Posted 06 August 2011 - 04:19 PM
From Kelandon on the CSR:
Nephilim Mystery reminds me a lot of A Perfect Forest, except much less so. Nephilim Mystery's writing is functional, but it feels clipped. The sentences are simple and declarative but not very pretty. Punctuation is minimal, so the sentences read pretty much straight through. A Perfect Forest was sort of the same way, but APF had a whole lot of details that made it interesting, while NM lacks these details.
APF took place in a remote part of the surface of the world of Avernum, like NM, and both concern nephilim to a great extent. However, APF's nephilim are characters; NM's nephilim are level-edited monsters, and other than shooting arrows, they do nothing that makes them distinctly nephilim. They could be any generic monsters.
APF had combat that frustrated me at moments (particularly the "perfect spirit" bit near the end), and so does NM, except that APF's combat was different throughout and justifiable even when annoying because it was complex and at least interesting from a scripting point of view. NM's combat was the same throughout: kill these thirty level-edited nephilim in outdoor combat. Now kill these thirty level-edited nephilim in outdoor combat. Now kill these thirty level-edited nephilim in a maze indoors. Oh yeah, did I mention it's extremely short?
(For the record, I tried a post-Canopy party at around level 60 and got killed in the first battle repeatedly because the nephilim acted earlier than I did. Then I tried a HLPM level 70 party and had the same problem. Presumably I just designed these parties entirely wrong, but I eventually said, "To heck with it," and I used a god party, and the combat was still annoying. One should basically never have more than 15 of the same enemy in a single outdoor combat.)
Perhaps the problem I had with NM is that it appeared so utterly standard and unoriginal that I had trouble getting into it. It pretty much uses the most bland graphics that it can and it has no custom graphics at all. APF had few, but it used the few that it had to good effect, and APF's visual appearance managed to be appealing, if not extraordinarily beautiful. NM is just dull, visually.
APF suggests that something odd is going on in this remote area, as does NM, but APF gives background and reveals some of the mystery, enough to satisfy the player that there really was a story here and the background really does exist. NM reveals something, but the answers it gives are so minimal and the identity of the true villain so utterly trivial that it begins to sound as though the designer never really came up with the back story for these events.
Put another way, when the scenario has the word "mystery" in its title, I expect an atmosphere of mystery, and NM just didn't do this for me. The real question was not why these nephilim were stronger than normal nephilim or when and how would I find out; the real question was would I care when I did find out? Sadly, it turned out that the answer was no.
There are a few typos here and there ("mithril" is normally spelled thus, and the hut south of the bridge lacks a period at the end of its response when the hut is empty, among others), and occasionally some infelicities of design pop up (having "Leave" be the second option instead of the first in all dialogs, making double-walls at corners for an odd visual effect, among others), but none of these are so egregious as to detract seriously from the playing experience. The problem is that the playing experience isn't that great on its own.
I mean, I didn't really like APF to begin with.
I give it a rating of SUBSTANDARD: I recognize that even this must've taken a lot of work to make, and playing it wasn't painful, but I just didn't enjoy it at all.