Posted 11 February 2010 - 09:28 AM
Enemy at the Gates
REVIEW FOR ENEMY AT THE GATES 1.?
You play mercenaries that are helping the kingdom of Megiddo in what quickly turns into a time of crisis.
First off, a very strong effort from a newbie designer. At several points throughout the scenario, I asked myself "This is a first scenario?" (not out loud, obviously, but still).
Alright, now onto what actually matters. With the plot, we've got something fairly strong and original, if not overly inspired. The plot is fairly simple: track down some unusual sightings on the Megiddo-barbarian border. And it quickly delves into political intrigue.
And fighting. Can't forget the fighting, after all. Each fight tends to take on an epic air, even versus wolves. Each one tends to be difficult and unique, with enemies that are pretty well-balanced. People who enjoy combat will find no shortage here.
Visually, the scenario is fairly decent. Of particular note was the effective use of heights. And while the rest was somewhat forgettable, it was pretty nonetheless. Towns were mostly well-designed and visually appealing.
Also of note is the scripting. Of particular note is how it segues to dialogue after two different fights, and the special abilities of some monsters during the fights. And it seems to be bug-free* to boot.
The two side-dungeons were good too, and were nice to romp around in to finish off the scenario.
(*This assumes that the dialogue-segue errors are removed. This is also why the review's version number is 1.? until further notice)
Pacing could use some work. One minute, we're on a scouting mission, the next, we're showing down with the main villain. It just seems to suddenly shift from getting some of the smaller pieces of the puzzle to having the big picture smashed over your head. It works, but it seems odd.
Also, it seemed to favor massive battles a bit much. Or, in the words of myself in the first fight, "OH DEAR LORD THOSE WOLVES ARE EVERYWHERE GET THEM OFF GET THEM OFF!!!" Nothing overly troubling, but it's a bit disconcerting to get a kill count of around 150 in this short a scenario.
The design of the main town is... interesting. On one hand, it was quite enjoyable to explore, and was truly unique. On the other, it also was extremely easy to get lost in it, and some of the decisions made in its design are... odd.
You know what this scenario has more of than enemies? EXPOSITION. Any character that has ANY relevance to the plot at all WILL spout six paragraphs of text at-a-time. Which is a pity, because the dialogue is pretty good otherwise. Furthermore, irrelevant characters tend to have next-to-none. Which is especially jarring when you're talking to none other than the King of Megiddo.
But that's not the end of it. There's many times where dialog boxes consist of six-to-seven paragraph dissertations on a subject. When it comes to dialog, less is sometimes more. This scenario is living proof of it.
Also, loot balance. Mind, the quest rewards were fine, but the thing is, with all the enemies that get killed, a LOT of loot is dropped. As in, enough to make a party of that level obscenely rich.
The Verdict - GOOD
You might want to pass if you're really not into combat, but otherwise, play it. You won't regret it.
It was mentioned in the readme that this scenario drew some inspiration from TM. Frankly, I didn't see that much of it... until I saw the line, "Where you thought there was a simple garden, there is actually TREACHERY." flash across my screen, at which point I thought "Oh, there it is." graemlins/tongueold.gif
TM aside, this was an incredible first-effort. I definitely liked the massive battles, but in the future, would prefer them to be limited and put to better use. Fighting against hordes of Hunan Barbarians or the Megiddo army would be an awesome use of this. Wolves, spiders, and bats? Not so much.
Also, town design. While Megiddo tower was certainly unique, it also was extremely restrictive and inefficient. Might be something to improve on in future scenarios. Dungeon design was good, though.