This story revolves around a king who dies, and has two sons. The two duel for the right to rule, and the scenario goes from there...
This is my first attempt at a scenario, if you\'d like, I can continue the story. If not, say that too. Just please not too much negativity. :)
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Often, the title of a campaign is an indicator of its quality, so thats why I download Uneasy Alliance. The name awoke images of treachery and gripping gameplay, so I decided that Uneasy Alliance would be more then worth my time and bandwidth. It certainly did toy with good concepts, but that still doesn't insulate it from making serious newbie errors.
For a start, it was in the form of a SCX rather then CPX -- and it took me a while before I figured that simple fact out. Where the #@$% it that damned file? I unzipped it into the C:Program FilesMicrosoft GamesAge of Empires IICampaign directory, so why can't I find it? OK, I suppose it was a bit silly of me not the look at the extension, but still you must wonder why the author didn't go that extra mile and turn it into a Campaign. I'm not deducting points for this, but just don't let it catch you if you are reading this and are deciding to download it.
So, when you fire up the ol' scenario editor to give it a test, you should immediately notice problems. A bland map, poor triggers, and other things will meet your eyes. I advise to test it immediately, unless its visual shortcomings deter you.
You begin playing: the game starts with you, Shawn, fighting your evil brother Frankie (???) for the Kingdom of Thige. He is a Sieur de Metz hero, while you are a Long Swordsman. You do not stand a chance of victory. As soon as you collapse in a heap of gore and severed vitals, you are informed that you survived the battle, and have escaped to an island, where you plan revenge against Frankie. From then on, you must find your own why through the treacherous Scottish Isles, finding allies and enlisting them on your quest to overthrow your brother.
The game is very short -- It can be completed in just minutes. Wander around a desert island to find help, sail to an ally's island, stuff like that. I'm not saying its got poor playability, just that its far to short and simple.
This aside, there are some things which seem to have been put in just to irritate the player. When trying to get off the island, you find a Beserk who says that he will help you if you answer a riddle. This riddle is "select which class Thige originally came from." No more information was provided then that. What was I supposed to select? It was only by quitting and looking at the triggers did I discover that there were actually a collection of units at the bottom of the map -- and I was supposed to click the right one. The author could have made it a bit more clear. Some people dislike being led by the nose, but 95% of all the AoKers like CLEAR, EASY-TO-FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.
For this: I dispense a 3.
Balance is practically nil, the whole campaign is far too easy. I found myself battling more the bugs of the game then the enemy. Such as in the part where you are required to destroy all three of Frankie's castles. If you do not complete this objective in time, then your former ally turns to enemy and you lose control of the men he gave you. I was caught out by this (again) before I learned how the game plays. The author could at least had left a hint explaining that.
But other then that, it is very easy. Sieging Frankie's castle may sound challenging, but it isn't. You are provided with cannon galleons, which far outrange anything Frankie has. All he has to protect himself with is a couple of bombard towers, castles, and A SINGLE ARCHER. If he is now King of all of Thige, then you'd think he would have taken the time to build a navy and a proper army.
For this: I dispense a 2.
Uneasy Alliance invents no new concepts, but simply builds upon things done before it. Still, unlike most campaigns today, its on a water map. I don't remember the last time I played a sail-around scenario, where water is the main terrain (well, not since Robert Knight's "The Crusaders II"), so it was pretty original because of that.
But still, it still scores fairly low. Most of time you are simply sailing from one place to another on various errand.
For this: I dispense a 3.
In a word: lacking. Islands are ugly, grating, polygons. Varying terrain is nonexistant, and it generally looks like a tidy urban street that has been flooded then a real, living world. When forests are used, they are used to excess (a whole island entirely covered in forest) and the rest of the time, there is not a tree in sight. The design of cities is also very lacking. They are of a typical tower-behind-gate castle-behind-tower design.
For this: I dispense a 1.
Uneasy Alliance has a commendable storyline, which is one of the scenario's few redeeming features. The only problem I have is that everything just seems to fall into the character's lap. "Oh, hi Shawn. Take this boat and go to my village. They will help you". The scenario doesn't really need instructions, its so easy.
Also, the scene is set for a sequel. Will Shawn trust his brother, or his newfound allies? Well, the storyline means that I will download a sequel, if one is made.
For this: I dispense a 4.
Uneasy Alliance is overall a decent effort for a new scenario designer -- with some more perseverance this campaign (SCENARIO!!!) would have been a great addition to the blacksmith.
-Ideal for inexperienced players
-Far too easy