"DtS08 - Breath Of Fire" is a mountaintop DtS scenario with towers and monks holding off an invading enemy. Its a fun game with about a 30 minute play time.
Breath of Fire3 was one of my favorite games on the PS2, one of the very best RPGs of the 90s and the type of quality game we just dont get anymore. Unfortunately the contents of this scenario have little to do with that game except perhaps sharing some origination in their inspiration so my planned story time turned out to be a misfire.
The gameplay consists of defending a Tibetan mountaintop temple from a swarm of soldiers sent by the tyrannical Chinese emperor. This core gameplay was simple in nature, yet enjoyable enough to sustain around half a dozen playthroughs. There are just a handful of options available with monks, towers and bombard towers, but with limited resources the player has to make his opening investment wisely. Holding on to some gold to earn interest may also be of prime consideration.
Unfortunately the weak balance of the scenario ultimately is its undoing;never at any time on hard or moderate did I feel in the slightest danger of losing, and only when experimenting with weird tactics was there any risk. This eroded the enjoyment for me throughout, and there are several non-gameplay elements that tarnish the scenario too. The game is quite unprofessional in appearance both in mapping and story presentation. The difficulty selection screen is some palisades on blank grass1, and the player is left in control of many unneeded houses also on blank grass1. The store items have not been renamed, as well as other key units\buildings. The instructions are included in a PDF which must be alt-tabbed to view, unless you have the convenience of a second monitor, but even then I had to alt-tab to scroll.
The challenge of the scenario was interesting enough, but its low difficulty was unfortunate. A number of different approaches are possible, and they mostly lend themselves to a very easy win with hardly any effort. The AI was liable to be glitched out, as its units were being endlessly looped toward the objective, but the circular map made it hard for their pathfinding at times. It was easy to hold up their entire advance by converting a single unit in the rear and attacking an enemy with it;all the enemies further ahead in the path tend to turn around and chase that one unit, and after it dies they stand around idly as towers fill them with arrows, until the looping trigger puts them on track again. One easy way to break the scenario is to convert up enough units early on to fill up the spot in front of your monastery on no attack stance, and the AI will have an extremely hard time even getting there properly. As ive played DtS entries from over the years these types of exploits are unfortunately a pattern that repeats itself. A note should be made to avoid creating bombard towers;these appear strong, but are cost-ineffective against swarms of enemies. I also found it odd that the best way to farm gold is not by earning killings but instead stockpiling as much as possible in the bank and avoiding spending it. The best way is to have 500 gold early on and later 1000 gold, and purchase upgrades as possible that don't drop you below these magic points for higher interest earnings. I had 200 attack Keeps by the end on Hard as a result.
The scenario had some good ideas alongside a nice gameplay, although its lack of polish was evident at all times. The included PDF was interesting, but the information contained within should absolutely be in the hints\scouts report in addition to having correctly renamed selection objects. The atmosphere was lacking punch, with perhaps some audio or music being nice to add a unique flavor to the experience. Perhaps some traditional Tibetan materiel would have been interesting. The overall concept of having monks and towers seems pretty good, and even now the scenario could fairly easily be refurbished and refined into a top notch game with more balancing and overall finishing touches. The tower defense concept is hardly a novel one in AoK or elsewhere, and such scenarios literally grow on trees in the multiplayer section of the downloads.
Map Design 3-
The map portrayed a temple on a mountain, doing so with a massive pyramid of cliffs and broken down walls to form a circular path leading to the actual monastery building itself. This lent a rather symmetrical appearance to the affair. The terrain type used was snow, with lots of flowers on snowy grass with green mountains as the backdrop and some pines. While not particularly appealing, its sufficient to get a pass.
The opening text was a nice read and a good setup for the scenario, but besides that it was entirely underwhelming. The instructions\hints were included in a PDF while not being duplicated ingame, which made it rather difficult to read them smoothly, as you needed to alt-tab out repeatedly. This damaged the atmosphere considerably.
Final Thoughts:A fun game that's definitely worth playing, I recommend you give it a playthrough.