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The best isometric cRPG since early 2000s is criminally underrated at the 'Dex

Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
5,167
As some of you might know, though I count entries from all RPG subgenres among my favorites (except maybe blobbers), I generally prefer aRPGs as of late. Partially this is just due to subjective taste, but a large factor is also that I consider aRPGs to be the "happening" sub-genre since the early 2000s. Back then, you had isometric, tactical cRPGs that pushed the envelope, such as Fallout 1/2, Baldur's Gate saga, PST and so on. But since then, in more recent years, I look at iso RPGs and see stagnation and mediocrity. There are the fruits of Kickstarter, the Divinity: Original Sins and the Pillars of Eternity and Wastelands and Numinumas, all B level games or worse that no one would be playing if there were better alternatives. There are efforts from the East, like Kingmaker, which is about 30 times more ambitious than the talents of its developers allowed. There are codex darlings like Age of Decadence and Underrail, which are quality indie games, but cannot honestly be compared to actual RPGs from full fledged development studios.

So imagine my surprise when I recently played and completed what turned out to be BY FAR the best isometric, tactical cRPG I have played since the golden age of late 90s and early 2000s. A game that you would think would capture the Codex's heart, and yet it is barely mentioned here (earned a mere 83rd spot on the recent top 100 list), while the likes of Shitmaker and Divinity: Original Turd are drowning in pages of discussion. That game is Expeditions: Viking.

I've read Tigranes's original review of it from 2017, and while I think he is an intelligent reviewer, I also think he was unduly harsh on the game. It feels to me that a lot of his criticisms stemmed from the fact that it changed things he enjoyed in Expeditions: Conquistador, which is understandable, but I am coming to Viking with a blank slate, and looking at it on its own terms, and my image of it is significantly more positive. I also don't know if they patched the difficulty since his review, but having completed it on Hard (not even Insane), I did not find the game to be excessively easy at all. In fact, only 3% of people who bought it managed to complete it on that difficulty, so I dunno..

All of that aside, this game combines what I feel is an excellent and fun turn-based combat system (that blows something like Shitmaker or PoE away), with a really well done story and setting (mostly well done because it's based on history and not some hack writers' skills), with amazing C&C on par with Fallout or AoD, with an interesting meta system of managing resources/time/travel/kingdom management (yes, yes, it might be a step down from Conquistador, but compared to regular cRPGs, it's pretty damn good). Easily the best iso-RPG I've played in ages.
 

vazha

Arcane
Joined
Aug 24, 2013
Messages
2,065
Vikings aint underrated, it has a strong fanbase here. Would have been an even bigger hit had it not been dumbed down to laughable difficulty. You basically cannot lose unless you try really really hard.
 

Citizen

Guest
I blame DarkUnderlord / Infinitron. We had separate subforums for some games in the past that were in a completely different part of the site away from the RPG subforum which lead to some games having much less exposure than they deserved (Underrail and Expeditions at least)
 

HoboForEternity

sunset tequila
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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
should've said the game in topic title instead of wasting 2 minutes of people's lives with your autistic ramblings.

but i agree. i love vikings and can't wait for the next LA games
 
Self-Ejected

Thac0

Time Mage
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I'm very into cock and ball torture
Vikings is not worthy of that praise.
It is a step down in almost every way from Conquistador and a game that became a CRPG almost accidentally.
They should have stuck to their story driven survival King's Bounty style of gamemaking, they were much better at it.
 

barghwata

Savant
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
504
Vikings is not worthy of that praise.
It is a step down in almost every way from Conquistador and a game that became a CRPG almost accidentally.

Meh, conquistador undoubtdely has better exploration and a more interesting setting, but as an RPG overall it is clearly inferior, there are less choices, less build variety and character progression is too flat and railroaded, i also think vikings had better writing but that's debatable, as for combat i think vikings had more interesting encounters while Conquistador got repetitve real fast.

The survival/camping mechanics did get streamlined in vikings but i think it's for the best, it's an interesting concept sure but the way it was implemented in conquistador was kinda lackluster and eventually becomes a nuissance rather then a challenge. Regardless i love both games and i think they're both criminally underrated and deserve alot more praise then they get.
 

Aarwolf

Learned
Joined
Dec 15, 2020
Messages
444
Expeditions: Viking is one of my favourite games in the subgenre (isometric turnbased crpgs), but I woulndn't say that it's underrated here. It's not that nobody knows about the game and nobody talks about it - it's just not as popular like, say, Age of Decadence. And it's not the pinnacle, cause it has some issues, ie. difficulty (or rather lack of) or character progression (lots of useless perks, you've got so many points to allocate that you end up buying every shit wheter it's usefull or not).

Overall I enjoyed my both playthroughs - liked the characters, liked the setting very much, liked camping mechanics and that the game had built in timer with real consequences if you fail it. Very decent game, worth every penny spent and it's now on sale on GOG, heavily discounted (67% off iirc).
 

SausageInYourFace

Angelic Reinforcement
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Dec 28, 2013
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In your face
Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. My team has the sexiest and deadliest waifus you can recruit. Pathfinder: Wrath
I count entries from all RPG subgenres among my favorites (except maybe blobbers)

kingcomrade.png
Marked post for heresy. Immediately report to the Imperial authorities.
kingcomrade.png
 

jac8awol

Arbiter
Joined
Feb 2, 2018
Messages
408
I dunno man, Vikings wasn't bad but it had a certain bland je ne sais quoi. The idea was good and I liked the faction ideas and C&C but there was just an air of Eurojank that made it impossible to seriously consider it a contender.
 

cruelio

Savant
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
369
Vikings was insanely shit. There’s nothing to explore, the combat was insanely bad because archers were so overpowered, and crafting made the difficulty even more of a joke and also gave you no reason to explore cause you already crafted the best shit possible ten minutes into the game (the worst sort of crafting system) . Then there’s the fact that it was released literally unbeatable because there were so many game breaking bugs, meaning all us suckers who wanted to support the company after how great conquistador was got ripped off to pay them to alpha test. In the days of early access it is inexcusable for a game to be released that way. Fuck that company, I will never buy anything from them again.
 

Tigranes

Arcane
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
10,350
I've read Tigranes's original review of it from 2017, and while I think he is an intelligent reviewer, I also think he was unduly harsh on the game. It feels to me that a lot of his criticisms stemmed from the fact that it changed things he enjoyed in Expeditions: Conquistador, which is understandable, but I am coming to Viking with a blank slate, and looking at it on its own terms, and my image of it is significantly more positive. I also don't know if they patched the difficulty since his review, but having completed it on Hard (not even Insane), I did not find the game to be excessively easy at all. In fact, only 3% of people who bought it managed to complete it on that difficulty, so I dunno..

All of that aside, this game combines what I feel is an excellent and fun turn-based combat system (that blows something like Shitmaker or PoE away), with a really well done story and setting (mostly well done because it's based on history and not some hack writers' skills), with amazing C&C on par with Fallout or AoD, with an interesting meta system of managing resources/time/travel/kingdom management (yes, yes, it might be a step down from Conquistador, but compared to regular cRPGs, it's pretty damn good). Easily the best iso-RPG I've played in ages.

Hello

I would say that Viking abandoning Conquistador's formula would not be a problem if Viking's own new formula was done really well. The real issue is that Viking is a ship that is pulling itself in several different directions, such that the synergy between gameplay systems fall apart, and the individual systems end up being diluted: time hardly matters, supplies hardly matter, and so on, turning numbers that were a real point of scarcity & decision-making in Conquistador into meaningless figures. I don't think the resource management in Viking is better than regular CRPGs - I think it becomes just as pointless, whereas they really mattered in Conquistador.

I still think Logic is awesome. They have the ability to do actually 'historical' fictiony stories/settings & put together fairly tight combat systems - and that's already rare. Really sad that we haven't got a next game yet.
 
Self-Ejected

Thac0

Time Mage
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Joined
Apr 30, 2020
Messages
3,292
Location
Arborea
I'm very into cock and ball torture
I would say that Viking abandoning Conquistador's formula would not be a problem if Viking's own new formula was done really well. The real issue is that Viking is a ship that is pulling itself in several different directions, such that the synergy between gameplay systems fall apart, and the individual systems end up being diluted: time hardly matters, supplies hardly matter, and so on, turning numbers that were a real point of scarcity & decision-making in Conquistador into meaningless figures.

This is the main problem. Vikings structure completely annihilates any challenge that comes from the survival/management mechanics on all difficulty levels, but keeps the system at the same bloat and complexity. This not only makes the ressource management aspects useless, it makes them actively tedious.

And don't get me started on isometric adventure maps a la Baldurs Gate combined with loot container masses a la Skyrim without autolooting.

Had they thrown away everything they have achieved with Conquistador and started from scratch I would have been merely dissapointed, but maybe I could value the final product. But Vikings is carrying Conquistador's rotting corpse in its innards, and it stinks.

I am annoyed that Vikings sold so much better than Conquistadors.



A shame that this happened and wasted so much dev time, wether you think Viking's was the best thing since sliced Icewind Dale or shit compared to Conquistadors, it is undeniable they have talent and new games from them have the potential to be incline.

The statement sounds like Expeditions 3 is in the oven. I hope it takes lessons from both games and either focusses on management again or scraps that entirely.
 

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