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Codex Review RPG Codex Review: Legends of Amberland

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. 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
    Tags: Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown; Silver Lemur Games

    A whole bunch of indie RPGs came out last month - isometric tactical RPGs, narrative RPGs, roguelikes and more. However, the one that definitely left the deepest impression on us was the retro-styled Might & Magic-inspired blobber Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown. Which to be honest is not so surprising on the forum that turned Grimoire into a cultic object. Indeed, who better to review Amberland than Dorateen, the author of our definitive review of Grimoire? It's not as positive a review, of course. Compared to a Wizardry-style blobber like Grimoire, Amberland's dungeons are simplistic. Its itemization is weak and its pixel art might be an acquired taste. But due to its great exploration and innovative mechanics, it ultimately gets a solid thumbs-up from Dorateen. Here's an excerpt from the review:

    Battle is joined when the party steps on a tile occupied by an enemy, or in some instances when the enemy jumps into the party's face. While exploring, monsters and men alike are not stationary but move around in their own radius. This creates a situation where an adventuring party can decide each turn whether to advance, retreat or wait while the enemy reposition themselves like pieces on a game board. Sometimes monsters seek to block or restrict the player’s mobility. When both sides finally clash, they are locked in a life and death struggle until one side emerges victorious. And once vanquished, enemies are gone forever as maps do not repopulate.

    There's a non-transparent initiative value which determines who gets to act first. Enemies who come in early are typically quick foes who will sneak in a hit before you can react. As for the heroes, the order that each character goes is determined by their position in the party. In a row of seven, it is the central spot that is considered Position One. This character will always be the first party member to take an action, and is also on the receiving end of most incoming attacks. Flanked on either side by characters in Position Two and Three, these act in sequence respectively and they are also treated as part of the front line. The formation ranks continue so that back row support characters are the ones on the far left and far right, who will always act last. It is a system that leverages initiative versus relative security from being targeted. However, once more dangerous enemies who have area-of-effect attacks show up, no party member is completely safe.

    Opponents arrange themselves in rows of up to three at a time. Due to their mobile nature, it's likely that others in an area will join a battle in progress once a spot opens up. For example, imagine a large room filled with monsters, moving closer as they engage the party. The player might start out facing two or three of them, but could end up taking on a half dozen or more before gaining any respite. Another tactic enemies use is to crowd inside doorways. Thus, before successfully entering a chamber the party is forced to cut through what seems like an endless horde, which can make for some tense pitched battles.

    Every class in Legends of Amberland has a Special Ability that a character of that class can use in addition to their standard attack. The Knight and its variants have a Charge attack that can hit all three enemies on screen. Warriors get a powerful Strike attack that is used to inflict greater damage to a single opponent. Bards can play a song that will replenish a percentage of Spell Points and Hit Points for all party members, while Healers have a lifesaving Recovery ability that will restore all characters who have fallen in battle. The catch is that these Special Abilities can only be activated once before requiring a rest. This becomes a strategic consideration for the player, who has to pick the right moment to use them and ensure that his characters have recharged before facing particularly deadly adversaries.

    Resources are vital in a game with frequent combat. Heroes will lose hit points, expend their magic and trigger single use abilities. Thus it becomes necessary to rest, which in turn like in any good Might & Magic-type adventure requires food. There are two forms of nourishment that can be restocked in towns, with two corresponding modes of resting. A full rest is eight hours long and revives the party completely at the cost of both one vegetable ration and one meat ration. Then there's the quick rest, only four hours long, which uses up just one vegetable ration. The quick rest does not restore spell points and only restores half of the party's hit points, but it does reset Special Abilities and cure certain status effects. Therefore it can be used more strategically to save on resources.

    Spells can sorted into three general categories. There's offensive magic, healing and curative magic, and preventative or enhancement magic. The latter takes the form of party-wide buffs, including spells like Regeneration, Inspiration (for extra strength), and Magic Armor. These spells do not have a fixed duration. Instead, all buffs expire at midnight on a twenty-four hour clock. It sets a pattern of casting your protections early in the day to take advantage of having them up as long as possible. Later in the game, I often had as many as seven effects running at the same time. (A single mass buff spell would have been a welcome addition.) As mentioned previously, all spells have mastery levels ranked from one to five which increase their power and efficiency. However, with direct damage spells being fairly limited, it seems spellcasters are more suitable as support characters for the fighters who deliver the majority of destruction.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Legends of Amberland
     
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  2. Strange Fellow The Law Patron

    Strange Fellow
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    Good review, I agree with most of it, but not the conclusion. I found the game to be just too rote and shallow in the end, in large part due to the touched-upon absence of secret walls, puzzles and traps. It's a shame, because it has a few good things going for it. The character system is pretty cool, as is the clever use of encumbrance limits as "soft" class restrictions on armour. I also liked the itemisation, though it sounds like that was a case of me not making it far enough for repetition to set in properly. Unfortunately none of this can disguise the fact that the entire gameworld is essentially just a gauntlet of progressively harder-hitting enemies with more HP, which you can't even fight tactically because in combat all there is to do is heal and pile on the damage, with one single exception in the Stun ability of the Ranger class. The writing is also rife with spelling errors and poorly constructed sentences, which, while it's true that it isn't srs bsns and doesn't aspire to be, does take away from the ambiance somewhat. It's a real missed opportunity, because you get the feeling that this could easily have been a much better game if only the designer hadn't had his mind set on making an "accessible" blobber.

    Griping aside, come Dorateen and get yer due fist
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  3. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    I actually enjoyed slogging through those hard hitting enemies with more than a thousand hit points. It felt like launching assaults on various strongholds. Maybe it's just the cartographer in me, but the outdoor exploration was a pleasure.
     
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  4. Carls Barkley Safav Hamon The Real Fanboy

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    The biggest dealbreaker for me were the lack of explorable towns. A 2D menu is just not the same.
     
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  5. Kliwer Educated

    Kliwer
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    For me this game is much too primitive. I love M&M3-5, but this game is a mere shadow of those titles (even graphics are uglier).

    This is enough reason to never touch this game. Dungon crawler/bloober without puzzles is just a slog through hords of monsters. It is one of reasons why I can not tolerate M&M 6-8.
     
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  6. Chris Koźmik Silver Lemur Games Developer

    Chris Koźmik
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    Clarification: True for v1.00 (didn't make the spell checking for release date) but there was a first linguistic QA pass in v1.13 also in the upcoming months there will be a second linguistic QA pass. So, if you were playing v1.00 or other early versions the situation has greatly improved since then.
     
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  7. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    I was thinking about this, to put things in perspective, I would take Amberland's freedom over Bard Tale IV's forced linearity and forced companions, in spite of BT's puzzles and allegedly tactical combat.
     
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  8. KeighnMcDeath Learned

    KeighnMcDeath
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    How many new mm3-5/wizardry games are on the plate atm?
     
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  9. Rpguy Cipher

    Rpguy
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    You get the ability to "fly" to any spot you visited very early in the game then at some not too much later point there is a spot on the map that completely heals you and your mana without advancing time as sleep does and it does not cost food or gold. So basically more than half the game while exploring the outside it is basically kill everything easily fly to resting point, fly back keep killing stopping only to buff everyone ( which is really tedious )
     
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  10. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Monstroterratum Furiosum Patron

    MicoSelva
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Thanks for the review, Dorateen . I was scouring the net for reviews of this game, I did not expect one to appear on the Codex (and so soon).
     
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  11. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    With all due respect, Rpguy, Might & Magic has Town Portal and Lloyd's Beacon spells. The earlier games had a Surface spell that allowed the party to escape any underground dungeon, and the same type of coordinate-based Fly spell that allowed the party to teleport to any spot on a map.

    The gameplay loop you are describing, fight a mob, warp back to a safe spot to rest and heal up then return instantaneously to continue fighting, is something players have done in Might & Magic for decades. I'm not disputing that you didn't like how it was implemented here, or that you found it tedious. But it is a valid feature for a Might & Magic type game.
     
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  12. KeighnMcDeath Learned

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Hah! On that note look at Ultima 3-4 with full healing fountains, spells to exit dungeons. How about Phantasy Star II or others with escapipes and telepipes. I can't recall full healing spots though Warriors of the eternal sun had a few healing ponds and a resurrection pond. There are probably plenty of games in a similar boat but MM definitely has them. (Won't even get into HOMM with all the buffing locations you can visit before battles).
     
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  13. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
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    I bought it, played it alot and love it, but its not quite Might and magic 3.5, but close enough.

    ...and this, yeah, i hope the dev correct this in Amberland 2: Return of Alamar
     
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  14. Vrab Educated

    Vrab
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    It is tedious, but on insane difficulty where one-shots abound. Kill a monster or two, lose a man, port back to elven king/last homely house, rez and reset. Tedious for sure. But on normal and hard where there are far less one-shots and it's more of a constant pressure on your hitpoints and mana, it's not much of an issue. Since porting out of dungeons doesn't work, and exiting takes time, resting inside dungeons is perfectly normal, meaning the mechanic has its place.

    It's a very good game. I don't have anything to compare it to since it's literally the first blobber that I've played from start to finish in my life. Just standing on its own I like it a lot. Hoping and waiting for the dev to rework insane difficulty before I start another playthrough.
     
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  15. KeighnMcDeath Learned

    KeighnMcDeath
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    As in King Alamar or that dastardly Sheldon... [​IMG]
    er Sheltem? Ahem... yeah Sheltem.
     
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  16. Deuce Traveler Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    You had me at "a game very much in the style of Might & Magic III through V". Looking forward to playing this one.
     
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