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

anvi

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This one gets really good, I don't get why they use the ugly undeground and basic looking Scara Brae as the starting area. Later on you go to a big outdoor wilderness that is really good looking. I always think games should try to hook people early and sending them to a nice looking region would be wise. But if you stick with it, it gets good looking and the combat gets much better. You can have a party of your own custom characters, or use the premade characters, and either way you can build them in multiple ways. I'll never play the Grimrock games again, this is way better. I really liked MMX but I think this is probably better than that too. There is a surprising amount of depth to the combat. And the slow but steady progression is hooking me. Also the dungeons are great.
 

Smerlus

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I find InXile games too drawn out for their own good. I have 55 hours in this game and that includes a couple stop/restarts.

I cant remember how long it took the run where I completed it but I remember being tired of the game. I found a party and equipment composition that worked really well and just stuck with it and didn't find the majority of puzzles difficult just time consuming.

I skipped the one optional high level dungeon because I just couldn't force myself to play anymore. It's weird because nothing, besides fairy golf, is terrible.
 
Self-Ejected

Thac0

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I'm very into cock and ball torture
I find InXile games too drawn out for their own good. I have 55 hours in this game and that includes a couple stop/restarts.

I cant remember how long it took the run where I completed it but I remember being tired of the game. I found a party and equipment composition that worked really well and just stuck with it and didn't find the majority of puzzles difficult just time consuming.

I skipped the one optional high level dungeon because I just couldn't force myself to play anymore. It's weird because nothing, besides fairy golf, is terrible.

Only InXile game I ever completed was Numenera. I never felt ripped for my money, their games have enough quality content before I drop them, but they sure could stand to cut a good 20 hours of the worse content for their games to get me to actually see the endgame.
 

anvi

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I can't think of any RPG that still had me so hooked at the end that I would have would have restarted and played through it again. Even good ones like BG2, System Shocks, etc. By the end I want it to end. I might have replayed KOTC right away if it had more classes.
 

anvi

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What should I do about filling my party? I currently have Tank guy, two nukers, and a bard support. I was planning to give the tank the Cleric abilities whenever I get that chance, and then I thought about the last two being a rogue and another bard. Or maybe just stay as 4 so I can move them around? I currently use the ability that gives -1 spell point on the next spell after moving. So it is nice to have room to move, but maybe with 6 and a second tank it would let me just fight more toe to toe.
 

anvi

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Yeah I have 5 now, trying to work out who to take and plan for it. Love the 2 nukers, love the tank, and love the bard. I figure a rogue and then either another rogue focused on range, or 2nd bard.
 

anvi

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I love the rogue, he can do that spray of arrows that hits 3 squares and he has the ability which -1 timer from something so I can shoot it twice in one turn, does huge damage. So I just have one slot left now, thinking of going with another fighter and making him tanky but a bit more damage based. I just got a weapon called Plaguebearer or something so I need to unlock its power and I'll probably go with a 2h fighter and give him that. Starting to really love the game but the repetition is starting to hit.
 

newtmonkey

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Two tanks, one to protect each practitioner, would be pretty powerful. If the tanks are dwarves, they will be "rooted" to protect against the (many, many) enemies later on that have attacks that swap front and rear line characters. You can also unlock abilities for tanks that reduce damage to characters behind them.

You'll probably want to keep the rogue because they are INSANE damage dealers at higher levels, nothing else comes close.

A fun party I used last time through on the hard difficulty level was three tanks, one practitioner, a bard, and a rogue. It's a weak party early on, but is almost comically overpowered toward the end.
 
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anvi

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Thanks =) I will go with a 2nd tank for sure. I made my rogue as an archer so I hope that works out ok. Seems good so far. 2nd tank I need to decide if he should have a shield and be full tank like the first one, or if I could get away with giving him a 2h.
 

anvi

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Jeez my team are destroying stuff now. Ranger was already strong and still is, but now my mage is wiping out whole armies. I have 2 of them, one with str which does ok, but the int guy wow. He uses Arcane Barrage which only does about 8 ish damage but he generates a lot of points so I can cast it a few times even on the first or second turn. It also has a chance to generate points when you cast it, so a few turns later I can cast it like 8 times and it generates 2 more so that is about 10 times in one turn. But then he got this item called Source Dagger which does 20 damage and if it kills the target, it gives him 3 more points which again can often turn into 4. That's about 116 damage in a turn. And his gear is a bit crappy because I plan to buy it later when I need it (if I need it).

Really love this game, although the repetition is starting to hit me now and I kinda miss the challenge of early in the game. Looking forward to what comes next though, bosses and dungeons are fun.
 

newtmonkey

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Unfortunately, once you develop a strong party and start crushing enemies, it pretty much stays that way for the rest of the game. That's my biggest issue with the game other than too many puzzles in the outdoor areas. It's still a lot of fun exploring, though, and the dungeons never stop being fun.

The optional DLC area is hard as balls though, at least on Hard.

I think they were trying to allow for a fighter/mage type character with the STR-based spells, but a STR-based practitioner is too weak due to a lack of useful STR-based spells/abilities.
 

anvi

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Thanks! I'll try to change that mage to INT. Crushing everything is a shame but at least I can see the later dungeons and I'll try the DLC.
 

anvi

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Really nice game, I finished the corrupted forest which was a big slog but it feels good to get all the rewards at the end. I doubled down on my STR Practitioner and he seems to be doing ok. His Warstrike hits for 90 at the moment and splinters off to hit another target for something too. And he has boots to add 30% if I move forward first. I also just got him The Destiny Wand which does good damage too and heals the whole group if there is a bone pile. I think if I respec him to remove some of the INT boosts he will be doing a lot of damage. The INT Practitioner is probably better though, he is like a machine gun now. Double spell points when meditating and then next turn he can do about 150 damage. I love having a second tank too, I now have 6 or 7 Opportunity points which makes a big difference. Wasn't expecting to like this game but it has been really good. Wish it was more successful because a bigger budget sequel could be amazing.
 

anvi

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Just completed this, loved the first half but the second half was too much repetition and the easy combat was a shame :/ Do you guys think the DLC dungeon is worth doing?
 

newtmonkey

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In my experience playing on Hard, the DLC dungeon was challenging and a lot of fun... up until an unavoidable super boss encounter (redcap; one is optional and can be avoided, the other is a forced encounter) that seemed to require a specific type of party to defeat. If I recall correctly, it's a "gimmick" battle where the boss has a ton of HPs and also poisons you. Once it kills any character it can then feed on that character's corpse to restore its HP to full (i.e. you need to restart the battle). I didn't feel like respec'ing my entire party, so I gave up.

It's possible I just overlooked some obvious strategy to beat him, though.
 
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Just completed this, loved the first half but the second half was too much Repetition

Definitely agree, I've put my save on hold for the time being. I think Wasteland 2 suffered from the same -- they could have cut a lot of (mediocre) content and made the good one shine more for a more focused product. However, blame expectations. Apparently, every RPG needs to be a 40-50+ hours epic, or else..
 

anvi

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Yea you can change difficulty mid game. The game really needed a total rework in terms of balance and progression, it was really terrible. Late game chests having 200g in them when I had 50,000g and nothing to spend it on, etc. Early fights busting your balls and then from about level 15 onwards I won every fight on round 1 or 2 at the latest. I only really continued with the slog because I wanted to see the final dungeon and that was a let down too. The big final boss died in a few rounds, ridiculous. Don't think I've ever seen a game which does so many things incredibly well and so many things incredibly badly. Very weird considering it is a Directors Cut.

I really hope we get a chance to have a sequel though but I'll probably be filing this in my mind next to MMX. Pretty nice modern blobber that needed a bigger budget and will never get it.
 

anvi

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Just finished the DLC Haernhold, pretty good! Wish there were more battles like that in the base game.
 

agris

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Torment sales disappoint. PoE2 sales disappoint. BT4 sales disappoint. And whatever the Codex says, these are good games, loved by critics. But still falling short at the box office. Does this mean the end for the nostalgia ride for RPGs? This cannot be a coincidence. If Wasteland 3 also flops, we can say goodbye to these projects I'm afraid.

Who cares? We have Styg, we have Iron Tower, we have the Expeditions guys, we have Goldhawk, we have Wormwood, BlueBottle, Whalenought, not to mention all the promising upcoming games - Beautiful Desolation, Xenonauts 2, Desperados 3, Fallen Gods, Iron Oath, Stygian, Encased - and a hell of a lot more that I don't know about - all from people who apparently genuinely understand what makes us love some of our old games. Not an older generation coasting on nostalgia, while trying to bring their games "to a wider audience".

If we need to 'say goodbuy' to mid-tier projects that overpromise and under-deliver, what is lost? Nothing, I would argue. Other than the salaries of people making uninspired games living in some of the highest cost of living areas in the world (coastal CA, Boston).
It's nice to be on that list, but the truth is that Fallen Gods (and, I think, almost everything else on that list) isn't the same kind of game as the ones that will be gone if inXile/Obsidian throwbacks stop getting made. Colony Ship has more or less all the same features, but it won't be in the same audiovisual league and probably won't have the same amount of content. (Mind you, AOD is my favorite RPG since MOTB, and in my top five, so I'm not slightly ITS here.) Almost everything else on the list lacks core features of the throwback games.

The truth is that to make a long, branching-dialogue-heavy, quest-heavy, party-based RPG with varied environments to explore requires lots of man-hours. There's no getting around it. Even at developing-world prices, those man-hours have a real cost to them. And developing-world games have (in my experience) are typically not nearly at the level of polish as the throwbacks. I myself don't have time/interest for a big, sprawling game like PoE, and unless it's an absolute gem even a game like TTON or WL2 wouldn't really interest me. So I'm not sure I'm going to miss out on anything. But the idea that just because Beautiful Desolation has gorgeous art or Fallen Gods has a few good lines or text they're suitable replacements for Obsidian is misguided.


I don't think I ever properly followed up on this. Appreciating that the frame of reference for your post was 2018, what are the Obsidian games that smaller independent studios can't replace? KotOR2? F:NV? NWN:2? Despite the dubious quality of at least one of those titles ( :M), I would argue that 2018 Obsidian, much less 2020 Obsidian, did not and cannot not make suitable replacements for such games. Not even speaking of real gems from the old Black Isles / Bio days.

In one way, you are 100% correct regarding the manpower required to produce these behemoth party-based branching narrative quasi-isometric RPGs. On the other hand, reality has clearly demonstrated that the studios in question can't do it, despite having the resources (WL3 being an unknown at the moment).

I understand there are friends of yours at both studios referenced in my old post, and it may be hard to read such a thing, but the work speaks for itself.
 

cvv

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Codex+ Now Streaming!
In one way, you are 100% correct regarding the manpower required to produce these behemoth party-based branching narrative quasi-isometric RPGs. On the other hand, reality has clearly demonstrated that the studios in question can't do it, despite having the resources (WL3 being an unknown at the moment).

Wasteland 2: DC is one of the best games of this genre. For me personally it is THE best. It does stuff like combat, chardev or itemization objectively better than Fallout 1/2, no contest.

D:OS 1/2 have retarded writing but mechanically they are solid. Best TB combat in any game of this genre ever made.

The Shadowrun trilogy is a little bit different but still, some of the best isometric RPGs I've ever played, especially Dragonfall.

People also seem to love Kingmaker and Spellforce 3. Dunno, didn't play, but they're very popular.

Plenty of replacements for Obsidian.
 

MRY

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I don't think I ever properly followed up on this. Appreciating that the frame of reference for your post was 2018, what are the Obsidian games that smaller independent studios can't replace? KotOR2? F:NV? NWN:2? Despite the dubious quality of at least one of those titles ( :M), I would argue that 2018 Obsidian, much less 2020 Obsidian, did not and cannot not make suitable replacements for such games. Not even speaking of real gems from the old Black Isles / Bio days.

In one way, you are 100% correct regarding the manpower required to produce these behemoth party-based branching narrative quasi-isometric RPGs. On the other hand, reality has clearly demonstrated that the studios in question can't do it, despite having the resources (WL3 being an unknown at the moment).

I understand there are friends of yours at both studios referenced in my old post, and it may be hard to read such a thing, but the work speaks for itself.
I guess what I would say is that there is a difference between bad "robust" RPGs (and here I'm stipulating to your dislike of them, not adopting that dislike for myself -- I simply don't have time or interest for playing substantial games any more, so I lack firsthand knowledge) and good "thin" RPGs (like Fallen Gods, assuming for the moment that it turns out as a good game). My point was that if people want to play RPGs with endless branching dialogue, a bazillion NPCs with sidequests, a million different systems in game, relatively sophisticated 3D graphics, dozens of class and race combinations, etc., you're not likely to get that from indie RPGs. Maybe that IE-style game (name escapes me, I think a Codexer was writing on it) that is somehow actually getting made (I don't mean Black Geyser, the other one) will prove me wrong. But the titles on the list are all much "thinner" than even a Tyranny, let alone a Kingmaker. Those thin games are brilliant -- AOD, Disco Elysium, Neo Scavenger, etc. are among the few games I've actually enjoyed playing, whereas POE couldn't hold my attention for more than a few minutes. But part of their brilliance arises from that thinness. A DE that actually tried to be a full-featured RPG would not have succeeded IMO.

It may be that the AA studios squandered the resources they had that would have permitted them to make a "robust" RPG worthy of comparison to the classics. (Though I'll note that over the years I've seen Codexers applaud WL2, Kingmaker, Tyranny, and even TTON!) But my point was, you can't say, "Who cares about losing those AA studios! We have X, Y, Z indies." It's like saying, "Who cares if the butcher, whose meat was often rancid, goes out of business! We always have the potato seller!" I love potatoes, but I would miss the prospect of steak.
 

V_K

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That's not a very correct analogy though. Because on its own the niche of "RPGs with endless branching dialogue, a bazillion NPCs with sidequests, a million different systems in game" is reasonably well served by, for example, Jeff Vogel. Sure, his production values suck, but if production values are what you're after, that niche is reasonably well served by AAA or less gameplay-ambitious indies, like the Grimrock devs. So the situation is more like a seller of steak with potatoes is going out of business, but you can still have steak and potatoes separatly.
 

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