The Invaders is a short cut-scene detailing the bloody and exhaustive conflict between the Carthaginians and the Romans sometime in the Third Century BC, the time when the Carthaginians had invaded Roman territory in Italy.
I quite enjoyed this cut-scene. It was fun to watch and interesting. The battle scenes were well conveyed, and the terrain was great to look at. The story was perhaps more interesting to me overall though because it is something that I had not yet seen in the Blacksmith, the notion of the Carthaginians fighting the Romans. However I did not find the cut-scene as enjoyable as it could have been. My experience and enjoyment would have been better met if there had have been more to the story, more to the historical event as the event itself is very important. It was at a time when Carthage was the next power to challenge Rome, the next real threat to the Roman Empire. It was a time when the Romans had actually truly feared another country. The story seemed to be building up to something, but there simply was no climax, I could not see this cut-scene taking us anywhere. A few times the story hinted at Carthage as being a great power, one that would threaten Rome’s harmony, but I did not at all during this cut-scene feel that Carthage was at all a power, a threat to Rome. It needed more emphasis. Also, I could not see the Roman victory being at a great “expense” as in the cut-scene the Romans won with a great many men left. The story simply needed to evolve more, to have more scenes. I also felt that the cut-scene could do with some better historical facts to make for not only a more entertaining scenario, but an educational one at that too where people can learn a thing or two from it. As it stands I did not learn anything from it, and this may not be the cut-scene’s purpose, but even the facts can factor into enjoyment and entertainment. Overall the cut-scene falls short of something exceptional, and ranks as something more in line with that at which is just all about the killing. The short lead up to the battle and the battle itself were quite poorly carried out, but still quite interesting nonetheless. I saw the Romans brake ranks and charge disorderly and the Carthaginian army charge all to the one area, which did not look so good. Better to have the Carthaginian army charge to respective positions at the Roman lines. Though I was not at all thrilled during view, I did see great potential for a good historical cut-scene that needs just a little bit of work extra to be all the more enjoyable.
When rating this category, reviewers must take into account the author’s intentions and goals of the design. It is in the intention of the author that this scenario evolves plot and story, and to show a cut-scene whereby the player receives no units to control and no struggle to survive. As such there is no deduction from the overall score because there is no fighting for the player.
Disappointingly there was not at all that much creativity in this cut-scene. I saw an impressive depiction of the interior of a ship, the view rocking back and forth to convey the crashing of the barge against the sea. I witnessed the Carthaginian armies set anchor on the Italian coastline and a massive, bloody battle to round it all off, but nothing exactly creative. There was very little renaming, very little necessities to factor into creativity. Also, what really turned me off was the use of pre set map revealers that annoyingly blink green on ownership. In addition you will see Carthaginian armies clash against the Roman lines, Roman reinforcements surround the Carthaginians and a Phyrric Victory for the Romans at the days end, a victory at great cost.
Map Design: (4.0)
The map design was overall good to say the least. The author certainly has a handle of terrain mixing and Gaia to further enhance the beauty and detail of his design. The use of dirt and grass is well mixed and with leaves and trees in between making for a realistic and well-presented touch. The setting of the terrain is realistic for Italy, a dry, harsh backdrop forming the fields of battle and of hills and beaches. Rocks, plants, flowers and things like Roman ruins give a nice touch to the land, adding story and a good sense of theme, a good touch of detail to avoid boringness and conformity. However in more than one area did I encounter terrain that fell short of the standard that I had witnessed in the other parts of the design. The beach for example could do with less, more varied hills and a greater attention to the mixing of the dirt and desert itself. On the battlefield there were several signs which in itself is unrealistic, and some dabs of grass 2 which should be removed as it is out of place and also unrealistic for the area since the rest of the terrain is rather dry. On top of that the Roman fort seemed poor with an unrealistic hill in the centre of it and with randomly placed buildings. In conclusion excellent use of elevation, good terrain mixing and use of Gaia, but the standard simply fluctuated too much to be given an overall perfect rating in this category. A job well done nonetheless.
Story/ Instructions: (4.0) -
The story was reasonable, but I felt it did not go anywhere. It built up some expectation and was suddenly cut off. This is perhaps the worst part of the cut-scene since naturally the story is the main part of a cut-scene. We watch a cut-scene to see a story unravel, usually to raise expectations of a further sequel, but this cut-scene is more a movie, a movie because it is on its own, not a prologue introducing a campaign. It is simply a single story, and I felt that because this is so the story, being the main aspect of the cut-scene, would need to be thorough and fulfilling. In this case it is not, it unravels, but does not finish, rather is cut off leaving it open for a further sequel. This is my underlying reason for giving this category a minus, basically a deduction of half a mark. In Instructions there is an interesting and well-written story immediately introducing us to the side of the Carthaginians, and soon the Romans, but is perhaps too brief than what it should be. In addition good instructions with cut-scene setting recommendations and some good dialogue from the perspective of a narrator. I encountered a few spelling mistakes. “Vicory” should be Victory, “cutscene” should be cut-scene and “Phalnaxes” should be Phalanxes.
In a word – Reasonable.
In closing – A recommended download for classical history enthusiasts.
[Edited on 07/02/08 @ 10:41 PM]