Posted on 04/19/14 @ 05:28 PM (updated 04/28/14
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This is the sequel to Gwyndlegard, its bastard child/spin-off The Epic Adventures of Marvin & Rob, and The Rockspring Revolution. If you haven't played either of them, you might still enjoy this campaign, but the story will make more sense if you play them in the right order!
• A 7 scenarios long campaign!
• Various gameplay styles: pure B&D, Fixed Force, one-on-one boss fights and stealth missions.
• Extensive modding: around 400 new units (soldiers, buildings, eye-candy and other stuff) made uniquely for this campaign.
• An epic in the literal sense of the word - quite likely bigger in gameplay hours than "Gwyndlegard" and "The Rockspring Revolution" combined!
• Emphasis, as usual, on the storyline, humour and atmosphere, although I try to spruce it up with new ideas for gameplay as well!
• A vastly expanded Gwyndlegard universe,
• Music from a wide range of composers, including Ramin Djawadi, Howard Shore, Russell Shaw and Kevin MacLeod.
• A grand conclusion to the Gwyndlegard trilogy!
• Insivible flying bananas!
This campaign starts right where The Rockspring Revolution left off. Our hero Immanuel returns to his home province of Gwynhill, and his soon-to-be-wife Emily. Immanuel longs for peace and quiet, and the opportunity to finally marry his beloved girlfriend, and for a short while it looks as if his dreams will come true. But a campaign isn't very interesting if it's all peaceful and quiet, is it?
Out in the ocean, at a top-security prison, five iron-clad, monstrous ships show up at the horizon. They blast a hole in the wall of the prison, and its most dangerous prisoner escapes. Xaphira, the former Queen of Xioché, is on the loose.
The news travel swiftly to Gwynhill, and the local priest and recovering alcoholic Father Garnas is very troubled by it. For the past two years he has been studying an artifact that was used in the war against Xaphira (as seen in "Gwyndlegard"), The Relic of the Rock, and he has made some astonishing discoveries. He believes that it is one of the four Relics of Athalën, immensely powerful artifacts created by the ancient king Athalën, the man who founded and ruled the Old Kingdom for a thousand years. Father Garnas fears that Xaphira knows of the relic, and that she is coming to Gwynhill to get it. He thinks that she too knows of the power of the four relics: that with them you can shape the world completely as you wish to see it, and possibly live forever. And indeed he is right, and Xaphira comes as a thief in the night and snatches The Relic of the Rock away.
It is now up to you, as Immanuel, to make sure Xaphira doesn't get her hands on all four of the relics.
Gates of the Old Kingdom | An army has amassed | An indoors scene | Up on a rooftop | Into Xioché | A peaceful monastery | Bigass Castle | An abandoned city | A faraway village | Naval action | A quick stop in Arthalien | A monument in the mountains | Mountain stream | Abandoned mineshaft
This campaign requires the 1.0c patch for The Conquerors to work. It is also, from what I hear, incompatible with the UserPatch.
This campaign is brought to you by StormWind Studios!
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From the installation guide:
"1. Create backups of the following files, somewhere on your computer where you will remember you have them:
* language_x1.dll (found in the main AoE2 directory, normally "C:\\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II")
* empires2_x1_p1.dat (found in the DATA folder in the main AoE2 directory)
* gamedata_x1_p1.drs (found in the DATA folder in the main AoE2 directory)
2. Extract the four subfolders (Campaign, AI, SOUND & DATA) straight into the main AoE2 directory (make sure you have the "Use folder names" option selected under the "Unzip options" tab.
Extract the files in this .zip to their corresponding subfolder in the main AoE2 directory;
* The file in the "Campaign" folder goes to "C:\\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II\Campaign"
* The files in the "Ai" folder go to "C:\\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II\AI"
* The files in the SOUND/scenario folder go to "C:\\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II\SOUND\scenario"
* The files in the DATA folder go to "C:\\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II\DATA"
3. Extract the "language_x1.dll" file straight into the main AoE2 directory, along with any other files you want to keep
4. Open up Age of Empires II: The Conquerors, go to the "Custom Campaign" tab under the "Single Player" section, and start playing the campaign!
5. If you want to remove the mod, simply copy the backups you made in step 1 and paste them back into the DATA folder and the main AoE2 directory correspondingly. Remember that you cannot play the campaign without the mod installed, however."
Thx. I have seen the teaser and part 1, looks absolutely amazing!
Every map related on Lord Basse is awesome :D.
I don't know how such a masterpiece like this hasn't been reviewed yet... Maybe this review won't be enough for such a campaign, but I'll try to summarize what I want to say (I'm not a fluent speaker :/).
PLAYABILITY: 6 (if I could :p)
I really have no adjective to describe the awesomeness of the experience I had when I was playing this... I think fun is the main criteria from this instalment, and rightfully so, really, it's the most fun custom campaign I've ever played (unless I'm much wrong).
The addition of a mod changed this pack from "another Gwyndlegard's sequel" to "the final and by far the best part of the saga".
Despite the laggy cinematic (first scenario), the campaign ran very smoothly and almost flawlessly (just some minor bugs here and there). The graphics were also very well made and (more than) worth your download.
BALANCE: 6 (5)
Perfect, just perfect. I saw no impossible part nor too-easy parts... All the challenges were funny and interesting enough to be completed. I also saw many creative outcomes to equalize both forces (yours and the enemy's).
There is one special thing I'd want to highlight, and it's the final boss-battle(s) - They're really the best ones I've ever seen so far, while also being precisely balanced.
I wouldn't call this just a campaign, but a whole new game!
Despite the story seeming to be full of cliches and following the standard "Good vs. Evil" line, it has its own touch of oneness... I really liked the way you told the story, almost like a movie, with no sloppy parts nor akward scenes.
I also really enjoyed the ending, in which Ori reveals to be Athalen himself, I haven't even realized this until I saw it. The little revelation scenes between the scenarios also helped to keep me curious, and making me want to blast throught it as fast as I could.
Ori could have been many possible characters, but you've chosen exactly the best one (according the storyline, of course). He could have just been a bad guy, who just battles with you after Xaphira, or perhaps just revealed himself to be part of her henchmen; or be just the good guy who escapes along with you. In my opinion this was the best moment and best point of the story.
MAP DESIGN: 5
I'm still impressed by the maps' beauty and richness... It's still pleasing to rewatch all their details. I can't even imagine the effort you took to made those seven, I mean, you've had the care to decorate and spruce seven large maps, and (almost) every one with towns, villagers, camps, etc...
The new graphics also helped a lot to increase the realism level of the scenarios, without taking much effort to create ridiculously complicated things (like using AOKTS to change objects POS then copying and pasting them several times). Not to mention the great use of jungle trees and rocks you found!
I also saw no overuse of anything (even the own objects from your mod)!
As I've mentioned previously, the story is not the strongest point from this campaign... The gameplay is.
While not being fully original/bold story, it's still a good one, packed with an impecable storytelling. What I saw is that you sacrificed it a little bit to optimize the playability... For example, without magic and all this b*llshit, you would have never been able to include all those epic boss-battles like you did, or even some whole scenarios based on events that can only be explained by such things.
On the other hand, (in my opinion) it will never be a much serious nor dark story (like the one from Ulio, Blood of the bear and etc). It's a typical fantasy-blockbuster story, written to enable greater enjoyment and fun when playing it. It's not a bad point after at all, it's just not as good as the others.
If I could, I would give a 6 to this campaign, because it's so exceptional, and maybe be a one-time-thing. This is a perfect example of a well-suceeded saga, which suffers a huge change on its third instalment... Really, it's very rare to see a non-sucky third instalment of anything.
A MUST download for anyone who likes a solid gameplay pack with action and fun. Don't think twice before pressing the download button... Also, I don't know how it's got only 220 downloads :/
Well, anyone who didn't download this will be losing simply the best AOK campaign ever made (except in story)!!
[Edited on 04/24/17 @ 08:49 PM]
Many thanks for the review, Rewaider! I'm particularily glad you liked the twist at the end, I was rather uncertain what people would think of it!
Wow, it's the hugest review I've ever made :D
OBS: Some grammar/spelling errors corrected.
Something really weird happens to me: The game crashes when I load the 6th scenario, even before the instructions screen.
It turns out that I have AoE2 both in its old version (in my Laptop) and in its HD version (in my house’s main computer), so when I play that scenario it crashes when I save or reload that scenario.
How can I solve this?
As I commented on YouTube: The HD crash is one I'm currently struggling with as I try to port the campaign to AoK:HD. The other one is completely new to me, though, and I don't recall any of my playtesters running into it... I'll see if I can come up with something. In the meantime, I guess you could try extracting the scenario from the .cpx file and play it through the editor, if nothing else works. You can do that using the Campaign Manager, which you can download here:
Now, I'm not sure this will fix the problem, but it's worth a try; your problem sounds like a random bug, and those tend to pop in and out of existence if you change the way you play the scenario even slightly, so playing it through the editor *could* work!
Fantastic work Lord Basse. Your campaigns just continue to get better, and especially at a time where perhaps fewer and fewer people are designing, your incredible work with modding breathes new life into the game. So many of your additions only appear at one point, but add so much subtle elegance to your campaigns. There were many times where I was just floored. At risk of a few spoilers, I want to mention in particular some of the most astounding parts.
Scenario 1: The prison escape blew my mind. When the wall burst and you had created an image of a ship behind it? So elegant. Really exciting.
Scenario 2: Making each of enemy castles special was a really elegant touch. You turned a common situation I find in campaigns (use your post-imperial army to steamroll everyone else) into a fantastically bloody siege with your determined AI and the novel addition of the anti-siege towers. The final battle at the castle we could climb was very beautiful (I wish I could have attacked more castles like that!) and the moving temple was a great final touch. Introducing the unique halberders as persistent enemies was another fantastic touch to give our enemy's army a bit more personality.
Scenario 3: For me, this scenario was a bit weak; I'm not a huge fan of underground scenarios (personally, I feel like the Fury of Rastolf is one of the few to have done it right, although your Scenario 7 was great; more on that later) and the demons were repetitive and quite annoying. The boat at the end was beautiful, and it was cool to gain a wizard with such a distinctive attack
Scenario 4: I loved this one; a little homage to your old 'Defend the Island' games. Without a doubt the best one yet though. The island was gorgeous with those green hills. I'm always impressed by the little touches you add in that don't even need to be there; the SS Independence firing using broadsides, the addition of a unique unit to the Yellowsides to give them some character. The gameplay was frantic and very enjoyable.
Scenario 5: Not quite as incredible as Scenario 1 but there were still some cool bits; I loved the inside of the ship and the fire effects on the enemy boats. I sometimes find your stories a bit hokey (no offence) but I actually really enjoyed your use of mysterious flashbacks. Good setting.
Scenario 6: Probably my favourite of the campaign; this map is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen in AoK. The jungle felt so mysterious and real, and somehow the camps springing up around ruins made me feel like I was playing as Indiana Jones or something. I had a tiny bug here (the supply dock didn't ever stop supplying Xaphira despite me killing its staff and destroying the tower); didn't really effect anything. The graveyard area, the city at the end, and that amazing huge ruin were all of particular note for beauty. I really enjoyed Xaphira's flying and how it reveals us the countryside. After the fantastic thrills of the Scenario 2, I think I expected a bit more fire from Xaphira as I attacked her camp; it was a tiny bit underwhelming, but that's a minor detail. Very beautiful map and enjoyable gameplay.
Scenario 7: This one really nailed gorgeous indoor scenes; the room with the abyss and levitating statue is of particular note. I've never been a huge fan of AoK boss fights (I absolutely appreciate the work that goes into them, it just seems like the wrong gamestyle for them) but these ones were worth it just to watch the beautiful effects you were using. The burning fire spirits, the gorgeous mirrors, water attacks; personally, I don't enjoy the boss fight gameplay, but the aesthetics were absolutely incredible. Well done. The final escape had a perfect musical accompaniment and I loved the decision to split the thrilling run with the big reveal; a very wise story telling move that made it a lot more exciting. You also didn't drag on the happy ending; ended well. Lovely.
All in all, I just want to thank you again for this fantastic contribution to the AoK community. I have enjoyed your previous work but this one was truly a masterpiece. It's incredible how much work you must have put in but it shows and was well worth it.
Thanks for the comment, Thomas! I'm really glad you enjoyed the campaign and all the modded elements, particularly as you were one of the people who gave the most constructive criticism after Gwyndlegard was released!
In retrospect, scenario 3 could probably have been beefed up a bit, and made longer. I still like it the way it is, with a rather unique survival system for the underground, but I do agree there could've been a bit more variation when it comes to the obstacles.
I think you're the first to mention the "Defend the Island" homage, actually, although I think a few people who have been around for a while will have noticed! The island in the first Defend the Island scenario was called Greenside, for one thing... ;)
As for my stories being a bit hokey, I certainly take no offence at that, I often find myself cringing tremendously when I look back at some of my scenarios (a few from 2008 in particular come to mind)! I created the majority of the storyline for RoA (save for Ori's story and the backstory for the Old Kingdom) around the same time I began designing Gwyndlegard, i.e. in 2008 when I was fifteen: that alone should explain a lot! But apart from that, I do tend to stick to rather simple stories and characters when it comes to designing scenarios in AoK, partly out of habit, and partly because I tend to do more world-building than actual story-telling. If I ever embark on another big project, I will quite likely try to make the story a bit more complex and a tad less cliched, though!
Personally I've really enjoyed boss fights in scenarios where they are really well done, like in Tsubasa's Tale, and I definitely tried to create something similar here, but with the addition of a few dozen modded objects. Basically, I thought Xaphira (and the entire trilogy) deserved to go out with a big bang, and the Relics of AthalÃ«n had to be put to proper use one last time! I think it's a matter of personal taste, though.
It's also good to hear you liked the music in the final escape, as there were some disagreement over whether it fit or not, and I decided to stick to it anyway. ;)
All in all, thanks a lot for the comment, and all the compliments! I'm really glad you enjoyed the campaign!
[Edited on 05/08/14 @ 02:57 PM]
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