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20 posts in this topic

Echoes: Renegade

Mac/Windows

 

Author: Terror's Martyr

Difficulty: levels 20-25

Version: 0.0.1

 

[composite=eyJ0aXRsZSI6IkVjaG9lczogUmVuZWdhZGUiLCJ0aWQiOiIxMjIyNCIsInRhZ3MiOlsiYWx0ZXJuYXRpdmUgY29tYmF0IiwiY29tYmF0IGhlYXZ5IiwiY3V0c2NlbmUgaGVhdnkiLCJkYXJrIiwiZGVzaWduZXItc3BlY2lmaWMgdW5pdmVyc2UiLCJkaWZmaWN1bHQiLCJpbm5vdmF0aXYgc2NyaXB0aW5nIiwibGluZWFyIiwic2VyaW91cyJdLCJiZ2FzcCI6eyI1IjoxMiwiNCI6MywiMyI6MiwiMiI6MSwiMSI6MH19]

Composite Score: 4.4/5.0

 

Best: 66.67% (12/18)

Good: 16.67% (3/18)

Average: 11.11% (2/18)

Substandard: 5.56% (1/18)

Poor: 0.00% (0/18)

[encouragenecro]

 

[/composite]

 

Keywords: Combat Heavy, Serious, Linear, Difficult, Dark, Alternative Combat, Cutscene Heavy, Designer-Specific Universe, Innovative Scripting

Edited by SylaeBot
Automated Sybot edit; worker IPB::csrThread/vanadium

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Echoes: Renegade, winner of the Eighth Design Contest, is definitely one of the better Blades of Avernum scenarios available. I would say that it doesn't quite live up to most of the other contest winners, but is still worthy of the honor of winning.

 

TM did a lot of cool stuff in this scenario, such as the boat fight, the special arrows (although sometimes seeming unrealistic), and some fights, such as falling down, special spells (while limited), and the final battle. Aside from some of the boss fights, I found the scenario a little easy (I was playing with an L23 party with items from Mad Ambition, for reference). I'm not trying to be engine biased here, but archery is way too powerful in the Avernum games in general. I mean seriously, I can kill bandits with one/two hits of the arrow, and if I can resupply arrows every time I kill an archer, it really makes things easy. Additionally, I could have done without some of the profanity. I did like seeing some of the sanctuaries recreated in the BoA engine.

 

The plot, drawing from both Mad Ambition and the Echoes Arc was good enough, and it kept me interested in what was going on. Terror's Martyr is thusfar the only designer to make a cross-engine series.

 

I rate this scenario [rating]Good[/rating]

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(ported from SV)

 

Okay... the original review was kinda lame. Very specific. So, long story short, the combat is difficult, the scripting is genius, the items are overpowered, the spells aren't that helpful, the plot is ridiculous. It's a TM scenario, and it plays pretty much like TM scenarios.

 

All in all, Echoes: Renegade is unmistakeably a TM scenario, which makes me love it and hate it at the same time. It's technically amazing, but the rest of it feels like a little bit of a letdown. When the last boss had fallen, I just didn't quite enjoy it as much as MA, but it's still a top-tier scenario.

 

Rating: [rating]Best[/rating]

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Full disclosure: I am not a fan of TM's style. At all. Too text heavy, and linear to the point of ludicrousness. It's like being trapped in a novel. And not the kind of novel I'd willingly read.

 

Having said that, E:R is one of the few TM scenarios I've finished, and the only one I've played more than once.

 

I guess this is because it's perfectly possible to ignore almost all the text and still have about as much idea of what's going on as if you'd read every word. Normally this would be a flaw, but since this designer's writing style is not to my taste, it suits me fine.

 

And of course, there's ripping good combat. The rewards are a little over the top, which might be another reason I've taken a few parties through, in honesty. And although it's extremely linear, you do at least have the illusion of freedom for part of the scenario, even if it's only "Which group of bandits shall I attack next?" Also, I think you can choose not to break the siege, though I don't know why you would.

 

There are all kinds of innovative tricks, some more plausible than others; I'm not sure if it was ever explained why the marines could...

 

 

walk on water

 

 

...for example.

 

I never used any of the special spells after trying them out--why would I want to dumbfound my own spellcasters? But still, the innovations are too numerous to list; there's no doubt that the designer was pushing the envelope of what the engine could do, and kudos to him for that.

 

The plot is completely incomprehensible, to me at least.

 

The combat isn't too bad until the last three fights, which are ridiculously hard.

 

While I recognize that the technical quality of the scenario is very high, as was the skill needed to design it, I can't rate this as "best" because I really think that story and writing matter.

 

Rating: [rating]Good[/rating]

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After playing Canopy, I played this scenario. It was pretty good. I liked how TM actually made a fully functional boat using script. The boat combat was interesting too.

 

Speaking of the combat, this scenario had it's difficult moments, but not of Canopy's level. I personally liked the fights with Profanus Pyre and The Immortal. They were well done and provided a good challenge without being impossible.

 

The graphics were really nice in this scenario. I enjoyed the wall and floor set of that tower. An interesting

tidbit TM decided to do is make portcullis work like doors. While it's not very realistic, since how else are you going to pick a portcullis to open it.

 

The plot was pretty interesting. A province has problems with bandits and rebels. They were some nice twists in the plot.

 

The items in this scenario, like those of Canopy, were nicely made, but were a bit overpowered once again. Not as bad as Canopy, but still.

 

Overall, I had fun with this scenario. It was really cool and had amazing scripting techniques. The combat wasn't too hard, and the plot was good. I like it.

 

Rating: [rating]Best[/rating]

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This is a TM scenario. Which means that the town design is enthralling, the coding tricks are astonishing and there are plenty of high quality custom graphics. Although the graphic for The Immortal was a bit blocky. It also means the plot can get confusing and the scenario is extremely linear.

 

I liked how Katothen would make a custom item for me. That part is actually the only interactive part in the whole scenario. I'll say it again, the scenario is set firmly on a one-way railway track.

 

When you start really messing around with complex scripts and such there are bound to be some bugs. Fortunately Renegade didn't have that many. A table did attack me, though, but this might have been fixed since I played it.

 

The plot is basically a sequel to Mad Ambition (and possibly to other Echoes scenarios from BoE) but the PCs aren't the ones that went through the events in MA. Another character in the scenario foiled the nephilim uprising, Hunter. Unfortunately, Hunter is one those characters that are so full of themselves its annoying.

 

I can't really remember the names for all the villains. They qualify as annoying which means I really wanted to kill them if only to shut them up. So as villains go, you could do a whole lot worse.

 

 

The plot is fairly understandable up to the point where it turns out that the bandits are in fact Empire soldiers. And really, why the hell do rakshasi want to control humans? Is this explained in previous Echoes scenarios? Will it be explained in future scenarios? Are they simply we-illuminati-we-control-the-world types? Meh.

 

 

As in Mad Ambition, the ending snuck up on me. When the words THE END were visible I had to sit for a minute and think... was that it? The player isn't even a pebble in an avalanche; nothing you do has any effect on anything. Sure you uncover shocking conspiracies but what I really wanted was to kill some more people responsible right now. I hate sequels.

 

The combat is basically one flashy trick after another. There were also some regular combat but for some reason I can't remember any of it. Some of the basic grunts did have special abilities, though. What I liked was, the boat fight, the plummeting fight, the fight with Ruthus and the final fight with the Immortal. Seriously I'm basically just basing my score on the flashy tricks used in these fights alone.

 

There were also some special spells. They probably provide some tactical aspect but I didn't really test them.

 

I rate Echoes: Renegade as [rating]GOOD[/rating]. It is so close to being "best", but I don't think combat alone should be enough for that high a rating. If I couldn't stomach TM's style the rating would naturally be much lower.

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I basically had the same experience as Ephesos. I was really impressed by everything, but I didn't care for the huge overarching plot.

 

I can't fault TM for making that kind of scenario, though, since it all seemed to work. Coupled with the most entertaining combat currently in BoA, I can't rate this scenario anything but [rating]BEST[/rating].

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(copied from SV)

 

E:R is a "large scenario" that takes less time to complete than some small scenarios. If you're a fan of TM's scenarios, as I am, you will like this scenario. As with all of his endeavors, the combat is superb, and the plot is twisty and leaves you with questions. I would say this is TM at has finest, but that wouldn't be fair to Mad Ambition. The scenario is very fast paced. Some towns go by in 2 minutes or less, but are nonetheless enjoyable. Creating a custom weapon was a nice touch, and the motorboats and the water combat were quite original. By this point, it's pretty much acknowledged that TM is a master, and this is proof that he's still churning out some of his best work.

 

I rate this scenario [rating]BEST[/rating]

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From Lazarus on the CSR:

 

What do you get when you cross the coding tricks of Canopy with the plot of MA? If you guessed E:R then you have either played TM's newest scenario, or you're astute enough to read the name of this thread.

 

E:R is a TM scenario, with the great scripting and often confusing plot that come with the territory. The combat is better than any other BoA scenario Ive played, featuring well-balanced monsters with previously unseen abilities. The frequent boss battles range from the best Ive seen to mildly infuriating, but all provide interesting tactical challenges, and often take place in equally interesting settings.

 

But all that is almost a given for TM, this of course is where I knock off 3 points for an incomprehensible plot. Or is it. Well I actually liked E:Rs plot. It builds off of MA, which is a good start, and it nicely picks up where its predecessor left off. It suffers from too many names syndrome at times, as it seems that every major NPC has 15 different personas. Also the story is told in the first-person, but I was disappointed to see that this had a minimal effect on the story. Things do start to get a bit confusing by the end, but it never gets near to Canopy bad (aka, cant understand a single line.) Enough negatives, the plot is good, especially if you make an effort to understand it.

 

A good scenario, BoAs best in my opinion.

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From Salmon on the CSR:

 

Okay, it's worth a rating of [rating]BEST[/rating]

 

But it still pisses me off. There has to be some genetic mutation in TM that created this alternative world in his head that has spawned his scenarios. I get the idea of screwing around with typical views of Empire politics and whatnot, but the overarching plots and conspiracies really point at something dark and twisted in his psyche.

 

Excellent story, I kept up till the Red Tower monologues.

 

Excellent combat, err, well to be honest I accidently used a god singleton. So yeah, I was really excellent at combat. Woo friggin who.

 

Excellent visuals, the boats, rooms, etc were everything I would have expected from the story and characters.

 

Sound - now normally I play with sound off, but for some reason I had it on this time and boy was I glad. The kicker for me was the Sanctuary sounds. Holy crap that kicked ass.

 

So it all added up to 9.5 for me, but then I had to knock some off for the monologue which ended the scenario, and some more for ending the scenario without letting me kick more ass.

 

Now I have to go find the series on which this series is based. Because really, there has to be some mega backstory for this whole deal. The only alternative is that TM is some grotesque George Lucas figure with the whole plot for 10 more episodes locked away in his brain, just waiting for better special effects and, dare I say, a Blades of Geneforge in which to complete the masterwork.

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From Nioca on the CSR:

 

Starting at an average 5.0...

 

A good scenario with a decent, if highly convoluted, plot (+3.4). Plenty of technical tricks and flash (+1.6), which is to be expected with any TM scenario, and combat that is ridiculously hard for the level recommendations (Which, with TM, seems to be par for the course, -0.1).

 

The use of special spells was better executed then in Canopy, and were somewhat useful (+0.9). Combine this with bizarre situations galore (+0.3), and a couple cameos from Mad Ambition, and you have a scenario that lives by it's own name: Renegade.

 

There are a few things that bother me, though. Mainly, it could be a little confusing in certain spots, in which I was left wondering what to do (-1.4). Some of the combat was a boring hack-fest (-0.7), and basically, your exploits have no effect on what's going on around you (-0.2). While I'm not picky, I would have liked to have a little influence in what happened.

 

Overall, an excellent scenario. Oh, and an extra +0.1 for the marines.

 

Final Score: 8.9 ([rating]BEST[/rating])

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

Technically astonishing, graphically pleasuring, pretty enjoyable plotwise, and, at times, insanely hard when it comes to combat.

 

Having not played the whole Echoes-series, the background of the events is not entirely clear to me. Still, most of the time I could keep up with what was happening, which, in my opionion is a good thing a scenario. tongueold.gif

 

The techical and graphical side of the scenario was impressively executed. In fact, I would dare to claim that this is the most advanced BoA scenario to exist, at the moment.

 

In general, Echoes: Renegade was *fun* to play (except when some of the bosses BURNED me, bad), which alone earns it a higher-than-average score.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From the Lurker on the CSR:

 

(...Wow. Echoes : Renegade is probably the most technically advanced for BoA so far.)

 

*PLOT*

Eh, anybody who's played previous Echoes scenarios knows what to expect... A very interesting universe, in my opinion, and a very, very complicated one as well. Rather than answering questions you might have asked yourself from playing the other Echoes scenarios, Echoes : Renegade introduces new characters and you'll probably end up being even more dumbfounded than you already were...

By the way, a big thanks to TM for ending my confusion and reminding me that E:R takes place long before the other Echoes scenarios (I think this might have been mentioned once at the Spidweb forums, but I had forgotten).

 

*GRAPHICS*

Loads of new graphics, ranging from 'good' to 'awesome'. I especially liked the dialog pic for the Mysterious Figure. The Red Fortress was also very pretty.

 

*GAMEPLAY*

Where do I begin...

 

First, apart from a few subquests, E:R is mostly a linear scenario, and is fairly short as well, reminding me a bit of Echoes : Black Horse in that respect.

 

Second, the enemies. Most mundane-looking enemies you'll find in this game have been given special abilities, such as XP-stealing, cursing shots, poison strikes, walking on water, disabling positive statuses (Brigand Monks...) The Brigand Snipers even have the ability to disarm you unless you're fighting them in melee! I was impressed with all the effort TM put in making each fight interesting. The last three boss battles are amazing in terms of scripting - the bosses you'll fight only use special spells, and they're pretty devious as well (though not nearly as devious as in Echoes, Echoes : Black Horse, or even Bandits 2 - there aren't any mass dumbfounding spells, so you should be able to fight the bosses without pulling your hair out).

 

Third, the items. There are some very interesting new items in the scenario. I especially liked the secret Flayer Flail, a melee weapon for Magi (!), Kinky Shackles (Forcecage yourself on purpose!) and the custom suit of armor Katothen makes for you - that was a great idea. Oh, and needless to say, the rewards for finishing the scenario are very good. You'll just breeze through Za-Khazi Run and Diplomacy With The Dead if you play them after finishing Renegade.

 

Fourth, the special spells you can cast. TM added four abilities which are actually special spells. You get to pick two each time you visit Sanctuary. One of them was made purely for multi-PC parties (Transfer Energy, allows one of your spellcasters to give some energy to another spellcaster PC), one was made mostly for multi-PC parties (Fracas, heavy blessing but with some disadvantages, such as dumbfounding your PCs a little when you cast it), one was made mostly for singletons (Roost, gives some protection against some enemy abilities for a short while), and one can be useful no matter your party's size (Esuna, nullifies both positive and negative status effects).

 

Fifth, the difficulty. I remember when I first played E:R, I used a HLPM-made party even though TM did advise against it in the readme file. The game was difficult, to say the least, and I had to reload many times in order to win. Then I replayed it with a party that had been leveled up with 'normal' means, and I found the game to be much, much easier. In fact, it wasn't nearly as hard as most other Echoes scenarios or Mad Ambition. Maybe it was because I gave my PCs lots of dexterity, maybe it was because I had played VoDT and ASR very thoroughly, anyway I had very little trouble with the brigands. They just kept missing most of the time and couldn't do much damage, with the exception of the brigand snipers. Even when I had trouble with the brigands, there was practically no battle that couldn't be solved with a few Capture Mind spells. Charming the snipers and commanders makes battles much, much easier - almost too easy, in fact. The only brigand battle that I found to be really hard (probably due to the brigand monks) was the one in the fake brigand lair, I had to use Fracas to win. As for the bosses... although TM says Fracas becomes a suicide spell against the bosses, I used it anyway for the last three boss battles and found it to be so helpful that I almost forgot about Esuna. The only boss battle that made me sweat was the first fight with Profanus Pyre, but only because I kept forgetting to cast Radiant Shield, and Radiant Shield is a true lifesaver for this battle. I found the second battle with Profanus Pyre to be easier than the first one - his spells weren't as powerful and although he had some help, he was still fairly easy to beat. Now, I'm not saying that each battle should be harder than the previous one (in fact, I hate it when designers make every part much harder than the last one, because you tend to end up very weak and when you believe you're at the end of Nightmarish Dungeon number X, a super boss comes out of nowhere and reduces you to a paste) but still, if Profanus Pyre changes shape, isn't it because he needs more power and therefore should be at least a little harder to beat? As for The Immortal... I will simply say that luck plays a large part in this fight. Depending on which spells he uses and how many attacks he gets to use, he may be either easy or quite difficult. Of course there's quite a bit of strategy involved too, but you get the idea.

 

Sixth, Terror's Martyr tends to reward those who play the game thoroughly and search areas carefully, so doing this can make the game much easier to beat. Which is probably a good design decision. Of course, you can miss a few things and still win the game, which is also a good thing. I really liked the easter eggs, by the way.

 

Seventh, there's the matter of cutscenes, and some of them are *really* impressive. I was amazed by the whole free-falling part, especially when The Immortal jumps into the pit and fires at you. The boat fight was very neat too.

 

*BUGS*

This scenario, is, unfortunately, still somewhat buggy. Of course, this is coming from a Windows-only player. There are still a few glitches, bugs, and timer problems here and there, and I will e-mail TM whenever I find a new bug. Most of the remaining bugs should be fairly harmless, fortunately, but I still recommend you save your game often. Even the final fight has still at least one problem that can occur when the Acid Form switches to the Fire Form (I have yet to check whether it's by pure switching or dying, however).

 

 

*OVERALL*

A great scenario, and you might want to play the other scenarios in the Echoes series (if you haven't yet) before playing this one. Even if you don't, I still recommend you play them afterwards.

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From Drakefyre on the CSR:

 

I am impressed. Let me just get that out there at the beginning. What a great scenario, and it felt like the perfect length too. I loved the boats, free fall, and the plot was coherent and made sense (mostly). I wasn't really a fan of the first-person narration, and there were small errors (like trying to use Roost in outdoor combat raises an error, spelling/grammar), but the scenario as a whole was fun, fast-paced, and offered either a short and busy dash to the finish or a more leisurely exploration-based scenario, depending on your mood. Combat was pretty good, although I will say that I hate disabling status effects, especially on a singleton.

 

The BoE scenario it reminds me of the most is Tomorrow, but I think it's a little better.

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

Pros-

1.Technically amazing. Some really incredible and creative bits, the boat battle, the free fall battle, the undersea dock battle, the troops teleporting in battle and especially the final battle with the the immortal. I also liked the schtick with the spellbooks granting unique spells. Nice graphics too. All fabulous.

2.Interesting, highly warped plot. Very confusing at times though.

 

Cons-

1.Extremely Monty Haul. I left this very short scenario with several unique and extremely powerful items, plus fifteenth level in a number of common, very usable spells, AND thousands of coins worth of saleable items (true re-sale value, not the inflated stated value.)(Mostly it was the proliferation of pricey edged blades that threw things off.) This was even considering that I had no place to sell stuff along the way to free up inventory space.

2.Railroaded plot in the extreme. This scenario is virtual an extended cut scene with most of the action taking place behind the scene when your characters aren't around. It would do better as a short story than an RPG scenario.

3.Oddly, first person narrative made it harder for me to get into the scenario, since the scenario kept telling me how I felt about the events unfolding.

4.Abrupt start. The scenario basically drops you into the middle of things with no warm up. Likewise, the changes between the different "acts" of the story happen very abruptly.

5.Hanging plot threads-Exactly how did my party figure out that the Red Wizard was a Rakshasi? More importantly, and maybe I just missed this amid all the thick monologues, but who sent out the anonymous and false letter that got the party into the scenario in the first place?

7.Zero Portability-If BoA operates under a kind of shared world model, "Echoes:Renegade" is a journey to a sort of alternate reality. It re-defines the whole backstory of the world and asks you to buy into it wholesale.

 

Basically, I think this would have been a fun story to read, not so much as a game to play.

 

[rating]AVERAGE[/rating]

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From Pinchy the Crab on the CSR:

 

I know what you mean. A good deal of TM's scenarios would make better short stories. Its like hes using BoA as a medium to make FF fanfics, which is basically the opposite of what I like in a scenario. I finally sat down and played this all the way through, since its score is pretty damn good, but the plot rollercoaster I was on made me more dazed than excited. It was like playing Inuyasha :x

 

Is it just me or are people more impressed by fancy coding than a well thought out and creative story that manages to give you a little freedom in where you go next?

 

[rating]SUBSTANDARD[/rating]

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From Jemand on the CSR:

 

The scripting and graphics are impressive, but I don't like that TM made up all of the Empire stuff. It also went quickly from a fight-the-annoying-brigands-scenario (with a lot of hyphens) to a crazy final town that reminds of descriptions of acid trips. The marines were cool, the archer and monk scripts annoyed me and were cool, and the sniper script just annoyed me. (Good thing everyone in my party has a dozen weapons.) I liked the boat chase and falling pit fight. Katothen's various places were good and strange. The best part is the combat, there was no one thing I thought was worst, but there were lots of things I didn't like particularly.

 

[rating]AVERAGE[/rating]

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From Nikki on the CSR:

 

Wow..

 

Everything that can be said has been said already. I dug the plot (if you take the time to understand it, it's not that tough), and the freefall fight just... wow.

 

So yeah.

 

Points removed for annoying Roost errors, and the fact that Pyre was too tough. tongueold.gif

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From Jewels on SV:

 

The scripting is phenomimal, I was never bored. The combat is challenging and implemented surprisingly. Grab your popcorn(unbuttered of course) and enjoy the show.

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From Iffy on SV:

 

 

Outdoor Design - Best

Excellent, it looked nice and fit the scenario.

 

Town Design - Best

It was even better than the outdoor design.

 

Scripting - Best

It was excellent. Having the rocks move every turn made it seem like you were moving. Nice.

 

Combat - Best

I admit, I used a god party. However, even with using a god party it looked interesting. I also imagined how great it would be if I used a regular party. I'm not, though.

 

Plot - --

No, I'm not going to rate the plot. I don't think I should, the plot was confusing...because it went really deep. Normally, I can get deep plots...if you go slow with the deepening.

 

Final Score - [rating]BEST[/rating]

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