Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:54 AM
In the Shadow of Dragons
From Nioca on the CSR:
The first rating is always the hardest.
Okay, maybe not. Anyway, on with the rating.
Overview - While it has its flaws and pitfalls, ItSoD is a first that'll leave you wondering what masterworks Nemesis will come up with in the future. It puts many first scenarios to shame, though it may not necessarily stack-up to the higher-ranking scenarios available.
Plot - Decent. It's no masterpiece, but it gets the job done. You're sent to kill a dragon, and that is precisely what you set out to do. Clear-cut, no plot hiccups. It does have a filler dungeon, but it was clever enough that it added to the scenario rather than detracting from it. The only real problem I had with it is, occasionally, the atmosphere seemed to break, mainly with some of the characters. The humor probably did more harm than good, but I admit that this may be personal taste.
Combat - Good. However, I imagine that a lot of older designers or players will scream about it. This scenario consists mostly of one major three-level dungeon crawl. However, the combat is enough to put you on your guard now and then, without crossing over to tedious hacking. A minor exception to this is the outdoor encounters, but they've improved greatly since the beta version. The final fight was good and appropriately challenging.
Design - Excellent. This is where ItSoD really stands out. Nemesis showed an incredible knack with town design. ItSoD's towns were unique, interesting, and even a little innovative. I look forward to more towns and dungeons from him. Outdoor design was also good, though it wasn't quite as well done as the towns.
Graphics - Very Good. This was a visual treat to see, and Ephesos may have up-and-coming competition when it comes to visually-beautiful scenarios. The firefalls and certain rooms in particular were simply outstanding.
Balance - Okay. There are a couple balance oddities, such as Milk providing invulnerability. The only real issue with balance is the final reward, which, cash-wise, is a little much. Expect to come out of this scenario much wealthier. No artifact issues to speak of, though.
Technical - Decent. No bugs that I'm aware of, and the scenario is a little innovative now and then. The dark indoor lighting for the Dragonite camp was interesting, but aside from that, the scenario isn't technically advanced.
Gameplay - Good. A good way to spend time for a higher-level party. Fun is to be had from the first moment to the last. I recommend it.