The Spirit of Alessia Prologue
||The Conquerors 1.0c
Follow Arlens journey as he travels through ruins, through remains, through mountains, through forests, through the stench of death and around the watchful eye of the shadows that follow him.
Who is Arlen? At the moment you only know he travels the world in order to help innocent people in protecting themselves.
What journey will Arlen take after seeing such ruin? Although, whatever happened here, must have happened before he was even born.
What is the spirit of Alessia? How will we see these events pan out. What was the fate of the people who once lived among the ruins?
All will be revealed in this prologue.
This is my first ever cutscene of my first ever campaign, which is under currently under construction.
Please comment your thoughts, and enjoy watching. Thanks.
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'The Spirit of Alessia' is a cinematic and prologue to the upcoming campaign. The story is fiction, a fabled telling of war and its desolation, and the death of a queen so profound the kingdom she ruled was named after her.
Thirty-five years after the Alessian kingdom's demise, a traveller stumbles upon its ruins, and begins searching for answers.
PLAYABILITY: The purpose of a prologue is of course to raise expectations for the complete version of the project, to draw the viewer and leave him wanting more, and I must say 'The Spirit of Alessia Prologue' has really done so for me. The cinematic is so hauntingly beautiful and yet at times so desperately sad, and all that seems good is left to ruin by an unstoppable force; nature itself could not tie down the tidal wave unleashed over it. After twenty years, the crumbling tops of buildings still poke a grim sky, and one can almost smell the black smoke that still seems to linger after all that time, torturing the eminence of a once pulsating countryside. Skulls addle in the elements, long since rotten on pikes and mocking the sight of hungry crows rasping madly above - left for future ages to witness - all the painful reflections of a once mighty civilisation caught in the ever-questionable actions of war. There is enough here that will please most, and one can expect an almost cinema-like ride, a complimentary blend of music and action, story and bloodshed. The cinematic is timed very well between scenes, and the story seems to grab the viewer with little effort - there is not a boring moment. The story itself raises enough questions to cause the viewer to reflect over all that has just passed, and reveals just enough to keep the minutes rolling. The dialogue, despite featuring perhaps a few too many punctuation errors, is delightful to read and carries the flow of the viewing like a novel. I have hardly seen a more well-told and enjoyable story put on screen before. 5.0
BALANCE: For the most, the cinematic performs with very little concern, and the overall flow of the viewing is maintained nicely, blending well with the music and dialogue. However, there are a few problems here and there that need addressing and which affected the score here. Dialogue passes by too quickly in places and the viewer has to skim through some of the words in order to keep up. In other circumstances, I felt the viewer simply wasn't given enough time between reading text and what happened on screen, and some of the action is lost. Still, the cinematic works almost without flaw and it is obvious a lot of effort on the author's behalf has gone into this. 4.0 +
CREATIVITY: The story is a familiar one, and the name 'Alessia' is certainly used enough in this genre, but it's a beautifully-told tale of 'good' and 'evil', the desire for justice and retribution. The technical aspects of the cinematic are enough to carry the prologue in their own right, and its cinema-like involvement is fulfilling and innovative. To add to this, the use of music and sound effects compliments an already poignant viewing, and there are many subtle creative devices besides that work well enough for the cinematic and which add to the overall rating here. 5.0 -
MAP DESIGN: Aesthetically, the map design is very pleasing, giving the impression a lot of effort went into it. An overgrown landscape captures the mood of the story well, and yet falling away into the rhythms of timelessness and desolation as the mountain peaks reveal fields of skeletons, a land devoured of its health and turned into mud, where buildings mark the earth like graves and stand as a frightful reminder of a kingdom's forgotten past. Ruins rise up above the canopy of tree tops and still bear witness to memory. There is everything here one could look for and more. 5.0
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: Although the story is familiar it is still very well narrated and engaging, the quintessence of abandonment and the sapling of budding hope. The dialogue is poetic and sometimes reads like a novel, if only that bits and pieces of the text contain punctuation errors, more than its fair share it seems. Commas are sometimes placed incorrectly and various adjectives are oddly used and do not describe what the author intended, such as the 'winds gaze' or 'I parched open its dry covers', when 'I thirsted over' probably would have been better - but I'm being very picky here. The overall presentation is still very good, although I believe more final polishing in the pre-game screen, complete with a bitmap, would truly round off this part of the design. 5.0 -
CONCLUSION: This cinematic is one of my all time golden favourites. I earnestly look forward to the campaign and hope this will not simply turn out to be another one of those discontinued prologues that the Blacksmith has so often seen in the past.
In a sentence - A hauntingly-poignant cinematic that truly leaves you thirsting for more.
In closing - A highly-recommended download.
[Edited on 10/03/12 @ 07:48 PM]
Well you never play a cut scene but by God was this good. You sat there and became pretty immersed in the story. It a tragic tale of heroism, defiance, patriotism and a proud past now gone.The music adds to the atmosphere of sadness and tradgedy.There is hope but I won't spoil it.
I didnt have the problem of the person above me in terms of dialouge? Might just be me I'm a quick reader. I gave it a personal 5
With the use of a mod, things have been achieved that takes this cutscene to new heights. The cities and roads, ruins and mountainscapes are flawless.He's used every trick in the book to make this perfect, well deserving of a five.
Map Design: 5
As above, flawless, terrain was blended perfectly especially the palace ground ruined and otherwise, fantastic! An easy 5.
It is rare to have a story so deep and involving. I was grabbed by the story very quickly and it held me to the end. It provided a glimmer of hope that makes me crave the actual scenario (If there is, I hope there is). The instructions are sufficient enough too. A 5
When is the scenario coming out?!
[Edited on 03/25/10 @ 07:27 AM]
The Spirit of Alessia is an upcoming campaign by one of our in-house designers, Sebastien. This cutscene is the prologue and teaser to the future work.
Its about 12 minutes long, and as trailers go, I feel like I got a sweet deal for my time.
The Spirit of Alessia is one of the bleakest tales I have seen. I know this sounds flippant, its a cutscene for a game, but I am serious.
This is an almost flawless tale of the history of a former nation, from the point of view of a lone wanderer, who discovers a book detailing the history of the recent past.
This man, Arlen, is deeply affected by what he reads, and is visited by the spirit of the dead Queen of old, the titular Alessia.
The cinematic features both dialogue and action, with both being long, but not overly long.
The emotion associated with the plot is executed in spectacular fashion, the music has been chosen very well to suit the events.
At some points it was incredibly despondent. Along with NewIdea's Bitter Cold, this is a masterclass in emotive designing.
The cinematic is almost flawless, however towards the end the indenting on the dialogue pushes the last word onto a new line.
This was incredibly frustrating after the perfection thus far and distracted my attention from what was being said to the obvious glitch.
Oliver's Renaissance mod is used to perfection, with AoE I wonders, rain effects and clearing of the minimap.
This, combined with excellent triggerwork makes for an esoteric and fascinating video.
Map Design: 5
I found the map to be secondary to the dialogue and/or action, however it is to a very high standard. It features variety, while mainly in a mountain setting, but certainly detailed enough for the combat. My only complaint is the use of the "path" object, which overlaps the fog of war.
The story has clearly been thought-out beforehand. Often the choice of words strike the viewer and remain in their mind for another few lines of dialogue.
I've already elaborated on the story in the playability category, however I will finish by saying that this certainly has held my attention, and leaves me in anticipation for the playable campaign.
We may be witnessing a new epic rising to fame.
Have you, by any chance, been influenced by TES IV: Oblivion?
I may be imagining things, but I've seen a couple of references to it ;)
This is a high quality video, and I await with baited breath.
The Spirit of Alessia is a very enjoyable, dramatic cut-scene which is packed with tightly-cut action. Even though the story is littered with clichés, the designer still manages to captivate you through the atmospheric use of music, sounds and data edited units. Despite the clichés there are many creative aspects, such as the way the story is told, and a lot of great map design to look at. Originally I wasn't too fond of the music, but I've come to like it, and I definitely think it fits with the scenes. Definitely worth watching!
PACE & FLOW: 4-
The pacing is the main problem with this cinematic. For the most of the scenario, it's very good: the scenes flow to the rhythm of the story and the atmosphere created by the music... but then the great war starts, and the camera flies all over the place, giving you no time whatsoever to read the text that still keeps popping up. I'm guessing the designer wanted to give it the feel of a tighly-cut, action-packed movie trailer (or something along those lines), but with AoK's fixed perspective and no spoken dialogue, it doesn't work too well. After this scene the pacing becomes a lot better again, and all in all the pacing is very good.
While the story has a lot of clichés, as well as some unimaginative names (e.g. calling both the country and it's queen Alessia!), there is a lot of creativity found throughout the cinematic: from the design of palaces and ruins, to the tricks and units made available with the data file, and map design tricks like gradually increasing LOS and shoreless fish used as rain. While there was nothing absolutely outstanding or new, there was definitely proof of a creative approach to the map, and everything that went into the map made the experience better.
MAP DESIGN: 5
The map design is great, and made even better by the design tricks (like rain effects) used. It suits the story and the atmosphere very well. The one thing I didn't like was how the designer kept putting flowers on snow, but it's not enough to detract anything major from the score!
STORY & INSTRUCTIONS: 5-
Instructions are few but spotless. The story is one that we've heard before, in various tweaked forms: an unknown evil comes to Country A. Its ruler, the personification of goodness, is killed; yet her spirit lingers on, and once a traveller comes by and is captivated by her story, he is chosen to restore her power and undo the damage done to the country. The story has a lot of clichés, but the way it's told (narrated by the wanderer, who digd though the history of the country by reading books), makes it a bit more unique.
The two main characters, the wanderer and Alessia, are pretty wooden, and the wanderer's conviction to help and save Alessia seems to come out of nowhere. Still, because of the atmosphere, it didn't bother me too much, although the story would become even better, and certainly deeper, if the characters are more flshed out.
Overall the story is enjoyable, albeit predictable. It is well set up to make for an interesting campaign, and while there are downsides they don't amount to enough to bring down the score from a five.
[Edited on 10/07/12 @ 04:10 PM]