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Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: June 18th, 2008, 10:00 am
by Asgard The Elder
Old school RPG gaming at its' best. Takes me back to the days of Ultima (my first RPG). I just finished my first run through of Eschalon Book I and am ready for Book II and III etc.
Not since Icewind Dale have I had so much fun with a game. The KISS aproach is refreshing in these days of the massively overcomplicated multiplayer universe game. Two thumbs up and a solid 9.9 out of ten for this the first (I hope) of a long line of games (the tenth deduction is because I couldn't steal fom the shops.)

Now I am off to try a different approach to see if the game is as replayable as I think it is and looks to be.

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: June 23rd, 2008, 5:45 am
by reddeye5
Wow,..loving life with this game. The atmospheric sound effects and expansive world ad environs. Oblivion will allways be my favorite rpg. But this is like a classic style Oblivion. You are not forced into anything and you may explore where you want. Very relaxing rpg,...although it does get intense once you're life bar gets near the end.

A solid 9.0. Can't wait for book two:)

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: June 26th, 2008, 10:49 pm
by Dragonlady
I just got issue #140 of Kenzer and Company's "Knights of the Dinner Table" magazine (June issue). On page 69, "Disks of Wonrous Power" column, there is a fairly decent write-up about Escalon: Book ! About two and a quarter columns worth. Just thought someone might want to take a looksee: Get an issue at most local Gaming stores or online at the Kenzer Co. website. :) If you don't like the writeup, you'll love the rest of the articles and cartoons. :lol:

Basilisk, have you seen this one yet?

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: June 27th, 2008, 6:44 am
by BasiliskWrangler
Dragonlady wrote:Basilisk, have you seen this one yet?
No, I haven't. I'll stop by the bookstore today and look for a copy. Thanx! :)

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: July 6th, 2008, 11:52 am
by avv
Here's my review, probably mentioning things that's been said x1000 times.

- Skills were cool, however other skills were less useful than others but still equally expensive. It would be reasonable that lock-picking costs somehow less than swords-skill.

- Shops were cool because there were always new stuff every now and then

- Random loot wasn't too good idea since it's so exploitable.

- Cool potions and alchemy with easy and cute potion-making system. It would be cool if there was some stat-rising super potions with very rare ingredients.

- Great graphics and sounds. It just surprised me that there were no 2-handed weapons. I mean come on! Double battleaxe is one-handed :O

- Too much WALKING! Travel menu helped, but still, too much walking. I hope this has been fixed in second book. Walking was especially boring because there was so little encounters. It would be cool to find some hidden satchels or potion ingredients while wandering in the wilds. If you have played Avernum-game series u migh know what i mean.

- Quests were cool. Somebody always wanted something, too bad there wasn't randomly generated quests which could be farmed. For example = find 10 skulls, bring them to someone.

- Books and trainers weren't cool because you couldn't tell which skills were trainable at the beginning. So basically choosing bows from the beginning is waste of skillpoints because it can be trained for money or learnt from a book.

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: July 19th, 2008, 7:44 am
by Zorlac
BasiliskWrangler wrote:
Dragonlady wrote:Basilisk, have you seen this one yet?
No, I haven't. I'll stop by the bookstore today and look for a copy. Thanx! :)
Looks like you can buy it online too if you don't mind emptying your printer of ink. ... cts_id=623

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: July 19th, 2008, 7:54 am
by Mongolian
wow avv..what a really good post.hope someone uses your suggestions.

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: August 2nd, 2008, 12:11 pm
by Scryler
For the most part, I love this game! I agree that there is too much walking and I would enjoy a pet of some kind...maybe a pet shop??? (But no dragon mills, please!)

Edit: Finally reached a point where I have more quick travel locations!

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 9:38 pm
by Evnissyen
I do agree that some skills seem to have been neglected. Dodge, for its minimal gain, did not seem very useful to invest in. Move Silently doesn't seem useful since the gamer's intention, I assume, is to find as many opponents as necessary so you can kill them and boost your XP. I'm still not sure exactly what Meditation does. Except for especially complicated locks (for which purpose there are helpful gloves to boost your skill), Pick Locks is useful to have only 1 point in, since additional points reduce your XP gain (it's my feeling that XP gains shouldn't be reduced per level). Spot Hidden & Perception: I'm still not sure which is more effective to invest in (I think it's Perception), or for that matter how these two interact. Unarmed Combat seems useless (in Book II, I would suggest making this skill a given). The two armor skills I would suggest should be combined... and thus, those with higher Armor skill would be capable of wearing Heavy Armor. Also, Mercantile skill I feel should give you more substantial gains at higher levels: it's a skill I'd love to invest in but it only seems useful when you're building your character and need the money, but at the same time need the skill points to invest in other, more pressing skills. Later on: Money doesn't seem as much an issue. (And on that point: We should probably get more than 3 points to spend per level gain... it seems a little limited... or else, like Avv suggested, offer stat-boosting potions.) ...And then, the Attributes: I'm still not sure how exactly Concentration helps you.

With shops it's nice to see new equipment now and then, although a disappointment to see items that I've been eyeing disappear. Eschalon's obviously not the only game that does things this way, and I do like returning to a shop in anticipation of the new items they might have brought in. Maybe Book II could handle the disappearing-item problem by allowing the player to place an item "on hold", for a small fee? Did someone suggest that before?

True that random loot is exploitable, but I'm not sure I'd take it out. Well, maybe. It does tend to slow the game down since I'm always reloading with every chest and barrel I check, to make sure I get the best loot.

I'm guessing that the reason that there are only one-handed weapons is to allow us to carry a torch. But with light-casting spells at our disposal, you're probably right.

As others have said and I've said: Yes, we should be able to run, and there should be more quick-travel locations (ideally: one for every area, and also some interesting people to revisit in many of these areas who require some walking to get to -- I know I've said this one before). I think I've seen it noted that Book II will at least have a faster walking speed and also a few more quick-travel locations.

And finally, on Books and trainers: All the more reason to play the game again! Now that you have a better idea on how to strategize with your points.

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: August 6th, 2008, 11:14 am
by BasiliskWrangler
Gaming Nexus has posted a great review of Eschalon: Book I....

Eschalon Review on Gaming Nexus

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: August 6th, 2008, 12:56 pm
by Kreador Freeaxe
BasiliskWrangler wrote:Gaming Nexus has posted a great review of Eschalon: Book I....

Eschalon Review on Gaming Nexus

Great review seems a bit mild. :) Very nice.

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: August 6th, 2008, 10:05 pm
by realmzmaster
The Gaming Nexus review was funny, entertaining and oh so true!

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: August 7th, 2008, 10:38 am
by Rune_74
Very good review from a guy that started out not wanting to like it...congratz well deserved.

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: August 18th, 2008, 6:11 am
by Evnissyen
One thing first: In the notes-written-to-amnesiac-self, I wasn't thinking Memento as the reviewer on Gaming Nexus was . . . I was thinking Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan. The notes-to-self were not really an original conceit, but in a way it made a nice sort of tribute, even if I'm the only one here who thought of that book. I suppose Memento would be the more common connection.

Anyhow... last time I played Eschalon was the end of July, at which point I was just shy of level 11. Up until then I was hooked, but I really haven't had the urge to play the game since. Therefore... I figured I'd go ahead and review the game anyhow, considering that Book II is edging ever closer.

Maybe if I manage to get back into the game I'll write a more comprehensive review, but I suppose this'll have to do for now. I want Book II to be better than Book I.

First: At least so far, the plot and story were okay, but both were thin. It's not so much plot that concerns me as it is the story and how the NPC's themselves relate to the story. None of this was strong enough, it seems, to really sustain me past level 11. I really hope there's some expansion on all of this in the 2nd installment. I'm looking forward to a more fleshed-out story.

About the NPC's: There should really be more character development here... some personality added to these characters and some real purpose for their relation to you other than simply to hand out a single quest or to sell you equipment or train you. There should be characters in the game who end up becoming actively involved, in some way, with the player's character and especially with the story.

Then there's the gameplay: the slow walking, and the paucity of quick-travel points. The melee is not an issue with me. What's actually much more bothersome is the spells. The offensive spells are simply not powerful enough, and they aren't afforded the kind of animation that I think they really deserve. What I mean is that when I use a spell, I want to actually feel the sense of 'power' that they imply. If I cast a Fireball spell or a Deep Freeze spell, I want to see some animation that reflects the sort of power that's being unleashed... and I want to see some significant damage. (As it is, melee is easier to use and it's more damaging, and it doesn't cost mana.) "Sunder Flesh" sounds like a truly nasty spell, but in practice it doesn't play out that way. Maybe some more satisfying sound to match the more satisfying graphics/animation would be nice to give the player that sense of power being unleashed when he/she casts one of these spells.

Then there's the mana drain. This would be fine if mana were recovered much more quickly. In order to make spellcasting a viable strategy, mana needs to be recoverable very quickly on a passive basis . . . you shouldn't need to camp out for 12 hours or so in order to restore your mana.

(And... at the start of the game, even as a Magick User, you wake up knowing no spells and having no money to buy them with even if you make a mad rush to Aridell (after finding out about the town's existence, of course, as well as its location) (and even then you still have to kill those two salamanders who're blocking the bridge). You're really forced to train in knives first; you don't really get a choice. Maybe a good solution would've been for your character to keep some helpful items before he or she drank the amnesia potion. If you choose Magick User then you find some useful scrolls. If you pick Cleaving Weapons then you find an ax.)

Then there's the issue of leveling up... when you increase a stat that affects your hit points or mana points, then your hit points or mana points should be affected immediately and retroactively. If you increase Wisdom or Intelligence, then you should notice your mana go up in accordance with the level you've reached.

(By the way . . . if you're not a Healer or a Magick User: which trait raises your mana points? Intelligence or Wisdom? I'm guessing Intelligence, but haven't made a significant effort to test this out.)

The graphics are really extremely well-worked. But ultimately this just isn't enough. The game needs more substance, and the spellcasting needs to be friendlier and the spells to both be more powerful and feel more powerful.

So, there it is... for now, at any rate. If Book II does have a stronger story and more fleshed-out NPC's, some of whom become involved with the story and with your character, and spells are made more powerful and provided the kind of animation and sound they deserve... then I'd definitely be willing to beta-test it, for all the work it might require.

Re: Eschalon Reviews

Posted: August 18th, 2008, 6:35 am
by VPeric
Evnissyen wrote:Maybe a good solution would've been for your character to keep some helpful items before he or she drank the amnesia potion. If you choose Magick User then you find some useful scrolls. If you pick Cleaving Weapons then you find an ax.)
You didn't perchance miss the hollow treestump next to the starting place, did you? You get some class-dependant starting equipment - including a spell for the magic classes.