Adventure Series IX The War
|Jas the Mace1
Posted on 09/25/08 @ 03:39 PM (updated 10/03/08
Welcome to the first *campaign within a scn*
This single map contains 8 different maps(7 playable). You will play as commanders and low ranking soldiers on both sides. There are many different styles of play included; RPG, RPS, FF, B&D, and G&D(get and destroy) Nice looking terrain and cities all plain editor.
Act 1 The assassin: A short cut-scene setting up the war.
Act 2 The Valley: A G&D castle assult.
Act 3 The Escape: An RPS where you play both sides.
Act 4 Shipwrecked: A bloody island G&D.
Act 5 Over the Mountain: A FF castle smash.
Act 6 The Barnard castle complex: A G&D castle smash.
Act 7 St. David: A huge RPG.
Act 8 The Rebellion: RPS that turns into B&D.
If playing from standard game DO NOT choose higher resources!!!
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I've already reviewed the RPG-only part of this scenario, the file called "St. David", and playing through all of this in the process, I figured I might as well do a review for this one too, since it is a file that really deserves more attention.
"Adventure Series Part IX - The War" is a very unique piece of scenario design. It is one epic single scenario which by itself contains no less than 8 sub-scenarios (Acts), lasting in total well over 10 in-game hours, proposing an awe-inspiring variety of game styles and recounting the narrative of a war between two nations, from both side's perspectives. The effort and passion put into this scenario are obvious and the result makes for a very interesting and generally entertaining game, which nonetheless has some flaws.
The entertainment value of the scenario is generally high. There are some points that really make the whole experience very exciting such as the fact that you control in turns both nations involved in the conflict and after every in-game Act you are anxious to see what will happen next, as far as the main story is concerned, at the same time getting acquainted with some of the characters that have an important part to play as the story progresses. Even if the game does have moments in which it gets boring and despite its very unusual length, something has kept me going until I finished it. It's probably because of the epic proportions of the whole thing, that I just needed to know how it would end. The road to get there is very long however, and it sometimes gets tedious. Both the Get and Destroy and the RPG sections had parts where I got to the point when it wasn't fun to play anymore, I was just doing it mechanically in order to gain access to the latter Acts. In the G&D parts it was the fact that I had to wait for my troops to spawn, which seemed to take so long, and in the RPG parts there was just too much walking involved. Most of it did pay off in the end, so I won't complain too much.
The gameplay was very diverse, with Fixed Force, RPG, get and destroy and build and destroy, all present.
A rather important playability issue that one might encounter during the RPG parts (St. David and the first part of The Rebellion) is the fact that if you don't pay attention to the mission at hand, you can end up screwing up the diplomacy settings of the game, and computer players will try too kill you even when they're not meant to. It's important to finish a mission as fast as you can upon receiving it, especially if it involves killing enemies and if you see that a computer player has just changed diplomacy towards you.
The balance of the game could be improved. The first few Acts focused on a system I haven't too often encountered,called G&D (get and destroy) which is basically a fixed force kind of game, except you don't have units in the beginning, instead they get spawned by clicking buildings. Afterwards you need to wait (typically 3 minutes) until you can spawn them again. The enemy was usually very well fortified and had superior units, so it took a lot of spawned soldiers and siege (thus a lot of time) to get somewhere, seeing as the purpose of these Acts was usually to destroy buildings, castles or towers. In the end, it's impossible to lose such a game, because your troops never cease to spawn. It just takes a really long time and gets boring pretty fast, as the outcome of the struggle is never put into question, knowing your strength in numbers will ultimately subdue the enemy. Maybe one Act of this variety would have been enough, or maybe make them different from one another to reduce boredom.
As for the RPG part, the balance was generally good. The missions were labeled as easy or hard, thus giving you an idea as to which of them you should do first and which to save for later when you have your upgrades.
In the last section (B&D) i encountered a lag problem which made me resort to cheats in order to finish the game, which judging by the size of the enemy army, would've taken quite a while otherwise. Actually, that was more of an excuse, as i'm not a B&D person anyway.
There is a lot to be said about creativity. First of all, the scenario itself is revolutionary in a way. I did encounter scenarios that had gameplay diversity before, but this one takes it to a whole new level. It basically has it all. And it's also one of the longest scenarios that has managed to keep my attention throughout. The G&D concept is certainly creative, although not fully functional at this point, as I have explained previously. As for the RPG, that's certainly the highlight of the game in regards to creativity. Most of the quests have something that sets them apart (such as the maze quest, very creative), the interaction level is astounding, almost all the people you meet during the RPG interact with you in some way, dialogues are pretty funny and nice, which somehow makes up for the fact that there's so much walking involved in that part. In regards to map design, some of the map copying is very original and nicely done, and also the interiors of the buildings were well executed.
Map Design: 5-
The amount of effort put into the map design is visible, and I have already mentioned the creative map copying. The map generally looks well polished and very detailed, especially when you look at the scale of the whole thing. There is a lot of diversity in the geography of the land too. There are however a few things I am not a big fan of, such as using the "gloomy trees" (I and F) in excess, I think they look a lot better isolated than part of a forest, especially when used so extensively. Another thing that annoyed me a little bit is the repeated map copying for some buildings, such as cathedrals and marketplaces in the St. David section in particular. It did look original, but not that good.
In one word, map design is highly detailed, generally very original looking, but the whole could look better aesthetically. It does have its astoundingly good looking parts and it still warrants a 5 in my opinion.
The story itself is nothing to write home about in terms of originality, it is a fairly basic depiction of a war between two nations that starts off with the assassination of one of the two kings (Onan) by the other (James), which determines the grieving son (Anon) to start the war. After the beginning cutscene showing this event, you get to control the destinies of the two countries, alternating between characters (the young king Anon, the warrior called Seth which soon becomes the main character, then a General from King James' army whose name escapes me, then king Anon again, then Seth, etc). This kind of narrative which alternates between the two sides is not only very original, but it also makes the story all the more interesting and makes you want to see it through. The ending however was predictable.
There are no extensive details given about the two kingdoms (I only know one is called Amman) but backstory is not the highlight of this particular game so you won't miss it too much.
However, the game did seem to lack some more extensive instructions such as hints and informations about each mission. I was stuck a couple of times and realised reading the comment section that others had the same problems, which means in-game hints should be improved, to reduce frustration.
To the author: hats off to you. This file shows how many things one can fit inside one scenario, unlike any other blacksmith submission I have played thus far.
To the downloaders: You should give this a try, even though many people might not finish it if they lack motivation. If you do finish it however, I am sure you will find the experience fulfilling.
NOTE: If for some reason Get and Destroy or Build and Destroy are not your cup of tea, and you prefer only RPG, you should download the file called "St. David" instead. It will certainly suit your needs.
[Edited on 12/17/12 @ 09:42 AM]