The Swallowed Realm: Chapter Three
CHAPTER THREE: PURPLE RAIN--
||Role Playing Strategy
The Swallowed Realm continues off of course where SR2 left of. Of course I will not say much about the story..for that would spoil it.
STORY:Now that Yrdsil has...dissappeared..Tijis and Davub wait in the small town of Isun. Where they wait to hear from their savior..Fresin. But..let not your eyes and mind be tricked by what you think is fact. For not everything is what it seems...
Talk=Click: Many units that can speak
Entering homes: By clicking on buildings that have flag beside them, you may enter them.
RGU System: A Random Generate Unit System...small in this scenario..it will be used more as SR progresses.
A custum made sound track: In sorts, I made this, but in ways, I did not. You will just have to play to understand
Large Scale Battles:Time based battles...against large armies.
Many other things
I hope you enjoy this scenario as much as I did making it. Which was hard...and rather tedious at times.
The Credits are in the Read Me.
AoKasino, Scn Punk
The story starts in The Swallowed Realm and develops further in The Swallowed Realm Chapter 2
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Shadows explores and re-explores both exciting new elements and tried and true old ones in his fantastic third chapter for the swallowed realms campaign. He incorporates his unique map design and signature elements with some fresh ideas and a novel storyline to create a challenging, fun campaign that leaves the player yearning for the next installment.
With regard to playability: I was a little irritated either at my computer or at whatever bug in the scenario caused it to crash every time I reloaded it. This did nothing to lower the playability score, as it probably has more to do with my computer, but I was frustrated enough about it to write it here.
On the whole the scenario is both exciting and captivating; however, a certain element seemed a little unpolished near the end. As a player that has played many of shadows's games, I became accustomed to the "click to continue" and "click to end" style of dialogue. Late in the scenario the "click to end" fizzled out, leaving me thinking about whether I should stay or leave.
The randomly generated unit engine was a novel approach and something that added depth and excitement to the game. Having cleared the road once, a player does not usually expect to see it blocked again. I commend shadows on this idea.
The only other problem with playability were some grammatical errors and spelling mistakes - the amounts of which were fairly low, but nevertheless high enough to make their presence felt.
The faults in playability were minor
The scenario was very challenging: so much so that one of the sidequests was undoable for a moderate scenario player of my quality. Perhaps there was something of a puzzle to it (that may have had something to do with the capped rams?) but I tried many things and never got to do it.
Apart from this single lapse, the rest of the scenario was perfectly balanced. Players beware: save frequently and judiciously!
Shadows put forward a number of great ideas in this scenario: the RGU for one, and also the idea of a "field". So often scenario designers rely on the linear storyline: it was really refreshing for shadows to have used this in his scenario. I look forward to designers everywhere using expanding this approach.
Apart from the new ideas, shadows also incorporated some interesting elements such as the "ombto" - wooden ship carcasses that just floated in the moat around Palador. They were really neat and I was waiting all the time for them to do something.
The use of sound was quite effective and a pleasant bonus.
The bottom line is that I wish I could give chapter 3 a higher creativity mark - but 5 is the highest I can go.
Shadows created detailed, flowing terrain that never got boring. His map is pleasant and picturesque while at the same time quite realistic - as realistic as a fantasy world in which elves, trolls, dwarves, and orcs live can be. I can only say that he left nothing to be desired in his map design.
The storyline and instructions are, as always, nothing less than outstanding. Shadows throws us twists and sudden developments while giving the player clear and detailed instructions and explanations to all the novel concepts in his scenario.
I strongly recommend anybody to download and play this scenario and judge for yourselves the third chapter of what I see to be one of the best campaigns to date.
This is one of the best scenarios I've ever played. So download after you read this review.
The Playability in this scenario was very good. The events through the scenario kept you playing, and the little subquests are well thought out. Some of the subquests don't even give you anything, but you don't know until you've gone through them all. For this, a 5 is due.
The Balance is pretty good too, with each of your characters having no ranged attack, which means that you can't just stand back and pepper the opposition with arrows. But on the other hand, some of the randomly generated units are just too hard to beat, especially the arbalests that are at one river crossing. This is only thing that stops it getting a 5.
For creativity, Shadows has excelled himself once again. The click-talk trick works fine as usual, and the meeting scene at the start of the game is inspired. I also like the way a lot of units have changed names. This gives it another 5.
The map design is flawless, like Shadows' other maps. It makes good use of Gaia units, like flowers and haystacks, and the varied terrain looks beautiful. Another 5.
The story and instructions are great, although I'm giving this a 4 because of the numerous typos throughout the scenario. I hope that, by the next episode, this standard will have been raised.
OK, now to business. Download it.
EDITED REVIEW OF THE SWALLOWED REALM chapter 3
"Purple Rain" is a single scenario, a RPS. It is the third part of the unfinished three-set Swallowed Realm Series. After crossing the great wall Yrdsil, Davub and Tijis found out that General Hade is a traitor, collaborating with the Orcs. As the prophecies told, known to the protector of the caller, the later was send to prison with his friends. Fresin was too late to help his protégé, as Yrdsil had disappeared and the purple moon rose to power. After a narrow escape Fresin invites Davub and Tijis to his near by home village.
PLAYABILITY: The first in game message says transport is full and my computer crashed to the desktop whenever I went directly to load saved game, apart from that it was very enjoyable and a lot of fun in the beginning, it had everything for a great scenario, fantastic map design, captive story, superb creativity and a good balance until Palador. Later it became boring, an unintended outcome with two short cuts. From Palador I went north, as the instructions told, got healed at Isum, headed north along the river and passed a maze; shallows lead to the other side of the river and the edge of the wood brings you to fog forest, as being told in the in game instructions. Fog forest has another short cut, avoiding four wolves, which allows you to get to the end of the campaign right away, the monk tells to go back to Palador from where you’re send into another wood with wolves and you won. Of course I reloaded from Palador, but it was not fun playing snow forest with only deer, hidden on trail which was a bit easy and bamboo forest with wolves again, after you won already. There is another bug at Palador, whenever I boarded the rams, the picture became dark and I had to restart. I guess they are for the tower trail, which is impossible to achieve without them. Apart from the above, minor flaws, like having to restart after you garrison in a tower to heal or Saban being stuck in the woods on the other side of the river, is affecting the playability. 3
BALANCE: A strong category for this scenario, challenging, with the required reloads, asking for micromanagement and tactics. The random generated units were ingenious, the ones at the river crossing were beatable after few reloads if the player arrived with all upgrades from outside the field, but frustrating yet winnable if you missed some. A lot of effort went into balancing the scenario and this part was well play tested. 5
CREATIVITY: Undoubtedly the creativity is high, the fantastic map design, the variations in hiding upgrades, great cut-scene battles and a good story. I especially liked the random generated units in the field. The quests were too repetitive for the highest rating; there were wolves to fight at the ruins, wolves to fight on the way to Palador, wolves to fight at bamboo forest, wolves to fight at fog forest and wolves to fight at the end scene, leaving the war zone. 4
MAP DESIGN: The map design was the strongest part of this campaign. Good design of landscape and towns, like Isum and Palador, which is called the multi-species city and explains the mixture of people from three continents in that region. Even the ruins are a feast for the eyes, Gaia is well used, without being totally overloaded and the design is as realistic as you can get. Still the best designs can be critiqued. There were too many “OMTBO” shipwrecks and when I read the introduction screen about the dying grass and fleeing animals I expected a different design, less flowers, deer and forage bushes. 5
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: Good, interesting story, but Purple Rain does not work as a stand up alone scenario, the player should download the other chapters first to get into the story. You get some helping hints, a bitmap, which was used for chapter 1 and 2 already and clear instructions in the beginning. There was this misleading information, to head north right away, which led to all the confusion. This, spelling errors and a lack of in game instructions prevent from giving a higher score. 4
OVERALL: The "last" chapter of an unfinished story.
OBSERVATIONS: The above review is an edited version of my review posted 2002-03-08. In the original review I knocked off one point of the balance score, because the scenario is too easy, winnable with only the upgrades from outside the field. "... The perfect Balance was fog forest, because I only had the upgrades from outside the field. In the end I had always the less wounded go front and one or two wolves more; there would have been no shortcut." This was the text from my original review, there are not one or two, there are even four wolves more! Another, a second shortcut right opposite of the forests entrance makes you miss the beasts. Some forgotten trees to place and the player cuts the curve, which is playability, but not a balance issue.
SUGGESTIONS: The tower trail could add to playability, creativity and balance, especially as there is not much challenge at hidden on trail, the maze and at snow forest. The rams could be just Gaia units, auto destroyed by an area trigger beyond the entrance of the tower trail and north of the Palador gate if they should not be used for other quests than the tower trail. Have something at the maze, like a mysterious person or a building with a hint. Maybe you should get rid of the shallows across the river in the north, but place at least some trees into fog forest to avoid the short cut to the end with only few upgrades. In general you develop RPG/RPS instructions with the game. You have to guide the player from one quest to the other in a certain order if you don’t want shortcuts like described above. Give at the castle just a general information about the forest without direction, one guard says "welcome", the other “visit our snow forest just opposite from here”, from there should be a hint to hidden trail and somebody on the way asks to get rid of the towers. To play the entire campaign you have to do three downloads, provided you know they exist and it takes some time, bring the three scenarios into one .cpx which would be more user friendly, reduce lag, fix also chapter 1 and tell us the end of the story please.
IN CLOSING: If you did not play ID 353 ID 412 yet, you should play them first, not to miss the fantastic story, great game play and challenging experience. I also recommend the four chapters (three downloads) of Shadowmind of the same author, they are entertaining, challenging; have a very special atmosphere and a great, complete story; a must have.