‘The Struggle’ was sly_guy’s entry to the ACSC07, Age of Kings Heaven Cut-Scene Contest of year 2007. It came in sixth place out of nine, awarded 84 points out of 165 possible. The following review is not based on the judging scores.
The Struggle was an entertaining cut-scene, quite good for being the authour’s first released project. There were some good view switches with lots of activity in the various villages, good fitting music that changed with the mood of the plot and the story was quite good. Nothing overwhelmingly good, but worth the download. A final plus is the fact you have unlimited time to set your settings correctly as the cut-scene fires with a cheat. There were some negative parts bringing this score down a point. First off, the music could at times be entirely wrong for the scene. As with the invasion, the music is much too happy to give the impression of a secret attack during the night, rather a majestic entry by the knights. Secondly, the dialogue could be terribly slow at times, giving you time to read everythging twice before it changed. Finally, small thing I noticed, was that one of the computer players changed diplomacy wioth the watcher, bringing up an unneccesary line of text in the chatbox.
‘The Struggle’ is a cut-scene with no interactive elements apart for the starting cheat. Normally Balance rates if the scenario was too difficult or too easy to complete. The review guidelines provide an extra paragraph for scenarios where no fighting takes place, such as some RPG, puzzles, cut-scenes etc, which this cut-scene is classed as, and thus there is no reason to deduct.
This cut-scene isn’t very creative overall. It has some creative elements, the unique music mainly, the cavalry trampling down footmen and a few more details, but in the grand perspective, The Struggle, as far as this cut-scene shows, is quite a cliché story with yet shallow characters, brief explanations of countries, locations etc. The starting cheat is a small plus as well, and overall this deserves an average rating. It’s not entirely cliché, but there’s not enough creative aspects to bring the score up any further.
MAP DESIGN: 3+
Although some parts of the map looked quite decent, the map could’ve needed more time and thought put into it. There is a great need for further terrain mixing. As it is now, some parts are very squarey in the terrain and the mixing is at times close to inexistent. The scene with the commander’s mansion is particularly poorly mixed, although the map copied mansion brings it up a lot. There is a very sparse ammount of eye-candy, which in this case is good for the cut-scene’s appearance. Finally, the average rating is the rating awarded to a map based on a randomly generated map. This scenaro has been built from scratch and, although it’s not brilliantly designed, it gives a plus to the score.
STORY & INSTRUCTIONS: 4
Despite the story being very brief and far from finished, it stills remains interesting to the end. The characters and locations of the cut-scene are briefly and shallowly presented and the story overall is loaded with clichés. The music brings the story up, adding a good atmosphere to it all, but it’s clear that lots of information is yet to be revealed. The instructions were very good. Basic and useful, and the use of cheats to fire the cut-scene was good help to not stress the watcher.
OVERALL: A brief cliché
IN CLOSING: The beginning of a possibly interesting campaign.
RECOMMENDED DOWNLOAD: To those with much time on their hands, Yes.