Relics of the Wizards Preview
This is the first thing I have designed so any feedback would be appreciated. It is a short preview for my upcoming campaign, Relics of the Wizards. It involves small groups of powerful soldiers using strength and stealth to complete dangerous missions and discover the secrets of an ancient and powerful civilization.
This should be played on NORMAL speed.
Music: Requiem for a Tower, by London Music Works and Clint Mansell
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'Relics of the Wizards Preview' is a short cinematic scenario, introducing a so far yet unfinished campaign. However, at only a little over a minute long there is very little here to formulate and even less to expect from the upcoming campaign. With exceptions to the short file description above, we actually have hardly any inkling as to what's going on.
PLAYABILITY: I usually enjoy cut-scenes, but this was disappointing. After a minute and fifteen seconds the cinematic ends and I sit back and remark to myself how little I learnt about the story and furthermore the upcoming campaign. It was not so much as poorly-designed as it was short and leaving too much to be desired for my liking. What we see is a brief portal into a fantasy kingdom, and a few men making away with a relic from what I supposed as an enemy stronghold. I really couldn't tell. And that's it. What is this relic? Who is the protagonist? What of the ancient and powerful civilisation hinted at in the file description above? A strong story is, after all, the fundamentals of a good teaser; a story that grabs the viewer's interest and makes him want to know what happens next. While the teaser certainly fails in delivering any notion as to what the story is going to be about, it does however wield interesting and promising potential from a first-time designer, and I can commend the author trying to make the cinematic seem like a movie teaser complete with music. 1.0
BALANCE: For the most, the cinematic goes by too quickly or is even disorientated in how each scene progresses, leaving much to be desired in terms of storytelling and how it functions with what happens on-screen. On the whole the story requires further drafting and polishing in order to offer a complete viewing experience here. 2.0
CREATIVITY: There is little here to examine, but what bright spark pulsating through this cinematic is its use of music to correspond with the on-screen action, with fast movements and a sense of haste and emergency. Still too little trigger work and exploration of ideas and themes to fulfil the viewer. 2.0 -
MAP DESIGN: The map design features little anything in the way of a recognisable arena, such as a forest or town, and what we see are a few jumbled buildings, some trees and lots of open grass. The design lacks all terrain mixing and even some eye candy to compliment the surrounds. 2.0 -
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: It's really not so much a story as it is some action on screen and corresponding dialogue. Instructions are almost non-existent. 1.0
SUGGESTIONS: Even if only for a teaser, a good strong story should certainly form the foundation here. An example of a good teaser that literally leaves the viewer thirsting for more would be 'the Watchman of Hermiston' by Aftermath. Look it up through the Blacksmith search function. It's not only a great watch but you really care for what happens on-screen.
CONCLUSION: I'm afraid this review might come out as being a little harsh but after all reviews are there to help designers and potential downloaders alike. I hope the author of this design might find something useful from this review.
An overall poor effort, but still not too bad considering this is the designer's first submission. My advice to the author of the file would be to continue to play files from the 'Best of' section here at the Blacksmith, but also to continue designing. Practice makes perfect.
In a sentence - Leaving much to be desired.
In closing - I do not recommend this download.
[Edited on 10/03/12 @ 07:41 PM]
I am reviewing this mainly because, after having played it, I feel the score it has at the moment from the addition of the two earlier reviews is not realistic and it needs to be further balanced.
This particular cut-scene scenario isn't one that you will want to watch again, short as it is. Even though it showcases some of the creator's skills as far as triggers are concerned, it also shows his limits in that area, and it fails to really catch one's interest, which is really sad because this is a teaser's main purpose. I wish I could say I am looking forward to the promised campaign, but I'm really not.
Examined from the technical side, the cutscene didn't have major flaws, but didn't have any notable accomplishments either. To tell the truth, it is a little bit too short to really be criticized or praised, it was over before I really understood what was happening, so we can barely even talk about the "flow" or the "pace" or anything like that. The choice of music wasn't necessarily bad for a fast pace but the rest of the scenario didn't live up to it. The triggerwork was mediocre and things like the enemy soldiers instantly dying without being touched by their opponents didn't do much to save the general impression, which is that of a scenario made in a rush, in a few hours, with no attention to detail.
Neither the triggerwork nor the (non-existent) narration, nor the map design did anything to elevate this score. The only way for such a short cinematic to get a high score in creativity would be to have something really mind-blowing happening in the few seconds that it runs. It did not happen.
Map Design: 2
Very poor map design. The map looks unfinished, or rather barely started. There is no eye candy (which is very important in cut-scenes in my opinion, because atmosphere is the most important thing in such scenarios), no attention given to the terrain, almost no elevation.
The instructions weren't really important in this particular case. However, the story is basically non-existant for the whole duration of the cutscene. An anonymous guy finds an anonymous relic and then joins his anonymous companions to run away from some anonymous enemies. Needless to say, this doesn't exactly arouse one's interest. The only hints as to the backstory of the whole thing are given in the victory text, which it is almost as general as the rest of the cinematic, and only provides us with the name of the country in which "stuff" will happen.
A few suggestions: if this is your first scenario then you shouldn't feel discouraged by this kind of feedback. You could use the basic structure of this cutscene as the base for a better one, there is a lot of room for improvement. To sum it up, a lot more attention to detail is required in all areas (map design, story, trigger work) to get a better score and to really grab people's interest for your coming campaign.