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Codex Review RPG Codex Review: The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Infinitron, Jul 11, 2021.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    RPG Wokedex 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 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Artefacts Studio; The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos; The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos - Ruins of Limis

    Artefacts Studio's The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos ended up being way more popular on our forums than anybody would have expected for a niche tactical RPG with cartoony graphics and cheesy humor. But what is actually so good about it? According to staff member emiritus Grunker, it all comes down to the game's abundance of systems. None of which are particularly complex individually, but which come together in a way that elevates Naheulbeuk beyond its superficial nu-XCOM trappings. If you can stand the chicken puns, you'll learn a lot from his extremely thorough review:

    The way Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is designed to play is ultimately the reason why I will end up recommending a purchase - even at its admittedly high price of 35 of the European Union's rainbow dollars. You control no fewer than 8 characters – the seven members of the core party as well as one additional party member you pick up later – in a tactical hybrid of oldschool RPG combat and modern, nu-XCOM-ish fights. In most aspects, Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is a weird amalgamation of strange niche inspirations blended into a somehow functioning whole that thrives in the constant push and pull between the oldschool and the new school. Nowhere is this as apparent as in the core combat mechanics.

    Yes, the combat is nu-XCOM in the sense that it has half- and full-cover mechanics as well as the “move and hit or move twice” simplified action system. But it also places immense importance on a character's facing: your characters can face in 8 directions on the tile-based battle maps, and three different rules govern attacks from the front, from the sides and from behind. Even without factoring in the game's other positional rules, facing alone means a level of positional complexity that very few RPGs can match, and it is is all handled by an interface so intuitive that you soon forget how utterly annoying you thought constantly controlling your characters' facing would be when the game first introduced the concept.

    The game’s abilities are also of the nu-XCOM variety: they are cooldown-based and most characters have a maximum of around seven at any time – more realistically 3-5. But they also cost resources like Astral Energy or Stamina and their effects are incredibly impactful. Most of them have branching upgrades in the talent tree that change their effects fairly drastically.

    The attribute system is another tug-of-war between tactical modernity and oldschool RPG affinity: on the one hand, Dungeon of Naheulbeuk sports 6 different attributes which you can assign points into, and they have a massive impact on the characters' ability to deal damage or even hit their target. On the other hand, an attempt has been made to make all attributes have some use for all characters, giving you reasons to put points into all six stats for every character. This attempt is less successful, however – you will only ever put points into Intelligence on your mage, and for nearly everyone else it’s a numbers game about having just enough Agility, then just enough Constitution (if necessary), and then dumping the rest into Strength. Still, no stat is useless for anyone and only Agility is really required on some. In the same vein, some stats have unique effects for certain characters, like Charisma being the primary stat for the elf's healing power. I'm sure someone out there made it through the highest difficulty with a team going all-in on Charisma.

    The core attributes lead up to a flurry of derived stats – everything from simple things like “Health”, which is just your pool of hit points, to less obvious stats like “Support”, which governs how much a character improves a party member’s ability to hit targets that they are both adjacent to.

    There are more examples, but the point is that Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is a game with very modern and simple systems - but there are a lot of them, and the interplay between them gives the game's combat a very real complexity. To this mix, the game adds sufficient enemy variety that throw wrenches with different levels of ingenuity into your well laid plans, ensuring that fights do not become too alike even if they draw their paint from the same palette of colours.

    Many haters of the nu-XCOM model undoubtedly stopped reading when they read about the cover system, which feels ubiquitous to so many games today. However I’ve never seen the practical gameplay results that this system has in Dungeon of Naheulbeuk. The enemy variety is great enough, and your characters’ toolbox so deep, that in some fights you literally don’t notice the existence of the cover system at all, while in some fights it is essential. Mostly, cover is a luxury you take when you can afford it, but it is not mandatory and you often ignore it. As such, the cover system ends up speaking to what Dungeon of Naheulbeuk does well: it encourages tactical diversity and each encounter dictates a different pace of play and strategy of attack.

    The way the game does this is through the connectivity of its systems. For example, the reason you might want to take cover is obviously due to the shelter it grants you from ranged attacks, but the reasons you might not want to do it are plentiful. Firstly, cover is often very sparsely placed throughout the battle maps and since positioning has such a defining importance in Dungeon of Naheulbeuk, often it is not worth giving up the great placement of an ability or an aggressive formation to gain the cover bonus. Secondly, there are plenty of enemy abilities that simply don't care about cover. Thirdly, full cover blocks valuable line of sight. And fourthly, cover restricts your characters own abilities depending on their function, so it's a tradeoff. The result is that you spend time thinking about whether to take cover or not, and as we all know, that daft cunt Sid Meier said something about good games being a series of interesting choices or some such nonsense.

    Now add to this knowledge that the game's basic design consists of having a lot of these subsystems that play off of each other, and you feel yourself being constantly pulled in different directions, having multiple options in each round of each fight.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk
     
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  2. Maximilian Literate

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    :nocountryforshitposters:
     
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  3. Diggfinger Cipher

    Diggfinger
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    Grunker s article on Pillars of Eternity is what finally got me into the franchise, ultimately costing me in excess of 250+ hours (and counting) of my life.

    How much will this great review pull off my mortal soul...
    :shredder:
     
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  4. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    Grunker uses Triggering Shot by means of Controversial Statement

    ...

    It's kind of effective!
     
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  5. fantadomat Arcane Edgy

    fantadomat
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    :nocountryforshitposters:
    And where did you expected it to be popular??? The codex is a niche site for niche genre where niche indie games are popular lol. If people care for mainstream garbage they go to ign or retardera. The game is right up our alley,tho it is a shame that most codexers are just posers that don't play rpgs anymore.
     
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  6. fantadomat Arcane Edgy

    fantadomat
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    I have noticed that most reviews in here have very poor vocabulary and fanboish feel to them. For example the "nu-XCOM" feels retarded when it could be explained as "TB combat with cover mechanics and eight directional positioning the matters". I fine such pointless comparisons do a disservice to the games they review and pretty much annoying me. I prefer an actual objective explanation to the system and the game than "muh it is nu-XCOMish or muh it is dark souls like or muh infinity engine like".

    That criticism aside,it is a nice review,good work Grunker :salute:
     
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  7. Hellraiser Arcane

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    Personally it reminded me of TOEE for some reason, maybe it was just for superficial reasons such as the turn based combat, primarily involving dungeon crawling and attacks of opportunity. It was definitely the most fun I had with tactical turn based combat in a dungeon in a while. Combat anyway is better than in Wasteland 3 which was out the same year, although there are a few gimmick fights.

    Regarding the difficulty, for me I think it dropped off after that goblin floor, after which it was rather easy until the secret boss who stomped my ass. Never killed him or went after the last boss. Might do it one day (or replay the game with a Palladin, Priestess is probably not so good all in all).

    Grunker I think you mean turn off if you want to save scum for best results. Or did they fuck up the translation of that option to English and enabled means it generates a new seed on reload?
     
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  8. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    You're completely right - I went by my main menu setting rather than my actual in-game setting. Nice catch! Infinitron would you be so kind? Just change "on" to "off"

    I find that there is a nice variety in gimmick fights and actual fights. It's like 2 normal fights -> gimmick fight. And while some of the gimmicks just don't work, the number of them again sort of speaks to how much detailed designer-care went into this thing (way too much for such a basic title at least). I wonder how much government funding this game got. It does not feel like an indie game in terms of the amount of content or polish.

    Like I say in the review, I found Paladin to be the only poorly designed class and very boring from level 6ish onwards. It certainly isn't useful in those fights. They should maybe have done more with her parry mechanics. Those stop being relevant after a short stint in the early levels where they are sort of fun.

    However the fights are actually fairly easy in the scope of things. The key is to completely ignore mechanics and adds and just burst down the main boss. Those two fights are among the weakest in the game, sadly.
     
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  9. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

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  10. Lacrymas Arcane

    Lacrymas
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    It sounds like a game I'd gladly give my hard-earned 5 euros for.
     
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  11. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

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    For such a generous offering, you are viable to claim the decently mediocre soundtrack!
     
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  12. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    (I kind of like the main theme though, the reliance on brass instruments gives it an 80s/90s adventure feel:

    )
     
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  13. rojay Educated

    rojay
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    Outstanding review. I bought the game based on reading the old thread here, and I haven't been disappointed.
     
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  14. Lacrymas Arcane

    Lacrymas
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    Those are brass, not wind ;d

    This game's aesthetic reminds me of this slightly obscure parodic Swedish Danish movie Ronal the Barbarian.
     
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  15. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    And so, google fails me again

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Hellraiser Arcane

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    It reminds me of a bit of the first Witcher in this regard. A no-name studio came out suddenly with something much better than one could have expected. I just hope these guys don't peak on this like CDP did with Witcher 1.
     
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  17. Lacrymas Arcane

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    Technically, they are all "wind" instruments because they produce sound by being blown into, but the English words aren't very appropriate. In Bulgarian, they are called woodwind and "brasswind" instruments.
     
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  18. Iskramor Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Iskramor
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    In serbian they are called blowing instruments lol
     
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  19. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    In Danish too. Blæse = Blowing
     
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  20. Lacrymas Arcane

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    Yeah, in Bulgarian too, I was just converting the name closer to the English standard ;d
     
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  21. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

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    ban grunker
     
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  22. thesecret1 Arcane

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    I appreciated the D&D satire. None of the jokes were particularly hilarious or novel, but I found they set a very comfortable, light-hearted mood to the game.
     
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  23. Grunker RPG Codex Ghost Patron

    Grunker
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    Another way of stating my point re: the D&D humor is that it works sometimes, and is inoffensive when it doesn't, which is most of the time. So I don't necessarily disagree with your perspective on it.
     
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  24. Lacrymas Arcane

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    Has anyone played this in French? Perhaps the humor is better then.
     
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  25. ValeVelKal Arcane

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    I'm Ridin' with Biden I'm Ridin' with Biden
    I played it in French. Actually, I played it alternating French & English (which can be done in one or two clicks iirc). The game is not as much translated as it is redone in English (or in French ? I am not sure). I found it a bit funnier in French, whoever wrote it in French had a deep knowledge of French tabletop RPG history (I don't remember many examples, but I remember this joke about the ranger/rôdeur. "Rôdeur" [=prowler] was the historical translation in French for Ranger in D&D (indeed, the MC is a "rôdeur" in the French edition of Naheulbeuk) a translation that was not accepted by anyone who had played the English edition of D&D, creating a sort of cultural shift between those calling the class "rôdeur" and those calling the class "ranger" - all extremely French and extremely niche as far as jokes go).
     
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