• Announcements

    • Voice Powered Vehicle

      Logging in   05/10/2017

      If you had an account and can't log in as of 5/9/17, this may be because of a change in logins with new forum software. You can log in using your publicly displayed name (not your username) or your email address and the password you used before.   If you have problems with this, please ask any of the mods or admins. 
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Masayoshi

Finished Spiderweb games - recommendations for similar RPGs?

44 posts in this topic

So I've finally finished most of the modern Spiderweb games, including Avernum 1-6, Avadon 1-2, and the Avernum 1-2 remakes. I think I will eventually play the Geneforge games as remakes when they come out - might as well take advantage of the updates and modern UI conveniences.

 

Anyone have recommendations for other indie games that may scratch that same sort of Spiderweb itch? I've played a lot of the CRPG classics, like Baldur's Gate series, Icewind Dale series, Planescape, Arcanum, Fallouts, etc. But some newer ones (last 10 years or so) may have passed me by.

 

I apologize if it's not cool to mention other games here, but I figure it should be OK, since we're probably all going to play the next Spiderweb game when it comes out, so we need something between releases :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only other contemporary indie game developer I am aware of who has turn-based combat with an isometric view is Basilisk Games. There is a 3 book series called Eschalon. Personally, I think it is terrific. You can always download a demo and give it a try.

Zaego and Dear Potato like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you've mentioned Arcanum and Fallout series, maybe you could also be interested in these indie games:

The Age of Decadence

Underrail

Balrum

Lords of Xulima

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started Balrum and there are some things that I like about, but many things that frustrated me. I would consider it a work in progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second The Age of Decadence, that game is absolutely fantastic.

 

Other than that, it depends on what exactly you mean by similar. The recent Shadowrun games are real good, but deviate from the SW formula in major ways. They're story-focused isometric turn-based games with great writing, but they're pretty linear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give Divinity: Original Sin a try. It's kinda like if Avadon had a bigger effects budget, but less balance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh, I'm surprised to hear you say that. I guess we see that differently. Avadon had some wonky, exploitable balance issues, particularly turrets in Av2, but I think it was well-balanced in many ways: and certainly not any worse than AEFTP. It happened to come after two of the better balanced SW games, A6 and G5, but you don't have to go back too far to find the disasters of balance that were A4 and G1-3. (And I assume that you aren't considering the very old games: as much as we love Exile, it easily takes the cake for lack of balance.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spiderweb games lack balance because Jeff doesn't think the same as players that can find exploits. Balance gets better later n a series as exploits get removed and adjustments are made to remove the worst excesses.

 

Avadon 2 is better balanced than Avadon 1 with respect to evading getting hit when the evasion chance got reduced from 5% per point to 2.5%. Then the tinkermage class was added that had so many new exploits from evasion as a passive ability to turrets. It was even worse in beta, before some were fixed.

 

Avadon 3 is the best balanced of the series in removing some imbalances. There are still a few exploits, but they mostly only affect trash mob fights and don't work against bosses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you've mentioned Arcanum and Fallout series, maybe you could also be interested in these indie games:

The Age of Decadence

Underrail

Balrum

Lords of Xulima

 

I checked these out on Steam and decided to put Age of Decadence and Underrail on my wishlist. Thank you! I'll pick these up during the next sale.

 

Lords of Xulima reminded me too much of the Wizardry series, which was not my style and a little too frustrating for my tastes.

 

The only other contemporary indie game developer I am aware of who has turn-based combat with an isometric view is Basilisk Games. There is a 3 book series called Eschalon. Personally, I think it is terrific. You can always download a demo and give it a try.

 

Eschalon seems kinda cool, but I was turned off by only controlling one character - heard reports on the repetitiveness of battles. Did you find differently?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give Divinity: Original Sin a try. It's kinda like if Avadon had a bigger effects budget, but less balance.

 

Thanks, this looks great. On the wishlist :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eschalon doesn't have as much content as Spiderweb games so while there are differences in the fights, there is also a lot of sameness within a zone where you fight the same types of monsters. For example in the underground area you face lots of goblins and there are three types and the boss goblin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might want to look at Pillars of Eternity to see if that interests you.

 

It's a slight divergence (a little base-building, and the combat, while turn-based and strategic, is kind of a card game??) but high on my wishlist is Thea: The Awakening - I too was searching for games like Spiderweb games and found that as something I think I'd really enjoy.

 

You might like AntharioN. I will also third the Age of Decadence. If you're hungry for something similar to Spiderweb combat check out Tales of Maj'Eyal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some great suggestions in here, thank you all (I too am looking for something new to play - at least up until Sept 14th when Avadon 3 comes out (according to Jeff's FB post of 15 min ago...)).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pillars of Eternity is more than anything else a very deliberate throwback to Baldur's Gate. It's not D&D, but it plays very similarly and has a very Infinity Engine style in both gameplay and story. That should really tell you whether you want to play it or not.

 

—Alorael, who enjoyed it very much but then ended up not finishing it. He got distracted, and then he got distracted from his distraction, and now he contemplates diving back in and doesn't.

Rhinestone Jedi likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Age of Decadence is great. Play that before you play anything else people have mentioned. I'd second Underrail and also recommend the Shadowrun games. Especially the last 2 (the first recent reboot, "Shadow Run Returns," isn't as good as "Dragonfall" and "Hong Kong"). Plus, the Shadowruns have more sci-fi elements and a neat blade runner aesthetic, which is a welcome change of pace from the usual fantasy tropes.

 

I found the Eschalons to be incredibly dull, so I wouldn't bother with them. The first might have been great 6 years ago before the indie boom, but now there are just too many better games to play and the sequels didn't improve much on the first,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pillars of Eternity is more than anything else a very deliberate throwback to Baldur's Gate. It's not D&D, but it plays very similarly and has a very Infinity Engine style in both gameplay and story. That should really tell you whether you want to play it or not.

 

—Alorael, who enjoyed it very much but then ended up not finishing it. He got distracted, and then he got distracted from his distraction, and now he contemplates diving back in and doesn't.

 

PoE is worth completing, but it takes a while to get interesting. I didn't find it particularly compelling until the very end when there is a major universe twist that actually kind of made me want to replay the game with the twist in mind. Up until that point it didn't really grab me, but that's probably just because I was too daft to realize what the game universe was until the ending spelled it out. It's strictly lore stuff, as opposed to plot, but I'll tag it anyway:

the universe is more or less an RPG version of Gnosticism, where the gods are all various levels of demiurges bent on masking the truth of spiritual reality from mankind and controlling its essence, which I find really cool. Especially since the game doesn't railroad you in to one perspective on this or religion in general, allowing for a bunch of different stances toward it from outright atheism, to demiurge worship, to maintaining the possibility that there might be a higher more mystical power above the demiurges

. Now that the universe is set up, I think the sequel could be really awesome depending on where they go with it.

Bring on Gnostic Jesus rebelling against the gods, please.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eschalon seems kinda cool, but I was turned off by only controlling one character - heard reports on the repetitiveness of battles. Did you find differently?

 

It was less the repetitiveness of the combat that had me quit Eschalon3 after about 5 hours than the pointless tedium of going into the mine killing a few mobs and then having to go back to the surface to rest and recover before being able to go back a tiny bit deeper to kill something else. I ragequit about the time I realized I'd spent several times as long doing a single cycle to/from the surface loop as I did in fighting while underground. A UI that felt about as klunky as Geneforge 1 didn't help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eschalon is pretty fun but the interface is awkward and the games are very repetitive.

 

I don't regret buying them but I do find I only play them in short bursts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was less the repetitiveness of the combat that had me quit Eschalon3 after about 5 hours than the pointless tedium of going into the mine killing a few mobs and then having to go back to the surface to rest and recover before being able to go back a tiny bit deeper to kill something else. I ragequit about the time I realized I'd spent several times as long doing a single cycle to/from the surface loop as I did in fighting while underground. A UI that felt about as klunky as Geneforge 1 didn't help.

This has been my experience too. There are a lot of things I like about Eschalon, and BW does actually listen to player feedback, so there have been some improvements between games. But the games have a very slow feeling to them... the movement system is basically the old JRPG standard "PC in center of screen, scrolls through world" with a walking speed that is far too slow for that system; meanwhile, there is lots of "wait time" -- travelling through mostly empty landscapes, resting, etc. By the time Eschalon III finally came out (how long was it between those two games?) I found I just could not get myself to bother with it.

 

The game mechanics are fun, but they are about as unbalanced as Exile's, so there isn't a lot of challenge, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basilisk Games suffers from the same problem as Spiderweb Software in that it's mostly one person doing the work. BW revised the game engine between each game so it took longer and means that plans to add on to the games may never happen. Some players did make modifications to add more content that are available at their forums

 

I beta tested the last two Eschalon games and asked for more monsters. There is nothing worse than exploring a whole map zone and finding out there wasn't a single monster or item.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Available now:

Avadon 3: The Warborn

Eschalon Books 1, 2, and 3.

Lords of Xulima.

Serpent in the Staglands.

Divinity Original Sin

Wasteland 2

Age of Decadence

Pillars of Eternity

Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Shadowrun: Hong-Kong

Dead State

Underrail

 

Kind of similar: These are generally turn-based RPGs with tactical combat, but different from Spiderweb games in other ways.

Legends of Grimrock 1 and 2

Might and Magic X

Realms of Arkania remake

Banner Saga 1 and 2

 

Coming Soon:

Tyranny

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Shroud of the Avatar

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Bard's Tale 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trying to come up with (relatively) recent titles nobody's mentioned...

 

Expeditions: Conquistador is a really good turn-based RPG... It's kind of like Heroes of Might and Magic or King's Bounty in that it has an overworld/battle area distinction and some resource management, but like a Spiderweb RPG in that the combat is mostly small-scale skirmishes with a few persistent, levelling hero characters fighting a bunch of enemies. Also like a SW game in that it has a complex, morally ambiguous, branching story, with different factions you can side with. The sequel, Expeditions: Viking is coming out next year, and should be good too.

 

Miasma 1/2 are obscure-ish, brief XBLIG/PC games with turn-based tactical RPG combat.

 

Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion isn't really an RPG, more of a turn-based tactical wargame, but it has an RPG-like focus on story and character development (with a very large cast), and a very detailed fictional world (including a huge in-game encyclopedia).

 

The Telepath RPGs (http://sinisterdesign.net/) are pretty good.

 

Planet Alcatraz is a decent tactical RPG, but closer to (read: a knockoff of) Fallout 1/2, than to Spiderweb. Also, it has an atrocious/hilarious translation from Russian, incredibly poor voice acting (which never matches the subtitles) and some uncomfortable sexism/racism/homophobia, which is disappointingly common in Russian games. But hey, it's four bucks on Steam. (The sequel is also on Steam, but isn't translated into English, which is maybe just as well, because it apparently reuses 90% of the maps from the first game.)

 

Honorable Mentions:

Frayed Knights (decent old-school dungeon crawler; first person w/ turn-based party-based combat; worth mentioning cuz a) it's good and B) it has good writing)

Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire (isometric turn-based tactical RPG; I haven't played it, but I've had it strongly recommended to me)

 

PS I'd personally recommend against Eschalon. They're brief, repetitive, frustrating, and dull, from the barely-there story (you wake up with amnesia at the start of BOTH the first two games, despite being the same character; the plot doesn't really happen until the third game), the inexplicable design choices (a default 50% chance to hit, instead of the CRPG-standard, D&D-derived 95%; you need to spend precious skill points to have an automap at all; chest contents are random, so you'll often fight through a trash mob to be rewarded with literal trash- unless you savescum), and frankly the intense tedium and frustration of playing them (get ready to spend half your time in-game sleeping, because you only regain health very slowly, and healing potions are scarce, expensive, and precious). They're also super-short, especially the third one, which ends right where you'd expect the second act to get going. Hope Basilisk's mooted sci-fi RPG turns out good, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think I saw it here. Heroes of Steel is not bad. Takes a little bit of time to get used to the UI but it is quite a fun game. I suggest playing it on hard. Normal is quite easy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heavily recommend playing morrowind again. I bought it again recently. The graphics were a horrendous slap on my face, it took a while to get into it but its a good good game.

Arch-Mage Solberg likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look up Alan Wake on Steam. Nice little game. Not at all easy, but very fun. Good graphics and decent storyline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second what grimmader said. Heroes of Steel and Templar Battleforce (Trese Brothers games) are both good turn-based RPG's with nice storylines and deep combat strategy requiring skill synergies to make a group work well together on harder difficulties. There's also a Nightmare-level leaderboard with scoring based on game progress & resource efficiency if you feel competitive. Heroes of Steel is standard RPG setting while Templar is sci-fi RPG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bastard Bonds is neat, but the lack of an autosave function really knocks you in the teeth, considering the difficulty curve. Honestly, the title that's felt most like a Spiderweb game has been Tyranny, right down to the faction-picking and Omnicidal Neutral option.

Blxz likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a default 50% chance to hit, instead of the CRPG-standard, D&D-derived 95%

A little late to the party here. I agree about Eschalon in general but am confused by this comment. 95% has become common, maybe, but it definitely was not the standard in the classic CRPG days to which both Eschalon and Spiderweb games hearken back -- and it sure wasn't the standard in D&D of that era either, which was still using AC 10, THAC0 20 as the default hit roll.

 

And FWIW, most Spiderweb games have started with a default 50% hit chance for physical attacks, too (even if they make it very easy to climb up to the cap).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

D&D has been fairly consistent in having a roughly 50% chance to hit a roughly average target, with a lot of wiggle room because hitters and targets vary a lot. But 95% isn't really a big thing. If anything, D&D has taken a lot of criticism for the "whiff" factor of misses dragging out combats.

 

—Alorael, who would counter with miss-free games, a relatively recent phenomenon. It feels better to have hits and improved hits rather than hits and not-hits.

Blxz likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you can trace miss-free games back to Japanese console RPGs. Dragon Quest (1986) had tiny miss chances from the beginning; Final Fantasy (1987) used D&D-like miss chances, but with such a large number of swings per attack that actual whiffs became rare as you levelled up (with both hit % and number of hits getting pushed higher as the series progressed). This is to be contrasted with their primary precursors, Wizardry and Ultima, which both used D&D-like systems with plenty of misses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little late to the party here. I agree about Eschalon in general but am confused by this comment. 95% has become common, maybe, but it definitely was not the standard in the classic CRPG days to which both Eschalon and Spiderweb games hearken back -- and it sure wasn't the standard in D&D of that era either, which was still using AC 10, THAC0 20 as the default hit roll.

 

This is true, but I mean modern CRPG-standard, basically. The same holds for Eschalon's mapping system: in "old-school" CRPGs automapping was an exception rather than a rule, but to play a CRPG made in the past 15 years or so which doesn't have a tolerable automap system is... well, intolerable.

 

Eschalon adds insult to injury in both cases by forcing the player to spend precious, precious skill points to get their hit-rate and automap to reasonable levels.

 

Also, I kinda glossed over exactly how Eschalon's combat system works a little cause I didn't feel like explaining it in-depth in that post, and I felt like what I said communicated what I meant reasonably well. In Eschalon, the default hit-rate is 50%, but, confusingly, it isn't substantially effected by your skill with the weapon you're currently using, or WHICH weapon you're using, or even by your Dexterity stat. The one stat that affects hit-rate the most is "Concentration", and unless you're pumping skill points into Concentration every single level, you will very rapidly encounter enemies who are fast enough (or at least dodgy enough) to bring your hit-rate down to 25% or less. Even if you're pumping Concentration, you'll still encounter enemies who can bring your hit-rate down pretty low, and combat always seems to degenerate into a long series of misses punctuated by lucky hits. Further, IIRC, Concentration doesn't affect your own dodge rate against enemies, and since you're pumping all your points into it you won't have much chance to spend points on other skills like Strength or Dexterity; thus, the only really viable build in my experience is a big bumbling tank that can slowly chip away at the enemy's HP, unless you want every battle to be wildly luck-based.

 

(In the first game, actually, another viable build is what I guess you'd call "assassin": the game has an extremely broken stealth system that you can abuse extensively. You can hit an enemy- even the final boss- then instantly disappear into half-shadow, without said enemy having any idea where you are, and not even the AI to try to bump into you.)

 

Anyway, I guess you could say Eschalon tries to accurately hark back to the late 80s/early 90s of CRPG design... but you could say, perhaps equally validly, that CRPGs are not made like that any longer for a reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, a lot of older RPGs let melee-based characters make a large number of attack rolls per round at high levels, which smoothed out the randomness a bit. Modern RPGs (western ones, at least) have largely decided that the image of your fighter making five or ten attacks per round is too silly for them, so everything gets staked on one or maybe two rolls, with the results that we see. (The fear of being seen as silly is, I think, one of the more unfortunate trends in current game design in general, especially since it tends to produce results that are just as silly but in less interesting ways, but don't get me started on that.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh. I did not have that experience with either of the Eschalon games I played (the first two) -- I don't remember any difficulty maintaining high hit rates. I did research my stat allocation thoroughly, and I made extensive use of the game's buffs, which were close to Exile Bless level strong, IIRC. I don't think "big bumbling tank" is the only option, even before you consider magic-based builds.

 

IMO, Eschalon did some things very well (like its vibrant color palette) but other things were serious problems. Movement is painfully slow, to the point that I find any build that doesn't involve learning the Portal spell completely unplayable. And, yes, the automapping skill requirement is dumb. I think the skill system in general is the cause of a lot of Eschalon's imbalances, along with the irreplaceability of its spells.

 

Anyway, I guess you could say Eschalon tries to accurately hark back to the late 80s/early 90s of CRPG design... but you could say, perhaps equally validly, that CRPGs are not made like that any longer for a reason.

This is quite an extreme statement to make on the forum of a company that deliberately makes CRPGs like that ;) Seriously, though, if Eschalon had been released in the late 80's or early 90's, I don't think it would have risen to the top its genre even then. I don't mean to attack the game, which I enjoyed, but it has serious balance and game flow issues. Some games from that older era did, too, of course; but indicting the genre based on a single, seriously deficient member does not seem fair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eschalon did fix some exploits in the later games, but crossing the game maps was never fast between quick travel and portal points.

 

To hit had the same problems as in Spiderweb games, if you didn't allocate points properly when leveling up, you could easily drop your to hit rate.

 

It's major problem was lack of content. Too many places that were empty or almost empty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is quite an extreme statement to make on the forum of a company that deliberately makes CRPGs like that ;) Seriously, though, if Eschalon had been released in the late 80's or early 90's, I don't think it would have risen to the top its genre even then. I don't mean to attack the game, which I enjoyed, but it has serious balance and game flow issues. Some games from that older era did, too, of course; but indicting the genre based on a single, seriously deficient member does not seem fair.

 

I don't necessarily mean everything about CRPGs made at that time were bad... I just mean that there are certain features which developers tend to no longer use because they're not very fun (mazes), are frustrating for the user (excessive inventory juggling), or never really had much point in the first place (hunger/thirst systems, at least in non-survival-oriented RPGs). Even the best games of the era, while still good, usually fall prey to what would today be considered atrocious design, and I'm not sure most players enjoyed these things even at the time: they were just included in games because that was part of the genre, and inertia is powerful.

 

Spiderweb games show a pretty clear willingness to adapt and change with the times, while still evoking that prior era of CRPGs. Exile I (or even Avernum 1) compared to A:EFtP is like night and day: the reworking of the inventory system, the addition of fast travel, the rewriting and additions that try to make the plot more than just an excuse for a dungeon crawl, the addition of combat skills which make melee combat more than just extended blow-trading, the (almost total) deprecation of light sources... and so on. I don't mean that Exile I is a bad game per se, but a good number of its features and mechanics aren't terrifically exciting, and cutting them reduces the amount of busywork/technical management burden on the player, without really making the game overall less compelling or fun.

 

I'm sure there are people who miss some or all of these things, or don't like some of the additions, but Jeff Vogel does not appear to be one of them. (I kinda have to admire his almost hard-hearted lack of nostalgia for his own games, and willingness to rework them, sometimes brutally, to be more fun: A:EFtP isn't just "good for a remake of a 1990s RPG", it's good period.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even the best games of the era, while still good, usually fall prey to what would today be considered atrocious design, and I'm not sure most players enjoyed these things even at the time: they were just included in games because that was part of the genre, and inertia is powerful.

That's true to an extent -- but it's always true. Show me the best CRPGs from the modern era that don't have elements of atrocious design to them. Style and habit and inertia are powerful forces. The best games are often those whose craft and genuineness and creativity allow them to rise up above those forces, blazing new pathways forward.

 

However, as the genre moves along those new pathways forward, other problems creep in. The history of CRPGs is not a story of everything always getting better and getting closer and closer to some platonic ideal of a CRPG. Rather, it's a story of everything gradually changing, with radical improvements and descents into ugliness that take place simultaneously. There are individual games that are high points and low points, for sure, but I don't think that the genre as a whole is any better (nor particularly worse) today than it was then, though many tastes will be better satiated in one or the other era.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think game design's evolution is teleological; rather, I think it is like a drunk random-walking away from a lamppost (where the lamppost is bad game design). Over time, I think game design has gradually gotten better overall in that designers have a greater knowledge of what does and doesn't work, based on the experience of the past. Designers today have much more knowledge about what not to do than someone working in the 1980s. Control schemes are a good example of this: older console games (especially action games) often have awkward control schemes which force you to contort your hands painfully, whereas now, generally anyway, they're relatively standardized by genre into workable configurations.

 

In areas where modern games are worse than their predecessors, it's usually because of perennial issues and design fads. Writing is a perennial issue: I don't think video game writers working today are really any better than those who worked in the medium 20-30 years ago. Many are inept non-authors who rustle up plots and dialogue on the level of bad 40s pulp fiction. The ones who have more talent are usually people who've worked in other media- film/TV or literature- and don't really know how to properly communicate a story using the medium of video games. Everyone in the mainstream games industry seems to want to make games more "cinematic", and awkwardly import techniques from film, which really do not work in the medium of games, and at best result in games that alternate gameplay with overlong windy cutscenes. Even the supposedly best-written video games released today tend to be clumsy, emotionally manipulative, and unimaginative.

 

Conversely, video game music has never really been bad; at worst it's forgettable wallpaper, at best it's memorable and adds substantially to the game.

 

Procedural generation/randomization is a design fad. It feels like half the games coming out on steam use randomized or procedurally generated level designs, which superficially creates "endless replay value", but mainly just creates dull, forgettable, lifeless level designs. It may save on design effort for the developer, and it might artificially inflate the theoretical amount of "content" in a game, but the end result isn't usually very interesting.

 

There are a lot of things that are now common in video games that will eventually be considered horrible, I'm sure. But on the whole, I still feel that- at least partially because as an art medium, video games are inextricably intertwined with their mechanical functioning, even more so than film- game design will improve over time, on the whole.

 

This kinda turned into a design philosophy essay, but I didn't really intend it to. Oh well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But a lot of the design random walk is itself fads because in most ways it's hard to have some kind of objective way of evaluating good or bad for video games. (Like art, although that comparison has launched a thousand essays itself.) Is grind good, bad or neutral? Is random catastrophe good, bad, or neutral? It's all taste. Tastes have swung a lot over the years, but there's no way to know they won't swing back.

 

 

Realistic graphics have certainly gotten more realistic, but there's now new appetite for retro everything, including graphics. I don't know of anyone really misses the really blocky graphics of early 3D... but I'm sure they exist. So even that's unclear. Music likewise has gone from chiptunes to at least the possibility of full orchestral scores, but there are plenty of composers and players who like the old bleeps and bloops of retro chiptunes and quite deliberately choose to use them. Sometimes in conjunction with more "advanced" music.

 

 

—Alorael, who thinks video game nostalgia starts in the early to mid 90's. People want more games like that. There's much less pining for, say, the 1980's. Or the mid 2000's, for that matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But a lot of the design random walk is itself fads because in most ways it's hard to have some kind of objective way of evaluating good or bad for video games. (Like art, although that comparison has launched a thousand essays itself.) Is grind good, bad or neutral? Is random catastrophe good, bad, or neutral? It's all taste. Tastes have swung a lot over the years, but there's no way to know they won't swing back.

 

This is true; my evaluation of the overall quality of games is inevitably only subjective.

 

Realistic graphics have certainly gotten more realistic, but there's now new appetite for retro everything, including graphics. I don't know of anyone really misses the really blocky graphics of early 3D... but I'm sure they exist. So even that's unclear.

 

This is already happening: the forthcoming, successfully-Kickstartered Yooka-Laylee is an attempt to play on the nostalgia of 20-somethings for the awkward 3d platformers of the late 90s (albeit with smoother graphics); Minecraft has graphics blockier than any 3d game since the late 80s.

 

As time passes, I imagine the Window of Acceptable Nostalgia will progress forward in time as the decision-makers who decide what gets funded and made are replaced by younger people... or at least, the marketing people will decide to try to cater to younger people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming a bit late here.

 

Back when Exile series was released, there was another shareware series of RPGs that was ok, Realmz - not as good, imho, but still decent for the time. It was a series of quite long scenarios (long compared to Blades scenario for instance, but nowhere near as long as Exile/Avernum full games of course).

Though it was Mac-only then, I've seen a Windows freeware version a few years ago. Of course, it's really a late-1990s game, so it's just like playing original Exile after playing the latest Avernum - not for everyone's tastes, considering the dated graphics and overall design.

 

Apart from Baldur's Gate already mentioned, I'd say the next game that gave me some feelings quite similar to Exile - big open world where you can quest where you want, and with some areas where you'll get bashed by high-level mobs, plenty of quests, plenty of side-quests, you don't get much indications or pointers on your map where to go to do the quests, game that don't take you by the hand as you're a useless newbie, game that'll take you tens of hours to visit - was Morrowind.

Of course, gameplay is a bit different, but the overall feel was, for me, not too far off. More recent Elder Scrolls might apply as well, though to a lesser extent. WItcher 3 might possibly have a few similar aspects, to a lesser extent as well. And if I mostly think of big open world to discover with quests everywhere and a huge level of freedom as to what you do, where you quest, and the like, there was the WOW of old, before the original zones were entirely remade in the Cataclysm expansion - LOTRO would qualify as well. Though I begin to deal with more and more different kinds of games here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0