is not stated ANYWHERE. I'd even say this feature is downright malicious considering the fact that even the rez spell has a separate clause in the description that says "deals damage to undead", but this doesn't. What the fuck.

    I did all that (except instead of the +damage bow I had the knockback bow, which is usually a free +1 damage anyway if you're smart) and she still felt underperforming compared to the rest.

    To be frank, I didn't expect it to be an RPG at any point. I am on the other hand p. much highly into tactics games, but I suppose not "tactical puzzles" (they more often than not end up banal and boring).

    Actually, while this bothers me in most games, it didn't in this one. The animations are fast enough not to be a problem, at least for me.
     
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  16. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy 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
    It's a JRPG convention. Could be the developers (incorrectly) expected players to be aware of it.

    In general I suspect many people miss this game's obvious JRPG influence because it doesn't go the obvious route of using anime-style graphics.
     
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  17. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    The game actively previews the [health] consequences of spells, attacks, and movement actions. Like when the player hovers the mouse over a potential target (of healing or of attack damage); or when they intend to move through a guarded tile (if the enemy has attacks of opportunity at the time).

    It will animate the target's health bar to indicate the change that will result from the action. Restored health as blue, and lost health as red. In the case of undeads, healing magic causes negative health gains, so healing damages the undead just as much as it would heal the living. The Regeneration spell saps one point of health at the beginning of every round.
     
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  18. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    I know. But why would I even try that except by accident or a sudden bout of 'hurr i wonder what happens when i do zis'?
     
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  19. Glop_dweller Augur

    Glop_dweller
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    Because it's deducible... That's why I tried it. It's along the same lines (conceptually) as that freezing an Ice elemental in a game might be helpful (rather than harmful) to it.

    And the game makes it easy (free) to find out.

    I was pleased to learn that a focused healing spell could target up to three undead; and (though I still don't know if it's a bug) the healing spell (specifically) is able to select a single target multiple times.
     
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  20. lukaszek the determinator

    lukaszek
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    the day dariusz was surprised that heal dmg undead

    EDIT: hey Darth Roxor do you know that in bg2 there is a demon that you can heal?
     
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  21. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    every single other fucking game that does this takes the effort to mention it

    this game on the other hand takes the effort to mention that a resurrection spell will damage undead, but doesn't that the heal spell will

    this is just malice
     
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  22. FreeKaner Prophet of the Dumpsterfire

    FreeKaner
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    More proof that deterministic turn-based games just turn into boring puzzles. Also anyone that does them has no taste or understanding.
     
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  23. Absinthe Erudite

    Absinthe
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    It's true. The animations are fast enough that it's not a serious problem, but there really should be an animation speed setting.

    It seems all heals damage undead, including potions and Eight Winds, but potions will only do 5 damage to undead even though they heal allies to full. I'm guessing they didn't tooltip it because they considered "heal damages undead" a general principle that goes without saying, but the game could do with better tooltips on this front. Or a manual where this shit is properly explained. Right now there's no manual at all, which sucks for planning character builds because you won't know ahead of time which abilities will open up to your characters as they level up.

    I don't think there is a +damage bow. The only ranged weapon with a +damage feature is the Throwing Knives. The longbow and crossbow have a slot for 1 pierce but pierce doesn't stack and Volley can be upgraded to give 2 pierce at the cost of 1 gem.

    Not just JRPGs. A number of western RPGs also have heals damage undead, including the D&D-based ones.

    Yeah it gets ridiculous. She can do up to 18 damage to an undead target with Focus+Cure, which is pretty much instakill. I'm pretty sure being able to target the same target more than once was intentional, but mostly for healing purposes. When you select the same target more than once it actually shows a 2x or 3x indicating someone got targeted multiple times.

    Actually Final Fantasy games don't mention that heals will damage undead and revives instakill them. I agree it would've been better if they'd mentioned this.

    I'm guessing it's because in FFs resurrect one-shots undead, but here it only does 5 damage. Then again potions will fully restore a player character while only doing 5 to undead too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  24. lukaszek the determinator

    lukaszek
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    people bored by puzzles are not worth interacting with
     
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  25. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    You forgot a word there.
     
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