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Preview Swords and Sorcery: Underworld Gold Preview

Zed

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Tags: OlderBytes; Swords and Sorcery: Underworld

Swords and Sorcery: Underworld Gold is the upcoming enhanced edition of Swords and Sorcery: Underworld (2010), a turn- and party-based first person indie RPG/dungeon crawler in the vein of Might and Magic. I've written a quick preview of it so you can know what changes have been introduced. If you thought Underworld seemed like fun but was reluctant to play it for whatever reason, this might interest you.

3qh2M.png

My most successful party consisted of a Knight, two Rogues, two Sorcerers, and a Priest, but having only played the demo, I cannot really tell how well they would do at the later stages of the game. In the original version of Swords and Sorcery: Underworld you could steamroll most encounters at higher character levels, but the Gold version has introduced many new dungeon sections and changes to both the class system and combat (the former having been tweaked and expanded on because of the latter). The changes to combat consist of new tactical options, such as choosing whether your characters should stand on the front line or hide behind your Knights and Paladins. On top of that, enemies too can fall back now (previously, they could only rush forward into melee range). This increases the combat's tactical depth and offers an overall improvement over the old system. A consequence of this is that some classes have been given new skills in order to balance combat.

Something that might get on your nerves is the fact that you do not see enemies approach you before an 'encounter!' box pops up and you get thrown into combat. You will enter combat everywhere, too. Even in towns. This can make it challenging to strategize, at least during your first playthrough. When my healer died early in the game, it was pure hell getting back to the temple to resurrect her because of all the random in-town encounters along the way.​

Read the preview in full here: Swords and Sorcery: Underworld Gold Preview. There's also a thread for the game in the Codex Workshop subforum that you might want to check out.
 

Saxon1974

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Dang, that looks like a huge improvement. Especially the Tavern screen.

I bought the original game and always intended to play it but never found time. Looking forward to the Gold Version. Thanks for the write up!
 
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Can someone explain to me this whole "remake" concept he has going? I'm not sure of the advantage of it being a "remake" instead of just a standalone game. Does this require the original 1986 game to be played or does he have the rights to it? I feel like I'm missing something.


The tavern matron is delighted to see you. Food, drink and adventure. Quite litterally!

The spelling mistake is obvious but take that whole bit out. It couldn't be more awkward if it tried, Charles.


Good work, anyway. I do enjoy the look of this game
 

Elwro

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Can someone explain to me this whole "remake" concept he has going? I'm not sure of the advantage of it being a "remake" instead of just a standalone game. Does this require the original 1986 game to be played or does he have the rights to it?
It's a remake of his own game which he released last year.

edit: it'll be free for previous purchasers, right?
 

Zed

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Crooked Bee I'm totally fine with it. I should probably have run it though the broski forum before posting. Thanks :)
 

Elwro

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Seems a coincidence. (Also notice the "s" in Swords and Sorcery" in the ZX version.) There is a whole "sword & sorcery" genre, and I think Charles is trying to reference it. And I thought that by "classic games remade" he meant "new games made in the style of old games"... but I can see how the name can be misleading.
 
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It says "Swords" throughout this news piece. His website doesn't appear to call it "Sword and Sorcery: Underworld" though, just "Underworld", so maybe it isn't.

What a mess. Maybe charles-cgr would like to weigh in on this matter
 

Elwro

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It was definitely "Sword". But I see now on Charles' website there is "Swords" in some places. Ah, let's leave it.

edit: the "Before" picture seems to be from Peregrine's Song, and not from Underworld, right?
 

Zed

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edit: the "Before" picture seems to be from Peregrine's Song, and not from Underworld, right?
Could be. Lifted the "before" shots off the website for Underworld though.
 

commie

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Not sure if you're serious groke, but regarding the demo, I've been having a blast with it. If it maintains that quality it's certainly right up there. The TB crawler mechanics regarding combat with all the neat tactical options are very good.
 
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Exactly. Can we 'please' not have another round of folks coming the Codex because they're into 'hardcore oldschool' games, then dissing on folk who like the dungeon crawlers that started the whole computer genre. Some of us, including myself, grew up on this style of game and it is what intuitively comes to mind when someone says 'crpg'. Even the old black and white Wizardries with the wire-frame fake 3D dungeon in the early 80s.

Oddly enough, I'd consider myself something of a story-fag too, so I can appreciate those games as well - they just aren't the be all and end all to crpgs.
 

Charles-cgr

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Hey, thanks for the writeup!

Let's see if I can answer all the questions.

I had no knowledge of previous Swords and Sorcery games and I always put an s in swords. By remake I did intend the remaking of older games in general, but not one in particular. It does have a strong MM influence though, but the settings and lore are all original and actually the only thing that is remade is the general mechanics.

The very first version of UW had exactly the same environment graphics as Peregrine's Song. PS stayed where it was and UW underwent 8 builds, many of which were feeble attempts by me to make it look better, but also run better and expand in some ways. This time it wasn't me for the graphics, hence the actual improvement.

While the artists were working (it is actually a studio) I added a few maps, lore elements, loot and expanded on some mechanics. The most visible being the combat tactics.

A couple things I read in the preview:

the dialogue is that it feels too fragmented, with only a small snippet of text being shown at a time and a few seconds' delay before the next dialogue line appears

Actually it should wait until you click or spacebar to move to the next snippet. It used to be on timer but I changed that. Maybe I overlooked a few passages.

Another gripe I have is the lack of sufficient in-game information. At character creation, I would like to be able to know how exactly each stat affects the resulting character's capabilities as well as what type of abilities each class possesses.

No promises yet... That remains a lower priority than other things... Also I'd really like to be done in May - July = BAD.

Items and creatures you encounter could do with at least a minimal description, too.

Items have a description you can access using (I)tem description in the character inventory or item (O)verview in the stores. Monsters however do not, unless you use a certain lvl 4 spell which reveals some stats & a description of any special ability.

You will also want to keep an eye out for Underworld 2, a sequel to the game reviewed.

It won't be called Underworld 2, but after Swords and Sorcery - Peregrine's Song and Swords and Sorcery - Underworld it'll be Swords and Sorcery - "Something", which I'll announce after releasing Underworld (quite a few assets are done for it, including a logo so yes it is all firmly decided).

EDIT - I missed a couple:

Elwro Yes it'll be a free upgrade for previous owners. I sent out an email though to announce my blog post about the new tactical enhancements and got a 5% bounce rate so if on release day someone who should get it doesn't just contact me with the email used before and a new one & I'll update my records.

Combat texts are indeed timer based (clicking through each combat message would be nightmarish) but I added speed selection in the options and a combat (l)og so missing a text is OK, all moves by characters and mobs can be reviewed there.

Thanks Zed :)
 

Morkar Left

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I'm a bit confused. Is this actually the second title like "Swords & Sorcery 2: Underworld" or ist is basically "Swords & Sorcery 1: Peregrine's Song - Gold Edition"? I suppose it's the latter?
 

Charles-cgr

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Morkar There are two games. Swords and Sorcery 1 - PS and Swords and Sorcery (2) - UW. This is S&S2 UW Gold. S&S1 isn't even on my site, although it can be found in various places. Be warned though if you thought early versions of UW were amateurish when I started PS it took me two days to figure out how to display an image on screen :)

Johannes It's not a typo. I really have a hard time with single / double letters. In French Littéralement takes two T's and in English, one. I also often misspell Resources for the same reason. I went 7 builds with Equiped instead of Equipped. Dam barbarisms get me every time :mad:
 

Charles-cgr

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And a couple more...

Please tell me this one isn't trying to be humorous.

There's the occasional pun but no, comedy isn't a prominent part of the game.

The tavern matron is delighted to see you. Food, drink and adventure. Quite litterally!​
The spelling mistake is obvious but take that whole bit out. It couldn't be more awkward if it tried, Charles.

Out of context it's awkward but the adventure part is in reference to the special offer in the tavern. Maybe the quite literally has to go though, with or without the barbarism...

Where exactly am I? Why am I here? What is the backstory to all of this?

I went with a slowly revealing story... The bits and pieces come together after various NPC interactions (the gypsie is one of them) and a couple books found later. I could have explained that a party of adventurers formed to figure out why the town gates were closed and why they were deprived of their freedom... I guess that could be a section in the manual which could also entice to actually start reading it... I'll think about that but I don't think I'll add slides at this point.
 

Burning Bridges

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This looks good, but is not my cup of tea.

But keep going. I just thought someone was working on a remake of Ultima Underworld, and my heart rose for a moment.
 

groke

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Not sure if you're serious groke, but regarding the demo, I've been having a blast with it. If it maintains that quality it's certainly right up there. The TB crawler mechanics regarding combat with all the neat tactical options are very good.

I was indeed using GOTY unironically. As in this will be my vote for Codex RPGOTY.

It's a bit sad you take me for a shitposter so readily, though. Is it my avatar?
And even though I am a shitposter, that doesn't mean I don't like blobbers.
 

Morkar Left

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Morkar There are two games. Swords and Sorcery 1 - PS and Swords and Sorcery (2) - UW. This is S&S2 UW Gold. S&S1 isn't even on my site, although it can be found in various places. Be warned though if you thought early versions of UW were amateurish when I started PS it took me two days to figure out how to display an image on screen :)

Ah, thanks. That clarifies it.


It's a bit sad you take me for a shitposter so readily, though. Is it my avatar?
And even though I am a shitposter, that doesn't mean I don't like blobbers.

Everyone is a shitposter till proven otherwise.
:rpgcodex:
 

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