Posted on 07/24/06 @ 03:05 PM (updated 07/29/06
This is my first submission to aok heaven so tell me what you think. You play as a man who will rule the earth after it's done. 1 of 4
||Role Playing Strategy
The series continue in life & money
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Good day. This is Terry reviewing "Life and Death."a campaign posing as a single player scenario. As always I have given you a "wow factor" rating at the end. It does not reflect anything on your total score but I think it may be quite helpful for you to hear. So let's start.
As always I took notes as I played through this campnario. This is one of the most confusing scenarios I have ever played in my existence as a designer. This rpg has very little guidance if any at all. You start off a single villager in the center of a giant city with no tangible objective except to wander and buy houses and do odd jobs for money. Most of which was very very buggy. For example: I went to buy the mill (Which there was no clear instructions on how to do it) Did my unit need to be beside it? Did I need to click the mill? Or did it have to be in view? The game told me nothing except for how to purchase housing which was also buggy at times because you had to click a villager in the house before it would be for sale and there was a lack of acknowledgment of a purchase or not purchase. Even a simple “ Insufficient funds” chat message would help when your short on the cash for the house. As well many of your objectives either showed up with the wrong value of cash amount or never happened. Many of the side quests had backfiring triggers as well. Like the monk who gives you money. He gave me money until the “city” ran out of gold. The trigger kept on going until I decided to unselect the monk. The mill purchase also backfired leaving me with a mill and $1000 dollars still in my pocket. To be honest I was not able to complete your scenario. I tried everything to make the scenario progress and nothing happened. On the bright side some of the side quests were very good ideas. They were just not fully presented in all the glory they should have been. Like returning the guard across the water to the end of the broken bridge. It was kinda ruined by him not actually fixing the bridge. I am giving you the lower end of a 2 rating. -2
The objectives I did play were very easy. And the lack of good objectives made this scenario very hard. Guessing what is intended is like trying to guess how many grains of barley are in a bin. A scenario should never be designed to leave the player without the slightest clue on how to progress the scenario. Once again I am giving the low end of a 2 rating. -2
This scenario in essence is very bleh. The player names are uncreative. The enemy is named just that, “Enemy”, and the city is named just,” City”. I'd appreciate even a nonsense name for the enemy like “The Krak” or the city being, “ Hamstrenstrada”. On the bright side the scenario was fluent with beta units and various unit placement tricks. So there is a varied landscape of more diverse units. Also many of the objectives are very creative and if presented less buggily they could be very good. Good for a high 2 rating. +2
Map Design: 4
This is your first scenario so I will give you a compliment on one thing. The map is pretty good. The city is well designed and was not very repetitive or over eye candied. I also admire the use of a good sized map even though I admit the west corner could use some tlc and a little more effort then lone wild flowers on flat terrain. I will give you a low 4 for a good effort. -4
Spelling mistakes throughout. The history contained no history of events previous to the scenario's story and contains useless information like the number of effects used, conditions used, etc. Believe me 66 triggers is not a big reason why anyone would play a scenario. There were 2 sets of hints one more comprehensive but pretty much a repeat of the first one plus another 2. The hints leave no hint to how to progress the scenario and only tell about little side quests. I have to give this another low 2 rating. -2
The wow factor- 1
lotrlover114 I am going to be blunt this scenario was painful to play. It gave me a headache to play. Maybe it is just me but I always have believed that a scenario should lead a player by the hand to a final objective. I understand this is an rpg but the best rpg's still give the player a main story to play through if they get bored buying houses and killing bad guys. This scenario wowed me in the wrong way. It made me sit back and say,” What?!” No story progression in game, no useful objectives or clearly defined objectives. Then I had to pretty much play everything I could and do an analysis of what worked and how it worked to try and guess the one condition that would progress the scenario to its end. Easier said then done and if i would have kept playing I probably would still be there a week later trying all combinations of conditions. What I am getting at is that this scenario needs to be more then what it is. If I was to play this scenario as the first of a campaign I would probably throw the cpx file out and move on with my life. I know this is your first scenario so consider this a learning experience look back at this review and learn. Believe me there is not a single designer at aokh who was born good at designing scenarios. It is an acquired gift through work and determination. Also taking your time to make a scenario helps. The more time you put into a scenario the better it will be! So for those who will play the “Life and Death” Campnario...
Play only if you are going to help lotrlover114 improve this scenario. There is no point to play this for enjoyment and really is a waste of your time unless you send a play test report to lotrlover114. Do it for the greater good.
[Edited on 10/12/06 @ 11:59 PM]
'Life and death' is an RPG, in which you play a man wandering around in a large city. I played this game because it was on the review request thread for a long time.
I didn't enjoy this game very much. The biggest problem was a clear lack of objective. The game seemed quite pointless. Although I could figure out how to buy houses and most other stuff worked, I could never understand WHY I was doing all that. The gameplay was vaguely like that of 'Life of a mercenary', but lacked story.
There are lots of bugs too, and things which don't work right. A monk repeatedly says 'Oh my poor son take this' and the looping trigger keeps giving me gold. I was told to go to 'collage', which I figured meant the university, and I kept getting stone (status). Locked gates caused a lot of problems and confusion. I wasn't sure what was the point in buying a mill and a bridge (amongst other things) After a while when I bought the cobra car, enemies were very easy to kill.
Thanks to hints given to me by Tanneur99 ;) I was able to figure out how to win the game. Apparently you have to gain about 100 status (stone) and then visit the king. By the way, there were 3 or 4 'kings'. I thought they were eyecandy since nothing was renamed :) Also you can convert yourself into a champion at the castle.
In this game you are a villager with extra attack/HP wandering around in the city. There are several men at arms who try to kill you. Since you have lot more HP and many monks to heal you, you are never really in any danger. Especially once you get upgraded to a champion you can't lose (unless you try to run out of the city into hordes of attackers) Secondly once you get the cobra car, it's even easier. Gold is not a problem as you can mine all you want. (you get 4 extra villies for this). Playing another time, I also discovered that you get to control a lot of Samurai to kill 'bad guys' and then a bunch of arbalests and bombard towers to kill off the attackers. Finally while leaving the city, I used the cobra car to kill everyone. I didn't much face any difficulty anywhere, even though I played on hard.
The scenario offers little in the way of creativity. There are various tasks you can do for gold, like most RPGs. You can take guard to the island, trading, buying slaves and things. Studying in a university and getting stone (status) was new for me. Unfortunately almost nothing was renamed.
Map Design: 3+
The map was fairly good, and it was a good representation of a large city. I figured that the walled areas meant houses, though they did not look like it. The terrain was good, but it could do with a little improvement. There were too many rugs about.
Terrible! The scenario clearly lacks an objective. The objective screen in the beginning says that you came to the slum and were knocked out by robbers, and now you have to get better and richer. The scenario description is 'you play as a man who will rule the earth after it's done
1 of 4' - what am I supposed to understand? How do I win?
There are hints, but they are not easy to understand. The gameplay being vaguely reminiscent of LOAM, I could figure out how to do some things. However cars did not really need wood (gas) to run (once you ran out of wood nothing happened)
However there are some objectives, though very confusing, the shadowy outline of a story, some hints and a bitmap which is why I give it 2.
'Life and death' is a lame RPG. I would not advise you to download it. It is an OK first scenario, but the author has probably left long ago.
[Edited on 08/03/07 @ 12:28 PM]
"life and death" is primarily a Puzzle, a RPG with FF and B&D elements. The events take place in a big city, the story is fiction, and you start as a villager who came to the city for a specific reason when robbers knocked him out. He awakes two hours later, suffers from traumatic amnesia and remembers nothing, not his name, where he is, who the enemies are lurking in the streets. You have to explore the unknown, to restart your life, learn, go to college, train to fight as a warrior and find a way out of the city. Your objective is to strive to be better and richer than everyone is, so that people will join you in your quest.
PLAYABILITY: The scenario is fun to play. I liked the plot, a man with a total loss of memory, interesting and kept the suspense of what to encounter until the end. In addition, the scenario had game play enhancing features, good quests and was never boring. It is like the Sims games at the blacksmith; your dude does errands for money, invests, and rents out to become rich and to gain status. However, there are some bugs; it does not deduct the purchase price for the mill, fair because you do not receive income from it. You receive the bridge and generate income from it without paying the full price. You do not receive the income from the blacksmith. At the gas station, it deducts food instead of gold. One monk repeatedly tributes 25 of gold until you once reach 1000 of gold and the sentence appears, "Monk: my poor son here take this" that is annoying. Despite the small bugs above, I would still rate this category above average. What finally brought the rating down were two major bugs and that the 'life and...' series are an abandoned project. The game discontinues because of the open gate to the end scene, the player can leave the city but receives no victory signal after defeating all enemies, completing all quests but missing the required status (stone). The opposite outcome was an early victory signal in the tradition of the review tutorial's infamous hole in the wall, skipping part of the scenario. The player should not control markets, by buying 100 stone (status) the player receives the largest property and 2000$ to buy the cobra car, which clears the way to victory alone. Clicking the college for 5 minutes has the same outcome. It was not in my intention to spoil a good fun scenario but I had to mention the bugs in my review. No answers to my questions, who was the man with no name, why did he come to the city and who were the people trying to kill him and why, which was unsatisfactory, hurting my overall game experience. 2+
BALANCE: Primarily this is a Puzzle, a RPG in the tradition of a Sims game therefore one has to consider the goals and intent of the scenario rating the balance. It was not a true challenge exception to the game's start until you know to fight with a villager, later you join the army as champion and can raise HP and AP at the training grounds. The city's south bombard and watchtowers repel the siege easily and the attackers cannot enter the city being an ally to the player of the walls and closed gates. It seems that the siege's only purpose is to bring the story forward for the 'man with no name', to take credit for defending the city. The author's goal and intent was to 'carry' the player unharmed through the scenario, the siege and fighting crooks triggers fire only after taking control of the champion, both events will not happen if you play through with the villager. Furthermore, you can purchase a Cobra Car to win the last attempt of your enemies to stop you leaving the city. There were more creative attempts to balance the scenario, to pay 50 gold for 25 food and eat 10 food per minute to survive but the huge starting amount of 700 food reduces that challenge to almost not existent. The Cobra car has a high gas (wood) consumption, which you buy at the gas station but there are no consequences when you run out of gas like changing back ownership to player 2. The two features would substitute very well a struggle to survive fighting. Even though a fight to survive was not in the author's intention, the scenario has a strong concept of balance and taking all of the above into account, giving the author the benefit of a doubt, I consider this category still as slightly above average. 4-
CREATIVITY: This is a very creative scenario full of good ideas; unfortunately, some rushed not explored further. The basic concept to explore with a unit that lost his memory, making money in the transport business, playing the American dream, to start with nothing and become rich is creative. Training the champion was a good creative feature, the university to learn and gain status, the dry docks with cranes, the buying feature, a slave market, buy a car which uses gas, markets to buy food to survive or wood (gas) to run a car. Last not least a creative map design and creative attempts to balance the scenario. In summary, it is highly creative with a poor execution. 4
MAP DESIGN: It is a pleasure to reveal the map wandering around, a good design of a big city with different areas, many places, realistic, thoughtful, detailed, sparse with Gaia and not repetitive at all, a very good job on this one. The city covers most of the map and even though it is small, a 3-player map, the author succeeds in showing us a large city with the impression to expand further to the east and west. You start in the slums, the poor men's area with only a market and a church for change. It looks like a suburb to sleep but it is noisy with the military complex and the training grounds in the vicinity. Properties consist of palisade areas with a gate while palisades with rugs represent the houses with prices from 200 to 300 gold. Dirt (rubble) covers broken roads, the district looks lifeless, no trees, exception to a small area with seven palm trees, which someone seems planted, vegetation starts at the river separating the slums from the middle class area. That area has plenty of business with the docks on the east side of the bay, stables, markets, blacksmiths, dry docks, a car dealer, a gas station, a church, a cathedral, and a college. The designer marks the differences to the slums further with roads in perfect condition, properties having walls out of stone, their prices vary from 750 to 2000 gold, and trees are everywhere, a mixture of palm and oak. The town administration planted them inside the city walls. There are no palms in a natural habitat outside the walls, exception to some in the area of the northern farm, where people from the slums work for a rich landowner, there are no farmhouses in that area. Independent farmers live next to the middle class area outside the gates in the south where the fields are next to their farmhouses. The rich people live in the west of the bay, every gate guarded by two security men, personal and more guards inside the property, the private pool is a must have while one owner has the luxury of a water fall. Kings, fat men, represent the property owners, which was quite funny as in some regions of Asia 'he is fat' means that he is rich. Who knows their source of income, shipbrokers, ship-owners and the nearby gold mine is an indication. In addition, the map has a good technical design giving the option to explore on land and by boat. The map deserves a perfect rating, not only for the great map design but also for showing the social differences of areas in detail, for accompanying the story with the design, the story of a man starting in the slums making his way to the top. I especially liked the map copying of sea towers, gates and walls giving this extra touch to the well-designed harbor area. 5
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: First the disappointing story part, there was not more than what I wrote in my introduction, it certainly counts as 'any story' or better as an attempt to tell a story. The author might argue that that is all the player should know in the beginning, someone with amnesia does not remember his story/history and that all will reveal in the announced sequels. However, of four planned scenarios the author submitted 'life and death' and 'life & money' but the scenarios do not stand up alone, do not work on their own accord, they are an abandoned project with an unfinished story. The instructions were clear, the pre-game instruction screen provides a manual of how to buy, you receive guidance by nine bands marking all objects for sale, only the places you should visit or buy had open gates to save time and places of interest have flags. A good acknowledgement of purchase, the property turns to your player colour, visible in game and in the mini map, the couple leaves the property, you receive one stone, an objective changed sound signal and the objective crossed out in your objective screen. The scenario provides a BMP and even though it shows only the scenario's title it is a plus, a BMP always makes a good impression and looks better than the blank 'scenariobkg'. 4-
OVERALL: It is a best of AoK after an edit.
SUGGESTIONS: Edit your scenario and I will edit my review it is worth it. To pay for and receive income from the mill, in trigger 'mill2' change Effect 1 to 'mill3' (trigger 'gate&start' has its starting state open already) and add Effect 3 Tribute Gold Stockpile Quantity 1000 Source Player 1 Target Player 2. To pay for the bridge, trigger 'sellbridge', new condition 1, Accumulate Attribute, Gold Stockpile Quantity 500 Source Player 1. Blacksmith income, in trigger 'black2' change Effect 3 to 'black3' ('gate&start' has its starting state open already). Monk tribute, change timer in condition 1 of trigger 'monk1' to 30 and condition 0 of trigger 'monk2' to 100 for example or better put looping to 'OFF', the player has many opportunities to make money. To close gates, create new trigger, condition timer, 5 effects, close the gate to the training grounds, the two to the castle area, the one to the stable behind the slaves and the one to leave the city. You unlock the first four in trigger 'own hous'; the fifth in trigger 'win12' effect 3, but the gates were open at the game's start. Rework the status, stone; the player receives for the five houses 5, joining the army 20 and 1 for the blacksmith. The player has to pass university eight times, which most will not. Best to give stone for every objective (90 in total) to complete all and once 10 for the university, no loop and write in the hints not to buy stone. Miscellaneous, trigger 'buy gas' change Effect 1, Tribute List from Food to Gold Stockpile. Delete trigger 'fwg', you have allied markets to buy wood and food already also, after the change ownership the trade carts deliver here from the docks instead of using the market near stables to deliver the hay, missing $250 for each delivery. The HP (to 380 and then 550) and AP (to 23 and then 33) increases for the villager happen by reactivating twice trigger 'gate&start', read above. You 'eat' 10 food every minute, with 700 food at the game's start, the player has over an hour before buying. That could be harder, reduce the starting amount of food, once the player owns the mill he should receive 25 of food per minute and food consumption would not be an issue anyway.
OBSERVATIONS: At the siege in the south one gate changes ownership to the player but not the color, the enemy still treats it as ally and thus their rams do not attack the gate. If anyone knows the bug, drop a line please.
IN CLOSING: I recommend this scenario to anyone who enjoys revealing a map during game play to explore the unknown.