Posted on 01/19/17 @ 03:26 AM (updated 08/11/17
"Deliver us O Lord from the fury of the Northmen!"
||Build and Destroy
Norse longboats have been sighted on the ocean waves!
Take control of an isolated fishing village somewhere off the coast of Ireland, with limited technology, few resources and no immediate soldiers to call upon. You will have to make do with what is available to you. Battle-hardened Norse warriors are also on the prowl for your holy Christian relics and you will need to keep them safe if you are to secure victory.
Can you withstand the Norse raids?
- Classic build-&-destroy game play with numerous events progressing the story
- Multiple outcomes depending on decisions made in-game
- Plenty of atmosphere in this highly-detailed and unique ocean setting
- Military mechanic: train your villagers into soldiers when battle is upon you, then demobilise them back into the workforce to continue feeding the economy
- Over 30 custom sounds
- More than 300 triggers
- Custom AI
- Some difficulty-level-dynamic features
I hope you enjoy this scenario!
SETTINGS: Speed: Normal
Resolution: 1024 x 768
This file requires only the base game in the Conquerors to function but it works fine with Userpatch 1.4.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
"Wind of the North" depicts the story of an Irish fishing village which finds itself placed squarely in the path of viking invaders seeking plunder.
"Wind of the North" is the single most enjoyable scenario I've played in the months since coming back to AoC. The situation is that your peaceful island monastery falls squarely in the path of the onrushing viking invasion, which sees you desperately staving off fierce warriors with little more than the equipment of shepherds and the prayers of your priests. The challenging raids, superb map, and immersive environment contribute to create an immensely playable game.
The weight of forces between the well armed, savage vikings and the men of your peacefully village was well calculated;the player barely has enough to stave them off while never encountering a common problem of many B&D of power accumulation. Quite often when the player accumulates a large amount of either units or resources, the challenge falls off as the enemy AI cannot pose a threat to the player anymore. That wasn't the case in North Wind, as the the players force was limited by the need to balance economy with military expenses in men and resources in light of the low population, which makes sense for a monastery located near this remote island village and feels less arbitrary for it. Of course, the enemies being vikings would suggest an immediate naval supremacy, which is certainly the case here;the player can only defeat the enemies navy in small parts and cannot really prevent the AI transports from reaching their landing points. The player certainly never gets the feeling that defeat is some far off prospect, and the game presents a continuously intense challenge.
Naval invasions have long been a weakness of the AI, giving authors of viking raids style scenarios a struggle to overcome to provide a good game. This time around a combination of scripting and trigger work did well to create a set of fierce viking raids upon the player, and doing so with actual game mechanics, not just spawning troops on a beach or the like. Not only this, but an excellent composition of music and sounds did well to create an immersive environment lending a real sense of dread to the looming viking threat.
It was quite nice to see that even after the 1 hour mark the AI could keep up raids on the players base, as most AI opponents in B&D style games breakdown after a certain point. This is a combination of a carefully crafted base for the AI and a smart script, for which it seem HockeySam could receive part of the credit for. That takes nothing away from this scenarios excellent creativity, however, as many scenarios take input from others in various forms to become better. Finally, the ability to cripple the enemies force production by killing docks and military production facilities was a welcome sight. Although their economy, as it were, cannot be touched it's sufficient that their forces can be neutralized, which alleviates any concerns over the enemy receiving infinite spawns.
Featuring a combination of good gameplay elements, musical and sound effects, an excellent story with a compelling villain, great map design details that fit perfectly into the setting, with no asset being used and featured in the scenario that felt extraneous or out of place, the scenario brought together a good deal of elements that worked together to create a greater work. Therefore im going in for the full 5 in this category;great stuff!
Map Design 5
Players are greeted with a lovely view overlooking the ocean from some bluffs, where we glimpse a viking longship before hurrying back to the village. One of the first thoughts that struck me was relief at seeing the entire island lit up so that it was visible from the start;none of the usual stumbling around in the fog while a fast paced game was unfolding. The mapping at large was superb, with fine detailing at all points, with some excellent highlight materiel, such as the hermit's lighthouse, the monastery both on your island and the one held by the vikings, the opening scene itself, and even the village is quite nice, especially when you take into account the inherent conflict of combining both B&D gameplay and aesthetics into the same base. One thing that stands out is the use of rocks and vegetation on cliffs;these at no time look like they are floating haphazardly, but instead are immaculately crafted to flow down the cliff giving a real impression of actual elevation. The ocean itself is quite nice featuring very nice water mixing with carefully placed gaia objects creating a good illusion of increasing depth away from the shoreline.
The story of North Wind is a compelling one of the underdog peasants versus a ruthless band of warriors who care only about their plunder, mead, and other such viking pursuits. A well written and substantial story introduces us to the game, although this is best read with the ingame objectives menu and not squinting at the much smaller pregame intro screen. The hints were well written and comprehensive, leaving the player with no doubts or confusion as to how to play if needed, while the scouts report issued much of the same in a less spoiler-filled way so the player can forego the hints page and still play the game just fine if desired. As mentioned in the Creativity section, a carefully selected music and audio composition served to greatly increase the immersion, which combined with the fluid gameplay and challenging raids created it's own story of fighting off the Northmen.
Bornifast was a good villain despite having no special boss battles or mechanics of the sort, instead the player loathes this character for attempting (or managing!) to bully you into giving tributes of gold, after which he of course betrays you anyway. Giving this man a well-earned dirt nap was an enjoyable process even if he was killed as a normal AoC unit in ordinary combat.
Just a minor point, but it would been interesting to see what became of Cal, who seemed to disappear after the opening. There was an optional objective at the start to equip him at the armory, but there is nothing that differentiates him from another villager when sent to do this. Another little note that could have been improved on was showing the fate of the other monastery that was looted;there was room for cinematic, and even a message at one point about it, but we didn't seem to have been shown anything about it directly.
Final Thoughts: "Wind of the North" is a must play scenario, and makes an easy recommendation to download.
[Edited on 08/11/17 @ 09:43 PM]
Wind of the North is a small but creative scenario by Mashek depicting a Norse raid on a small Irish village. The scenario was originally intended as an entry to the 2016 Classic Design Contest but was not completed in time. Afterwards Mashek decided to finish the scenario and add more triggers due to the contests limited trigger rule.
Wind of the North was a very enjoyable scenario which implements a unique game mechanic and well written story and a pretty map to give the player an enjoyable experience fight the Norse raiders to protect the Irish village. The game calls for fierce micro-management of units having to use your villagers for gathering resources whilst being prepared to call them to arms at any point when the raiders land on Irish soil. The game was enjoyable and I did not discover and bugs or lags whilst playing. However, I felt that whilst I enjoyed the scenario alot, I wasn't particularly 'Wowed" by it and it was also quite short and simple.
The game was perfectly balanced and comes with its own difficulty dynamics. As previously stated the game involved fierce micro-management and the player has to be constantly aware of the islands shorelines. Tactical gameplay is a must as you have to deduce the perfect timings between using your units for resource gathering and combat. Ultimately while Wind of the North can be challenging due to your limited and basic soldiers, it is possible to win with the appropriate tactics.
Certainly the highlight of the scenario, Wind of the North comes with a unique game mechanic created by Mashek. The idea being that you must take your villagers to the armoury to train them as soldiers and then bring them back again after the fight to turn them back into villagers to continue gathering resources. Credit also needs to be given to HockeySam18 for creating the custom AI files which allow for the enemy to do naval invasions, something that has long been a weakness in the AI field. For such a small scenario there is a large library of sound files that come with it creating an amazing atmosphere for you to fall into whilst playing the game.
Map Design: 4
Wind of the North boast a pretty map design portraying a small Irish island which is home to a small and simple fishing village. The map has wonderfully designed shorelines and is definitely worth looking at as an excellent example of how to design small islands. One of the highlights of the map design is the cliff that surround some of the coast. The cliffs are unique in that Mashek has used rocks and vegetation to make them look even more realistic. While the island's coast is beautifully designed I felt like the central part was a bit too plain for my liking with some bits just being a mixture of grass that looked a bit boring.
Wind of the North has a compelling and well-written story. The story is a classic underdog tale of unsuspecting peasants having to take up arms to protect themselves from the fierce raiders from the north. While the story may be a bit cliched, it work well for the scenario and allows for a god atmosphere and helps make the scenario great. The instructions are also well-written and clear telling the player exactly what they need to do and the hints section does a good job at explaining the new mechanics of the gameplay.
Wind of the North is an excellent scenario. It's unique game mechanics make it a recommended download and gives us all something to learn from.
Well Done Mashek