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Betrayal at Krondor - overrated?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by rpgcodexusername, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. Kahlis Arbiter

    Kahlis
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    I'm experiencing a similar situation (bought Grimrock when it was discounted on Steam a few days ago, currently around floor 10). I think it's simply that Owyn's spells are more utilitarian in nature, and if you prepare your other party members well enough it's not a particularly big deal if he doesn't do any spellcasting during the more mundane battles in the game. At least earlier on in the game. As you said, I think there was some appeal to developing Owyn's full range of abilities, especially in helping to justify why I should be protecting him instead of just letting him be a meat shield for the first rounds of the battle. Casting spells at varying levels of magnitude also seemed to make their applicability to all sorts of combat scenarios more appreciable as well. Every spell in Grimrock was relatively weak and insignificant, and you'd sort of mindlessly throw them at most enemise as though they were weapon attacks.

    One thing I don't like about the spells in Grimrock (but I guess this goes for the loot in general) is how everything gets spoon-fed to you sooner or later in the game. It almost aggravates me that the developers seem to have envisioned only so many successful party builds that can get one through the dungeon. I'm not going "boo-hoo, chargen is hard and it's possible to make gimped characters" (if anything the individual distinction of a few points between attributes seems almost insignificant, to a point). But I am noticing that throwing weapons are near-useless, and there are three swords for every axe/mace weapon I find in the game, and for some reason the first set of light armor I encountered offered a greater protection bonus than any heavy armor set since. There's some certain sense of inevitability (due to all the hand-placed loot I guess) that every spellcaster is going to get all of their spells eventually, and there really isn't much freedom of choice. There's many puzzles and traps in Grimrock where you're almost required to use certain shield spells unless you want to lose your back-line characters after two hits. I almost fail to see the point in the rune system when there's so few spells overall and you really don't get much by going out of your way to find the few obscure ones.

    Far different from when I decided to use Owyn's "Invitation" spell on the fleeing Moredhel warlock outside of Krondor in Chapter 1, after having completely ignored it for most of the chapter because I could originally only pull enemies one tile with it. I ended up casting the fourth or fifth level and pulling him across the full vertical length of the battlefield. Now that was a satisfying moment and compelled me to keep searching for other spells.
     
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  2. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Sceptic
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    They were actually saving it for the sequel that never got released - Thief of Dreams. Some of the subplots from that game - namely the stuff involving the Crawler - was supposed to be written by Feist into the 4th Krondor book, but then that didn't happen due to copyright spaghetti involving Sierra/Vivendi and Feist. He (barely) references it in the Serpentwar books, as back then he still planned on writing the book once the legalities were cleared up, but they never were.

    Invitation is very situational, but it's awesome in combat areas with traps, as with proper positioning you can pull the enemies into their own traps for much lulz and tons of damage.
     
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  3. Wyrmlord Arcane

    Wyrmlord
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    Invitation was one of my favourite spells as well.

    You could combine it with Gambit of Eight.

    You could have Owyn stand close to Gorath, James, or Locklear, so that he could pull that annoying goblin crossbowman or Rusalki or moredhel spellcaster/witch to a meelee fighter.

    Or you could keep an enemy as a human shield against offensive spells.
     
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  4. Mother Russia Andhaira Dumbfuck Queued

    Andhaira
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    BaK was great, but I always preferred RtK. Yes, BtK has open eneded roaming, but RtK had a much tighter (albeit linear) story. The story however, was good and thus the game ended up being more enjoyable for me.
     
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  5. abnaxus Arcane Patron

    abnaxus
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    Betrayal in Antara had better utility spells, i.e. one spell that revealed gemstones in mines (easy way to make money) and another spell that revealed the entire dungeon layout for a short time - great way to save time and resources. Final dungeon in the game - a veritable labyrinth - could be easily bypassed that way.
     
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  6. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    Sierra was always good for scripted spell interaction.
     
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  7. Kahlis Arbiter

    Kahlis
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    On that note, I've yet to play Return to Krondor - but its backgrounds and graphical format give me a distinctively QFG5 vibe.
     
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  8. Muty Prophet Patron

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    I just picked this up after seeing this thread and I've been playing it for the last few hours. Its quite a good game, I must say that I'm having more fun than when I was going through wox a few months ago.
     
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  9. Aeschylus Prestigious Gentleman Swindler Patron

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    :lookofdisapproval:

    And BaK is one of the best RPGs of all time. It is in no way overrated.
    Also, it was made by Dynamix, not Sierra SCO. They just published it.
     
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  10. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

    SCO
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    They used their tools - some file formats look the same - and probably shared progamers because of that. At the time programers could influence a design (because the designers were in the trenches and no-one was covering their ass 24/7)

    I keep the typo because it's funny and probably true
     
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  11. Absalom Guest

    Absalom
    There was also a bunch of content that varied chapter by chapter - the forest in the middle of the map (forgot the name) - is the most striking example.
     
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  12. Gozma Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Gozma
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    BaK is only overrated in the way that most good RPGs are - no one really bothers to note the inevitable boring and shitty parts that only the most aggressive RPGs elide. The prose-enhanced graphics model is a lost art and it works great even that far back, the exploration pacing is good, etc. There's way too much brainless trash combat and there are other problems of misaligned or boring design (ex. hauling loot) but hey.
     
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  13. Hekateras Educated

    Hekateras
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    I haven't replayed it in a while, but I strongly disagree with the 'brainless trash combat' bit. I never felt like you were running into enemies just because they needed to be there - the encounters were rare enough, or were designed to look reasonable - you were liable to run into highwaymen on the road, and maybe monsters in the wilderness, but somehow the encounters were sparse and varied enough that it felt like a different experience every time. The battles are actually pretty challenging if you're new to the game and don't know how to powergame it, and two battles with the same group of opponents could turn out very different depending on who surprised whom, where each of the characters were standing when it happened, and random events during the battle itself. (The early parts of the game, when the characters have crap accuracy and tend to do a lot of friendly fire, were very engaging in that regard. The higher variety of spells and items usable in battle during the later parts made THOSE interesting, as well.)

    (The Skin of the Dragon spell is the only problem, really. Utterly ridiculously overpowered spell. >D It even prevents damage from *poison*. )

    As for whether it's overrated: Hell no. The problem with BaK is the flipside of what makes it so good: It's a brilliant game, but part of its brilliance is that it doesn't throw everything in your face. On the surface, it's much like any other RPG, unorthodox gameplay elements aside. But the beauty lies beneath the surface. It's not a game you can afford to walk through with your eyes half-closed - such as the rather common error of not listening to the characters when they say that it would be suicidal to take the direct approach to Krondor. You need to pay attention to everything you hear, and you need to think, because often that's the only way to solve sidequests or even main objectives, and if you think hard enough, and have seen enough little details, it all slowly starts to come together in your head to form a complete picture.

    So much of the game"s greatness is hidden in those little nooks and unique moments of dialogue and characterisation, or in the way all the little plotlines cohesively hang together.. Really, the only way to experience the game remotely close to what it's meant to be is to explore as much as possible, and then replay it and explore everything again, to find all the stuff you missed. A lot of it makes greater sense in retrospect, once you know what's coming and who's behind it. (Such as a certain powerful character's convenient poisoning by a moredhel arrow, heh... Not that many people who could engineer an attack like that, but given the nature of the antagonist, it makes perfect sense.)
     
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  14. abnaxus Arcane Patron

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    That was an unfortunate but necessary plot device to get an overpowered character out of the way. I'm not even sure book-Tomas would even have his armour pierced by a weapon of a lowly henchman, or even be susceptible to poison.

    It would've been cool to have a party with Pug and Tomas, and the combat encounters in the chapter featuring the dead planet sucked big time anyway.

    Have you played the 'sequels', btw?
     
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  15. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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  16. Hekateras Educated

    Hekateras
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    Unfortunate but necessary plot device, yes. What I'm saying is that there's every reason to believe it wasn't just a random accident with some unfortunate poison. As unlikely as it is that poison would bring down a Valheru, if there's anyone who has both the power and resources to make such a poison, it would be
    Show Spoiler
    the Big Bad Makala.
    And through him, the Six would have been ideally positioned to supply moredhel archers (who are, like, badass elves and all, not exactly 'lowly henchmen') with the poison. That pushes it from convenient and gratuitous into mostly plausible territory.

    I think the mood in the planet was very interesting, but yeah, it came over as a bit rushed. Can't remember where, but I think I saw Neal talk somewhere about how it was supposed to be a lot more elaborate, but a lot of the stuff they had planned for it had to left out to accommodate deadlines or some such...
    ------------
    I haven't *personally*, in a mouse-holding sense, played the, er, "sequels", but I did watch my dad go through both of them when I was in my tweens. Kind of really underwhelming. RtK was woefully under-beta'd, what with its ridiculous walking speed and clunky interface, and I didn't find the story anywhere as appealing or compelling as the one in BaK. I have much fonder memories of BiA - I didn't really mind the portraits or voice-acting all that much (then again, our game version was actually in German, complete with dubs. Dunno if that made it better or worse), though on the whole the graphic design could and should have been a lot prettier and, y'know, less brown. I think our version had that bug at the end where you can't finish the game. >D But the story didn't hook me much either. The characters didn't really appeal to me, especially given that Aren is obviously a less interesting Owyn Expy.

    I would give my soul for an alternate universe where Thief of Dreams has been made. I mean, check this out:
    *flails* It would've been great to see the Crawler storyline tied up, and Owyn get over the events of the previous game and continue his development into this great badass whom you can't help but underestimate because he's a nice young man but who also can do awesome magic, can understand spoken moredhel, personally knows a lot of powerful people, is one of the few non-renegade humans to have been in the heart of the Northlands and made it back out, and for whom getting information out of people would probably be a breeze after the whole 'spend months wheedling a taciturn dark elf into having conversations with you and becoming your friend' thing.

    The BaK story had always been intended as a two-parter, and if the whole infernal executive meddling hadn't screwed it up, we likely would've had a game even better than BaK.

    I need to stop gushing before this ends up a full-blown essay.
     
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  17. Mother Russia Andhaira Dumbfuck Queued

    Andhaira
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    I never said BaK is overrated. I said it's a great game. However, I like RtK better.
     
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  18. Morkar Left Guest

    Morkar Left
    Does the gaming experience benefit from reading the riftwar trilogy before?
     
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  19. Infinitron I post news Patron

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    Yes. It's hard to accept the existence of an uber-powerful royal archmage named "Pug" without them.
     
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  20. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Sceptic
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    Probably not. I hadn't even heard of Feist when I played BAK and it didn't detract. Hallford wrote some of the characters different from Feist, and TBH they come across better in his hands. The background lore will be more fleshed out if you read the books first, but the game does an excellent job of conveying major plot points from the books while giving you the impression there's much more to the lore.
     
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  21. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Uh..you mean to tell me the gaming experience is actually worse if you read them? He asked if there was a benefit, not if it's essential.
     
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  22. Telengard Arcane

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    Interestingly enough, I played this one at the same time as a friend, and I had read the books while he hadn't.

    At no point did my friend ever not understand what was going on in the game; he only ever asked a couple of questions about things he was curious about that came up in the game but that the game didn't delve into deeply and which weren't directly related to the plot of the game. BaK's story seems to be fairly well self-contained.

    BaK is set 10 years after the Riftwar, and while events of the trilogy have influence in the game, the game does seem to work well as its own separate entity.

    However, BaK does use people and places from the trilogy and draw motivations from its events, so knowledge of the books - while unnecessary - does offer a broader understanding of what happens in the game. At a guess, though, a good cliff-notes synopsis of character and story would offer similar results.
     
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  23. Telengard Arcane

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    I agree.
    It's tough to compare to an experience that I didn't have, but that could well be true. I wouldn't say it would be in any way hugely better without having read the books, but in many subtle ways the experience might be better.
     
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  24. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    I hated shuffling the party members around. The plot of the game could easily focus on just one party, and be better off with that. Maybe with a 4th slot for a plot device NPC, like so many other games did. Patrus, for fuck's sake, what was the point of that chapter at all?
     
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  25. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    You mean like the challenge of puzzling out the details of an unfamiliar setting by yourself? I can see how that would be immersive, yes.

    Oh come on, you can't have a fantasy plot without an EPIC SIEGE.
     
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