Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:17 PM
From the Lurker on the CSR:
(...Wow. Echoes : Renegade is probably the most technically advanced for BoA so far.)
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.