Putting the 'role' back in role-playing games since 2002.
Donate to Codex
Good Old Games
  • Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.

Bard's Tale The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep - Director's Cut

RuySan

Augur
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Messages
777
Location
Portugal
Ok but why? Is it a bad game? Then why it has over 100 pages on dex? Seems like a good game by sheer publicity here.
This has been discussed previously: InXile deviated from the formula of the original Bard's Tale trilogy in both combat and exploration, while at the same time heavily "casualizing" the game in almost every respect. The result is an evidently unsuccessful attempt to reach a broad audience that has never played the original trilogy and wouldn't care for it, while also alienating the narrower audience that appreciates Wizardry-likes and might be nostalgic for the original Bard's Tale games. Changes made to combat were seemingly aimed in the direction of making it more tactical, but it's too casualized to hold much appeal for the type of CRPG player who enjoys the tactical combat of Pool of Radiance and similar games. Similarly, changes made to exploration placed a focus on mechanical puzzles, but these puzzles are too simple and repetitive to hold much appeal for the type of CRPG player who enjoys the sort of puzzles found in Dungeon Master and similar games. The Bard's Tale IV was additionally hurt by the agonizingly-lengthy loading times for those without a solid-state drive and reportedly also poor framerates for many with older and/or cheaper computers, though these issues would be less likely to be experienced now than when it was released. Also, the game is burdened with a prolonged, unskippable tutorial sequence in a dreary underground area and generic medieval city before it finally allows you to create your own party and enter the first real dungeon.

The developers were unable to attract the casual gaming audience they were so clearly pursuing. The reasons for this aren't entirely clear, but certainly InXile did itself no favors by wasting money on advertisements attempting to attract people who had enjoyed Skyrim, even though nearly anyone who considers Skyrim a good game would run away screaming at the first real puzzle in The Bard's Tale IV, and not many would be fond of the (rather odd) turn-based combat either. I suppose certain portions of the casual audience might have been interested in either the combat or the puzzles but not both simultaneously. :M
Wasteland 3 did absolutely fine in modernizing the formula. The problem with bt4 is that while some novelties were nice such as the combat and character system, the game was buggy, ugly, and had tons of boring samey puzzles, and also way too many battles.

The game could be pretty good with some minor changes. And having a way to skip puzzles doesn't help, because you end up with a never ending stream of battles.

Less but better puzzles and less repetitive battles. Also, nicer graphics and optimization and less bugs. And voila, a very good game is born.
 

Zed Duke of Banville

Dungeon Master
Patron
Joined
Oct 3, 2015
Messages
12,025
The Bard's Tale IV needed not just fewer or better-designed combat encounters but more importantly a drastic overhaul of its combat system, which was a bit of a novelty but didn't quite work and certainly failed to attract an audience. InXile might have been better served by repurposing the tactical combat engine from Wasteland 2, even though it was designed for a science-fiction setting dominated by ranged weapons rather than a fairly conventional medieval-esque fantasy setting.

The primary issues with the puzzles are that, first, a particular zone will feature a plethora of a new type of puzzle rather than providing variety, and second, the puzzles are simultaneously too difficult for casual Skyrim players and too easy for puzzle-aficionados.
 

cvv

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
18,283
Location
Kingdom of Bohemia
Codex+ Now Streaming!
The Bard's Tale IV needed not just fewer or better-designed combat encounters but more importantly a drastic overhaul of its combat system, which was a bit of a novelty but didn't quite work and certainly failed to attract an audience.
Combat is the least of this game's problem. It's kinnda half-assed and janky but it's the "blob outside combat, grid in combat" kind that I loved in Krondor or Albion (IIRC Shadows over Riva might have the same system). Plus is turn-based.

The biggest problem by far was the amount of puzzles, that shit stopped being fun halfway through, writing, loot and fugliness. Operencia, an indie blobber made a by a bunch of scraggly Hungarians in their garage, had infinitely better production values than a game by a professional American studio.

Plus the game overstayed its welcome by about 20 hours. Too bad, RPG blobbers with a TB combat aren't born every day.
 

Decado

Old time handsome face wrecker
Patron
Joined
Dec 1, 2010
Messages
2,571
Location
San Diego
Codex 2014
The Bard's Tale IV needed not just fewer or better-designed combat encounters but more importantly a drastic overhaul of its combat system, which was a bit of a novelty but didn't quite work and certainly failed to attract an audience.
Combat is the least of this game's problem. It's kinnda half-assed and janky but it's the "blob outside combat, grid in combat" kind that I loved in Krondor or Albion (IIRC Shadows over Riva might have the same system). Plus is turn-based.

The biggest problem by far was the amount of puzzles, that shit stopped being fun halfway through, writing, loot and fugliness. Operencia, an indie blobber made a by a bunch of scraggly Hungarians in their garage, had infinitely better production values than a game by a professional American studio.

Plus the game overstayed its welcome by about 20 hours. Too bad, RPG blobbers with a TB combat aren't born every day.

I think I already chimed in to this thread but yes, I agree with the above. 1) Operencia was fucking great 2) This game was pure Brian Fargo, i.e. 30% too long and 3) Combat was lame.

Otherwise, a grid-based dungeon crawler with puzzles, secrets, and classes should have been a fucking slam dunk. They got too clever for their own good. The class/weapon/stats/gear system was fucking atrocious and needlessly complicated. An updated version of the original Bard's Tale class and combat systems would have worked perfectly. I am flabbergasted that they went in the direction they chose.
 

Zed Duke of Banville

Dungeon Master
Patron
Joined
Oct 3, 2015
Messages
12,025
Operencia, an indie blobber made a by a bunch of scraggly Hungarians in their garage, had infinitely better production values than a game by a professional American studio.
I think I already chimed in to this thread but yes, I agree with the above. 1) Operencia was fucking great 2) This game was pure Brian Fargo, i.e. 30% too long and 3) Combat was lame.

Otherwise, a grid-based dungeon crawler with puzzles, secrets, and classes should have been a fucking slam dunk. They got too clever for their own good. The class/weapon/stats/gear system was fucking atrocious and needlessly complicated. An updated version of the original Bard's Tale class and combat systems would have worked perfectly. I am flabbergasted that they went in the direction they chose.

The Bard's Tale IV was largely created by InXile's new studio in New Orleans, which was only announced as a future expansion in October 2015, and therefore many of the developers had little if any prior experience, assisted by a few more experienced people from the main office in California. Perusing the Mobygames credits, it seems that
  • The producer had prior experience only as Quality Assurance on a smartphone game called Minions Paradise from 2015
  • The creative director had previous experience only on America's Army from 2013
  • One of the two project engineer leads had prior experience only on Choplifter HD and the 2004 "Bard's Tale" game (although the other had extensive experience)
  • The level design lead had prior experience only on America's Army and an MMO shooter
  • The combat design lead had last worked on a game called WWE All Stars released in 2011 (though he did had substantial prior experience)
  • Three of the four engineers had zero prior experience, and the exception had only worked on a smartphone game called Paddington Run
  • Two of the four designers (as opposed to the junior designers) had zero prior experience
  • All five junior designers had zero prior experience
Not surprising that the game systems needed refinement, or that the game experienced other difficulties such as lengthy loading times (except on SSD :smug:).
 

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.
Back
Top Bottom