"St. David" is a fairly complex RPG style scenario. taking place in and around a city with the same name. It had been previously released as part of the scenario "Adventure Series IX - The War", however the author had the idea of releasing the RPG part of the game separately, as we all know some people tend to enjoy this style more than the other ones that were present in the initial file (FF, B&D).
This is a classic free roam style RPG, close in gameplay to games like GTA, meaning your goal is to get a certain sum of money by doing "jobs" for the people you encounter. There are lots of quests and all of them are interesting and creative. Using your money for gaining blacksmith upgrades (and therefore strength) is going to earn you respect and access to new jobs. Doing the last "job" (I won't give any spoilers) can give you victory without getting all the money, in other words there are two ways in which to complete the game: get the money or do all the jobs...at least that's what I gathered. There are not many RPGs I have played in AOK that bring this much originality and that felt as fresh as this one, which is why I feel that this scenario is one of the most underrated and under-downloaded of its genre. That being said, there are a few issues and bugs that pop up. The most notable is caused by the rather fragile system in which your enemies are "triggered". The diplomacy settings can easily be corrupted if you don't stick to one task at a time, or if you don't finish it, therefore making a lot of units attacking you when they were not supposed to. It's not hard to avoid this, but if you play it for the first time it can happen pretty naturally and you won't know what hit you when everyone in the map is seemingly trying to kill you.
Another playability problem is the long distances you have to cover over and over again (especially for getting the money for hunting those damn deer). Granted , this is an issue that just about every RPG has to cope with, but maybe it could've been improved a little.
I have never felt overwhelmed by the game, nor did I feel that it was too easy. The balance as far as I'm concerned was very good, better than in the case of the whole "Adventure Series IX" game. A very good addition was the fact that every quest was labeled "easy" or "hard", thus helping the player choose which quests he wants to do first, and which to keep for later, after he gets more upgrades.
Though the gameplay is pretty standard RPG, he level of creativity was high. The "fair" section in particular seemed to me very creative, especially the "maze quest". Almost all of the people you will encounter will have something to say to you, many of them very funny (the marketplace section for instance).
In regards to map design, some of the map copying was very original, and also the interiors of building were well executed.
I will let you discover for yourselves all the little gems of creativity that this RPG has to offer.
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. 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 they are 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 one word, map design is highly detailed, generally very original looking, but could look better aesthetically. However, it still warrants a 5 in my opinion.
The downside of releasing part of a bigger scenario as a stand-alone game is that most of the backstory gets lost, which is the case here. And it is a shame, because the story of "Adventure Series IX" was interesting. I think it would've been a very good addition to have a little history section in which the story would be explained, up until the point that "St. David" takes place, or better yet implement some of the cutscenes that were present in the full game. As it is right now, in the beginning we discover the character called Seth stranded on a beach, but we have no idea who he is, where he is, where he came from or what his motives are.
Having said this, the RPG itself is very nicely developed and most of the tasks you do are interesting and creative. The backstory however lacks completely, and it can be frustrating to hear people talking about events or kings without any clue about them. It is obvious however that the story was not the main focus here, so there is no need to deduct too much from the rating. I will give this a 4 though, because a lot of RPG fans tend to appreciate a solid backstory.
This has been a very nice RPG to play, challenging but not unbeatable, and with a lot of creative touches, though not perfect. It is still a must download for any RPG fan, but if you have lots of time to kill and happen to like other playing styles too, I recommend you go and download the epic "Adventure Series IX - The War" right now. You will get this...and a LOT more.