Posted on 12/09/12 @ 01:53 PM (updated 12/18/12
The year is 1571, and all of Europe is in peril. The Ottoman Empire continues its war on Christendom with recent offensives against the Venetian city of Famagusta, the island of Malta controlled by the Knights of St. John, and the Kingdom of Hungary. The staunch defense of Hungary by the armies of Christendom has held back the flood of Turks swarming towards the heart of Europe...for now.
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While the Turkish armies on the mainland regroup, their massive navy bombards Cyprus, meaning to "deprive the Venetians of an arm" as Mehmed Sokollu put it. Turkish galleys ferry hundreds of troops to Cyprus and Malta, preparing for vast amphibious assaults. If these lands are captured by the Turks, the doorway will be open for naval incursions into Western Europe.
This is a teaser for my upcoming campaign. It is mostly cutscene, with a decently sized playable segment as well, leading up to the choice of characters to play as.
Please play on "Normal" speed, or dialogues may overlap or flash by too quickly.
All feedback and suggestions, critiques, etc are greatly appreciated and will definitely help improve the scenario's development. Enjoy!
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Lepanto- 1571 AD- Teaser is an introduction to Hockeysam's new project. It is a very well done and engrossing game with both cinematic and playable sections, lasting somewhere around an hour.
The game is a combination of cutscenes and playable parts. I have to say that the playable ones are sensibly more enjoyable, and I guess one of the most important reasons why the cutscene part falls a little short is the lack of a soundtrack. The battle scene in the beginning definitely needed one, it would have seriously increased the dramatism of the battle. On to the positives, the playable part was greatly enjoyable for the most part. The first one (the defence of Malta) was pretty challenging, but with a little bit of micromanagement and logical thinking it shouldn't be a big problem for any kind of gamer, even the clumsy ones (like me). There is one slight problem in the end - If you're left with few troops and the ten minutes of "resistance" pass, you will witness a cutscene wherein your hero speaks about victory, but the turks will continue to ransack your fortress and kill all your troops without you being able to intervene. This doesn't kill the game, it just makes it look awkward. I recommend that you remove all turkish units after the ten minutes are gone (by making them retreat to the bottom of the screen, to make it look more realistic - after all , there is a chatline that says they are fleeing!
In Rome, at the meeting which I assume is indoors, the knights are mounted. This is nitpicking, but I couldn't help but notice these small problems. Also, the teutonic knight wasn't renamed into Konrad.
The road to Germany was fun mostly because I was dying for some action at that point. Even though I like dialogues, some of the dialogue in between getting to Rome and starting the condontierro journey was a little bit too much. I like your writing a lot, but perhaps some of it could be shortened, especially for that particular segment of gamers that prefers action to speeches. Also, when displaying dialogue, it would be better for you to choose only one way to do it for consistency (either it goes to the other line automatically or you have to click on a unit for it to continue, but you had both methods used in the same scenario). Again, this is nitpicking, but will give a bit more unity to your final version of the scenario and subtle details do make a difference.
All in all, the playability factor is pretty nice, but could be brought up.
I really think that up until here you have really nailed the balance. The defend-the-spot segment was challenging and exciting, but not frustrating. The next part with the bandits was good as well. Let us see how the rest of the scenario would be like, but if you keep the balance this way it will be just fine... Maybe increase challenging towards the latter parts of the game, and adding level dynamic difficulty would of course be a nice touch.I'm not aware if you did, but it didn't appear so.
I can't say there was anything really innovative about the scenario gameplay-wise, it's well-known territory throughout, but the way you tell the story is really interesting and captivating. I think storytelling will be the main attraction of your campaign and you should focus on that, and if you combine it with a nice gameplay, it will be great. You did set up a nice "historical" atmosphere and the real world map is a nice touch too. It's also very interesting to have such an important moment in history told through the eyes of one more or less simple man, rather than royalty or commanders.
Map Design: 4+
I wanted to give this a 5, but preferred to give you something to improve upon, because some parts of the map looked splendid, like the Italian farmlands, while other parts looked a little off, for instance the depiction of the tavern, which was supposed to be indoors wasn't that convincing (granted, indoor is pretty difficult to pull off in AOK without modding). I liked the meeting place with the Pope, elevation was used to good effect there. Cities look good too, but maybe sometimes there's too much map copying of the same building, the area where I've noticed this the most is the cathedral in Rome surrounded by churches, which looked pretty weird to me. Also, the gothic and byzantine cathedrals put together didn't seem to fit each other.
Real world map does come with a price, Sicily would have never been that crowded an island :) but that's more nitpicking from me and doesn't really affect the score I've given, since it doesn't appear in the playable part of the scenario and you can only see it by marco polo means.
As I said, I think the story is the highlight of your game, and I am looking forward to see it develop. I've already mentioned in the playability section the need to maybe shorten some of the dialogues, to keep the scenario at a decent pacing. Other than that , it's great. The instructions are also more than effective and give the player all the information needed.
Well done on a very promising start! I hope this review will be useful for your further designing endeavor, and I wish you best of luck.
This is a very recommended download and one you're not likely to regret if you like story driven fixed force/rpg/rps games.