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Thread: A List of Gripes for the Reviewers of the game: Setting Things Straight [SPOILERS]

  1. #1
    Junior Member Bastilean's Avatar
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    Jan 2014

    A List of Gripes for the Reviewers of the game: Setting Things Straight [SPOILERS]

    Ok, so I just finished the game, and I wanted to share my list of gripes if only because I had some expectations when I purchased this game, and I want to share how I felt a little disappointed because the expectations built up by the myriad of reviewers did not fairly represent the game.

    1. The game is short. I beat it in 12 hours. The dialogue is rail roaded to the plot and there is very little difference you can make to the main plot and what happens more than skipping over points in the game. There is not much for multiple plot endings easter eggs to find. Case in point, I am not sure that having a caravan at all has any effect on whether you can complete the game or what happens in the game. Shouldn't that be important? To be honest, I was wondering if you could lose the game at all. No matter how bad a leader you are or how many battles you lose the game marches on to the finish. Then, out of no where the last battle becomes an eight-ball where the arrow carrier dying can give you a game over. Who saw that coming? To make matters worse, nothing is resolved by the end of the game. There is a whole thread on this here.

    2. The setting is defeated. The Varl are created and not born. This makes their story romantic but meaningless. They are going to pass away eventually, so why should we care about their numbers? I would recommend remedying this in the story and also work on flushing out the area with more interesting creatures. It becomes worse as the game progresses because every major Varl city gets bulldozed and ransacked by Dredge. The bridge scene adds salt to the gaping wound. We are losing all of our bearded unicorns! What do?

    3. MANY MANY reviewers commented on how the story has a George R R Martin (Game of Thrones) inspiration. The only credible reference to Game of Thrones in the story at all is the cheeky rip-off of Dredge being forced out of the North by an even more unspeakable darkness. To be fair, this has been a thing since Warhammer: Felix & Grotek, but that does not make Felix & Grotek inspired by Game of Thrones. There is no sex, inbreeding or lots of dark twists that might make me think an actual story by George R R Martin inspired the writer. Dragon Age: Origins is a master piece of a video game that accomplished all of this before G.R.R.Martin was as widely recognized for his skillmanship in writing, and the next time someone wants to invoke the name of G.R.R.Martin they better do their homework. This is clearly a Tolkien-esk story from start to finish but with less depth and mastery. Don't get me wrong. I like Tolkien and I like the story, but it was short and it was not Game of Thrones.

    Tolkien Concepts that ran deep in the story:
    a. Wizard does not arrive when she says she will.
    b. Party of people who must band together for their greater good and their survival.
    c. Betrayal and usurpation of leadership.
    d. Hero is uniquely qualified by coming from a quaint little corner of the world.
    e. High value for life and numbers of peoples. Keeping tabs on kills. Etc.

    4. The art was good but limited. There was no animation and they didn't even show what the bridge looked like getting destroyed. This would be an excellent opportunity for a beautiful drawing. Also, many of the early game play just felt quiet and empty, especially during discussions in town. Some background sounds other than the wind and nature while in town would be nice.

    5. The game was good but had bugs. I could not see many of the last travel scenes due to a software issue. Some times heroes teleport around the battlefield due to a bug and some times they do not gain will power when you blow the horn. The game runs particularly poorly on lower resolutions that might otherwise find this game more appealing. This game was developed privately. I don't see why it was released without proper quality testing. In the future, I recommend releasing the game as a beta (you can even sell beta access in your kickstart), and then the full release can be made after play testing the game for issues. I have also experienced similar issues with other Kickstarter games, and I feel if crowd funding is going to be more than a flash in the pan players need quality products to point to.

    Please do not feel like I am picking on Stoic, because I feel like a fun experience was had. I do feel like the reviews have all been rather generous and I feel that people should have an honest review to read regarding the breadth and quality of this game. It's a quaint experience worth the $25 dollar value.
    Last edited by Bastilean; 01-19-2014 at 12:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Bastilean View Post
    1. The game is short.
    2. The setting is defeated. The Varl are created and not born. This makes their story romantic but meaningless.
    3. The story has a George R R Martin (Game of Thrones) inspiration.
    4. The art was good but limited.
    5. The game was good but had bugs.
    I see your points and agree with some of them. We all learn, sooner or later, to take reviews with a pinch of salt Some comments on your comments:

    1. We'd all like it to be longer, wouldn't we? Ain't we always sad when our favorite <activity> ends? I'd go for adding more random events/battles/dialogue; it seems easy to remedy that way. More dialogue would help flesh-out some characters even more, while more events/battles would bring more renown etc.
    2. I fail to grasp your "complaint" with that, really. And, what does it have to do with the reviews? Perhaps this story will end with gods coming back to life...?
    3. I can see your point here; TBS is a rather typical fantasy (i.e. Tolkien-esque) with elements of this-and-that. But, can we blame an artist for not being faithful in what he lists as his inspiration? I believe what most reviewers found GRRM-esque is the sadness, desperation & perma-death that the game tries (and succeeds to a respectable extent) to convey.
    4. I think this is the same case as #1 (short game). We'd love more-more-more, wouldn't we? How much is enough? Is there such a thing as "enough" when it comes to something you passionately (wanna) love?
    5. I agree that the QA and balancing could have been better. I wasn't bugged by bugs, but from imbalance issues. The game will be patched soon enough, alright, but some things were a little too off; especially the population/renown/supplies issues in Chapter 6.
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  3. #3
    Banging on about which authors inspired which story elements seems pointless to me. I'm clearly not as big of a pulp fantasy geek as some, but I know that Tolkein took his inspiration from somewhere too. For example, "betrayal and usurpation of leadership"... that one actually was written by History before Tolkein got to it. If you had really cared about where inspiration was taken from, I guess the devs have done a ton of interviews and blog posts on all aspects of the game, including its story. Probably the closest touch-stone is King of Dragon Pass, which takes place in this fantasy world:

    I agree with your other points. I can see why they went with the decisions leading to your 1 and 4 (though I'm very impressed with the size and beauty of the game, even not taking into account their time and budget constraints), but don't understand why they didn't take advantage of free QA from more backers (your point 5) to help balance things out and eliminate unclear text and typos.

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