Fury: The Legend of Mstislav the Bold
|Al_Kharn the Great
Posted on 08/22/21 @ 04:10 PM (updated 08/28/21
Can Mstislav unite the warring princes of Rus' before an apocalyptic danger arrives from the east?
||Age of Empires II: DE
||Build and Destroy
Russia, 1203 CE: Mstislav's victories over the Cumans have brought him fame and a marriage to the daughter of the Cuman warlord Kotyan. His relatives now seek his help to further their own ambitions. But a greater danger lies in the east...
Race to unite Russia before a powerful enemy invasion smashes the nation.
Will you betray or welcome the Cumans? Will you help the Teutonic Order? These and other decisions are yours to decide.
Fully voiced campaign.
About the Author:
Filthydelphia (xbox: PhillySouljah) is the award-winning designer of historical custom campaigns and official content for the Age of Empires franchise. Formerly part of the Forgotten Empires campaign team, his works include the Portuguese, Burmese, Bulgarian, Italian, Indian, and Sicilian campaigns featured in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition as well as several campaigns in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. Outside of Age of Empires, he is a captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
"Fury: The Legend of Mstislav the Bold" is a creative mix of classic B&D an automatic economy management, where you take on the role of prince who fights to unify the squabbling Rus principalities before the arrival of the vast Mongol horde.
Posted on 08/29/21 @ 02:43 PM
If you're looking for a fun and challenging scenario, you won't go wrong downloading this. This scenario provides an action-packed experience and there is a lot of replay value as you will very likely not have time to do everything that is available to you on your first go. The only thing preventing this from getting full marks is that the storyline is kept very sparse, which prevents you from truly getting immersed in the gameplay.
I played the scenario on Moderate and found it challenging but ultimately very winnable, despite the overwhelming size of the Mongol horde which arrives around the 90-minute mark. I don't think I would change much at all in terms of balance, it felt really on the money.
While not presenting any ground-breaking innovations, this scenario still warrants full marks for its creative use of trigger mechanics. "Fury" will see you utilize and automated economy (unselectable villagers gather resources which appear in your inventory in a slow trickle, similar to how Relics work); there is a day/night cycle which, while it may not impact the flow of gameplay (from what I could tell), still adds to the atmosphere, especially as some of the sound effects appear tied to it; and the scenario continuously evolves its gameplay as the Mongol horde comes nearer, which creates some very real suspense. The intro and outro slideshows, as well as all in-game dialogue, are also fully voiced. (This is done by utilizing a text-to-speech engine which gives each sentence a very flat, emotionless delivery, but it gets the job done.)
MAP DESIGN: 4-
Functionally the map works very well, with open fields and spacious towns allowing your troops free movement, with a couple of well-placed hills giving you some tactical advantages when facing the Mongols. Aesthetically, the map is decent. There are some nice looking spots scattered across the map, such as the marshy lands of the Pagans and the little graveyards you will find here and there, but most of the map consists of groupings of a single type of tree and rather blocky elevation. Few things look *bad* as such, but compared to the well-thought-out trigger mechanics, the map design appears to have been given too little love. While this does not diminish the mechanical fun of the scenario, it goes to show that there is room to make the gameplay even more immersive.
STORY & INSTRUCTIONS: 4
There is a lot to take in with a scenario like this, which uses a ton of unique trigger mechanics. As such, the instructions provided are all very direct and useful: it's not hard to learn how the scenario is intended to be played, and it won't be long until you know its functionalities by heart. The story, on the other hand, is probably the weak point of the scenario. While the scenario presents an interesting topic and succeeds quite well in getting the player to feel the impending threat of the arrival of the Mongols, I still found myself uninterested in the story.
A part of the blame here can be laid at the text-to-speech dialogue, which by its very nature is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's quite useful for delivering technical instructions, and as such works pretty well in-game; on the other hand, the deadpan, robotic delivery of dialogues and descriptions in the slideshows seriously hinder the player's immersion in the story.
Part of it is also that the story is kept very short; intentionally, I believe, to keep the focus on the action and the unique trigger mechanics. Each character is given minimal introduction and the storytelling overall comes across as very terse.
To end on a positive note, a strength of the storytelling is how the threat of the Mongols is portrayed: starting out as a nebulous, distant threat, it gradually grows over the course of the game with the arrival of more and more Cuman refugees and news from messengers sent by the Mongols to the Rus princes. This goes to show that, with more fleshed-out characters and more time given to the story, it could become quite a powerful piece of storytelling.
OVERALL: Definitely recommended if you're just looking for a fun, challenging scenario. If you crave a good story first and foremost, you may struggle to get immersed, but there will probably be pieces in here you enjoy - and you will have fun the scenario's mechanics regardless.
Posted on 04/23/22 @ 04:12 AM
At the opening of the map, I was able to rescue a villager and then it gave me access to her build menu. I'm not sure if you're supposed to be allowed to have access to controlling villagers. I guess not, and so I guess that my control over her build menu was a glitch. It might be nice to build defenses against the Mongols, but I'm not sure that you are meant to be able to do this.
I beat it on Hard by pausing often. I used my bulk of my army to capture the southern purple villages. Then I had a dilemma of whether to use them to capture the red castle next or to move on and take more purple villages. I decided to capture the red castle at this point because my time before the Mongol invasion is limited and I wanted to capture the red castle before time ran out. Plus, moving my army around the map takes time. But the downside to trying to capture the red castle so early is that I really need a good pack of rams or trebuchets and pikemen for enemy horses if I am going to attack the castle, and building up my army enough takes time.
By the time that the enemy Mongols attacked, I had accomplished everything but capturing the yellow castle and the three northeast purple villages. Nonetheless, failing to take the yellow castle and the 3 purple towns really weakened my hand because my allied green castle and the yellow castle ended up fighting each other instead of either one helping me against the Mongols. The Mongols destroyed my main base city and the light blue Daniel player, but my hero unit escaped. Meanwhile I built up enough of an army at my captured purple towns to whittle down the Mongol forces.
The fact that I, as an average or slightly under average player, could beat it on Hard but that it was still a challenge meant to me that it had good balance.
This was the best part. The designer was very creative.
Map Design: 4
The west corner of the map was blocked off the whole time. I wondered if there was a secret side quest there.
I couldn't tell what city your hero is supposed to start with in terms of historical geography. It's north of Kiev and southwest of the city of Vladimir. I'm guessing that it's supposed to be Chernigov, since the protagonist is Mstislav of Chernigov (13th century), but while I was playing I guessed that it was Moscow.
I agree with one of the commentors that it could have used more variety in the maps besides basically being wooded rolling hills all over with some rivers, but it was still a nice map. I think the Designer put alot into it and I debate whether to give it a 4 or 5.
I didn't care for the way that Daniel apparently got killed when his city fell to the Mongols, especially considering how hard it was for me to protect it- I'm not sure that on Hard it's possible to get all 4 Rus enemy castles before the Mongol onslaught. Probably I am being overly sensitive about that.
Alittle bit more detail would be helpful to pinpoint the specific ruler Mstislav. I believe that it was "Mstislav Mstislavich the Daring" of Chernigov, but there are a coupld Mstislav rulers from that era. Wikipedia notes that "In 1193 and 1203, his bravery in the Kypchak wars brought him fame all over Kievan Rus'." This matches the scenario description of him. as fighting successfully in 1203.
There were a couple little things that were not clear to me during gameplay but they generally got cleared up as the game progressed. One issue was that after the Mongol invasion begins you can't capture the Purple towns or any remaining enemy Rus castles, it seems. The options to do that just disappeared from the menu and killing the enemies near one of the towns didn't give me control over it once the Mongols started attacking. Maybe the designer made it this way so that you wouldn't get control over the towns just because the Mongols destroyed the purple soldiers in those towns.
Another issue was what is the result of you getting Cuman "tribes" by paying them 500 food. Does it mean A) that you just get 10 Kipchak archers, or does it also mean B) that the grey Cuman soldiers next to the yurts are supposed to fight the enemy too? I am guessing that it just means A), but it was not very clear.
Also, it was not clear if you need to send your troops to attack the Mongols or if you can just wait in your castle until they attack. It seemed like I needed to send my troops to trigger the enemy to attack, which was not a real problem, but just was a little unclear on that account.
[Edited on 05/14/22 @ 11:24 PM]