Posted on 03/25/10 @ 05:54 AM (updated 04/02/10
A cutscene by Thunder77
Featuring the song of the same name by Opeth
Make sure to set your music volume to off, your sound effects volume to all the way up, and the game speed to SLOW. After doing so, restart the scenario. Do not pause the scenario for any reason, and if you do so, restart the scenario. Otherwise just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show... and the beautiful music, of course.
"Isolation Years" - Opeth, Album: "Ghost Reveries"
(c) 2005 Roadrunner Records
Redistributed under the Fair Use doctrine
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Never again did I believe I would see a scenario by this authour, but so today I stumbled upon this in the Blacksmith. Why the silence about it Thunder? ;)
"Isolation Years" is a short watch-only cinematic, an AoK scenario crafted with the lyrics of the song 'Isolation Years' by Opeth as its base, making it sort of an Age of Kings version of a music video.
Although very short, running only for the three or four minutes the song is playing, the cut-scene managed to get its message across and present itself as a very unique scenario. The lyrics of the song are mixed with dialogue and lines of description so as to visualize the overview AoK uses and draw up pictures in your head, how the hermit bends down and picks up a letter, and so forth. The cut-scene was enjoyable and interesting for what it is but I don't feel it warrants a top score, it wasn't THAT awesome. Still very good and very unique, and well worth the download.
BALANCE (i.e. PACE & FLOW): 4
Since Balance becomes Pace & Flow when talking about cinematics nowadays (or so I gather reading the guidelines), I give this a four. Why? Well, for the most part the cut-scene ran very smoothly and without any problems whatsoever. The only thing I can complain about was that some of the text showing song lyrics tended to appear a second or two after the singer had sung them, giving it a little delayed feeling. And yes, I followed the instructions carefully, slowing down the speed and then restarting, but it didn't change it. Otherwise the pace and flow are good.
The concept of a music video sort-of in AoK is something I've had in mind for a couple of years, although I never found a song I could make a good cinematic out of and never bothered searching for one. As far as Blacksmith scenarios goes I believe this is the first of its kind to be released, giving it high scores for creativity automatically. Apart for this there are also a couple of simple design tricks, like the man dying in the fog, the screen going completely black before switching views and more. Also, the music is good. However, apart for the concept there was nothing really standing out, which is the reason it gets a minus on the fiver (This is of course understandable as you'd want to keep focus at the story and music and not designing tricks).
MAP DESIGN: 3+
The map looks quite good, suits the story and is easy on the eye (no massive ammounts of eye-clutter), but there's really nothing that stands out. Understandable, as the focus lies on the music and the story, but making it a bit more eye-catching would improve the impression of the cinematic as a whole. Not putting out the cracks at the mill so that the hermit can stand behind them would be a detail to improve too.
STORY & INSTRUCTIONS: 4
Here I am quite uncertain. The positive side of the story is that combined with the singer and the music, it creates an atmosphere and images in one's head of the things going on, and it actually becomes moving, very rare in a game meant for fighting and competing. On the other hand you have no idea of who these people are, the only one who has a name is Rosemary and you never get to know anything about her, why she went into isolation and so forth. I suppose this can also be a strength of the cinematic, and the song, that is can be applied to many situations, but personally I think it may have been even better if the story had actual characters as opposed to just "A Man" and "Rosemary, A Woman". As far as instructions go few were neccesary, and all instructions neccesary were present, so no problem here.
In the end I decide to give this a four, seeing as the story isn't the most awesome you'll ever see and that the characters aren't developed at all, while the music, the story present and the pace create a moving cinematic, and because the lyrics work great as base for the storyline. Unique and quite moving, but not overly spectacular.
Isolation Years by Thunder77 is a sort of AOK Music Video to the song Isolation Years performed by the artist Opeth.
Isolation Years is a short non-playable cinematic scenario. It is only about 3 or 4 minutes long running the same length as the song itself. It is a sort of Music Video for the song and is a very interesting watch. The lyrics and dialog are mixed well with what’s going on in the scenario
The cutscene ran very smoothly throughout most of the 3-4 minutes of the song. I didn’t find any problems with the triggers or anything being out of time except the dialog. Sometimes the dialog of the lyrics were a bit behind the song itself.
The cinematic is very creative and unique. It is, I think, the first of its kind. What I mean is that never before have I seen an AOK Music Video to a song like what has been done with this cinematic. It is strange and enjoyable at the same time too. The lyrics fit with the cinematic perfectly too. There are also some good trigger trick and a nice map design too.
Map Design: 4
A beautiful but small map design which I personally think fits the theme perfectly. There is nice terrain mixing and eye-candy. I think the whole map design is perfect for the scenario. However I did not really see anything outstanding or different about the map design to boost its sore up to a five.
The story is the song itself, ting the tale of The Hermit and the isolation years of Rosemary. No information is given to us about the characters; the only name we hear of is Rosemary. We have no background information on the characters nor do we know why they are in isolation. This gives the whole scenario a sort of mysterious feel to it, which I think fits this scenario very well.
A very interesting and strange cinematic but well worth the watch.