Praise when praise is due

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Joined: 26 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: Praise when praise is due Reply with quote
I feel really awkward doing this but sometimes you just can't avoid it. I'm taking advantage of the ecstatic schoolgirl moment after finishing the game with my first party to write this thank you post, which is rare for me, but there are works such as this wonderful gem that just prompts you to do it, even if it makes all the red lights in your lurker mentality flash.

I used to visit this site on a non-regular basis just to check out if the second installment of the game would come out. I seriously doubted it would, given that indie game developers often don't have the time, money, support, dedication or whatnot to finish their projects. Man, have I been proved me wrong, I never felt happier to have my skeptical expectations shattered.

Well, so it came out and I rushed for my credit card to buy it just to realize I didn't finish the first one due to its somewhat frustrating difficulty. I fired it up and finished it in record time (and with three party combinations, no less) and thought it was actually quite easier this time around, albeit with some frustrating moments (Duente's manor comes to mind).

I then proceeded to buy the game and run it and wow, it was a sight to behold, it was an amazing improvement over each and every aspect of the first one. The backgrounds were even more detailed, the characters too (and with more animation frames to boot), the story and setting seemed much, much more concise, the combat and skill systems blew me away with the possibilities, the music just didn't seem to be the work of only one guy. I was, officially, in awe.

I just finished my first playthrough (with Ionae (I'm in love with her btw), Ferwin and Enshadu (definitely my favorite tse character ever)) and have only minor gripes with it, namely:

- Its length. Yeah, you knew this was coming, when a game feels great like this, no matter how many hours you put into it, it just feels it needed more, but alas, all good things must come to an end.

-Some parts of it felt rushed, namely the three characters' story arc endings. IMNSHO they could have been detailed further, as they all go *BOOM* (NPCs pop up from nowhere) "Hi! here's the plot device you need to fulfill your role in this saga, kthxbai!" I realy thought they deserved better (Enshadu especially). Same goes for the very last scene which just left a funny taste in my mouth. I mean, it's not because it's open ended (which I prefer over happy/tragic endings) it's because it's plain anti-climatic after the conclusion of the fight with Batiste, and made me go "eh, ok, I didn't really need that scene, but whatever"

-Itemization somewhat bothered me in that it didn't reward my playstyle. I like to tailor characters' skills based on their personalities and go from there. In the end I had to replace lots of equipment that was just plain better, giving up the bonuses to the skills I cherished so much. I understand that the nature of the skill system is vastly more flexible than the original and that I should have taken more advantage of it, but I'm one of those people that like to make the rules work for me rather than the other way around, and managed to beat it anyway. I'd love to see some custom equipment editor but I can see why this would be a balancing nightmare.

And that's it, everything else was pure joy. The characters are very complex and believable, and you managed to dupe most of my expectations regarding plot and character motivations (It was funny trying to figure Batiste out, for example. I was all like:"oh no, not another clichéd machiavelic nihilistic villain" to "ok, he'll go all Ozymandias on me" to finally understanding that deep within, he was hurt beyond repair. It was a very satisfying experience). You did a wonderful job dodging the clichés and only used archetypes for what they are worth: ideal expressions of human hopes, doubts, flaws and qualities and went from there.

And there you have it, all in all a game that stands on its own and, besides from cutting edge 3d-10-texture-pass graphics it's much more unique and professional than all those warcraft clones we are so tired to explore hoping they will innovate somehow and becoming ultimately disappointed. Sorry about the wall of text and abusive use of parenthesis, it's a consequence of a brief nerd groupie moment. Thank you very much!

Brazil loves TSE (well, at least one of them does Razz )!!!
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Mark Pay
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Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Posts: 626
Location: Margate, UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thank-you Bluegrass! I am humbled that both yourself and others have felt positive enough about the game upon completing it to share their thoughts in such lengthy posts.
It has also been very rewarding to see interest in the game from non-English speaking countries, especially given how much text there is a game like TSE2.
So hello to Brazil! I know that the games market around the world can be very different to what we assume to be the norm in Western Europe and the US and I appreciate your support.

Enshadu's ending is anticlimatic, I agree. His side-story wrote itself into a situation that would have been difficult to resolve in a more satisfyingly dramatic fashion without a lot of work. It was written this way from the start and by the end of development I was exhausted enough to be glad of this earlier decision.
Ionae's arc I didn't really see as ending during the game. Her Chapter 7 scene was intended more as a confirmation of her origins than a conclusion of her development. ( and what a difficult scene that was to implement too! )
Ferwin's arc is very traditional and straightforward. Although I fear he will be considered 'boring', I was happy with the wedding scene and the subsequent change to the combat in Chapter 7. I decided that bringing Marie through the rest of the game and providing additional character insight would have required too much work.

The final ending was difficult. Though I knew it would disappoint for some, I could think of no more appropriate note to end the game on. I think it's reception may depend much on the mood of the player after the final battle. I don't really know though! I certainly don't regret it, and I adore the music that Josh wrote.

I do intend to eventually release the editors for dialogue first to allow translation, followed by the editors for items, skills and miscellaneous other data.

Trying to avoid cliches in the story was sometimes difficult, because some tropes are commonly used for a reason - they're really good dramatic devices! I'm glad that you were satisfied with the characterisations, because a story is rarely better than its actors.

Thank-you again! Very Happy
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Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bluegrass, thank you for opening this topic - so I can use it for also saying thanks to you, Mark Very Happy
TSE 2 is a great game considering everything - the plot, the characters, the graphics, the music (here thanks to you, Josh Very Happy ) , the dialogues ...

For me the adventure began with buying it - bmt micro was a very friendly help at my side in the struggle with my computer problems. Now I'm in chapter 6 (I am an unexperienced player - this game is the third of it's kind I'm doing at all, and I don't have much time to play), just got over the Bitten Breading Fields and looking forward to what will come.

As another player from a not English speaking country I have to say that there is'nt any problem with the text - it is as interesting as everything in the game, and for any difficulty I've got a dictionary (that I used two times up to now).
Something special I like very much both in TSE1 and 2 is the sense of humor shining through - as calling a country 'mango republic' or giving this real big blunt monster in TSE2 the same name as the most primitive weapon in TSE1 ...

You see, I'm really content Very Happy - and hope there will be a part 3, some time Very Happy
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