Eschalon Reviews

Ask questions, share hints or chat in general about Eschalon: Book I.
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Saxon1974
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Post by Saxon1974 » February 26th, 2008, 12:02 pm

BasiliskWrangler wrote:Ouch! Rick Moscatello of 2404.org gave Eschalon a crummy review. Well, all games have their critics and champions and I guess Eschalon was just not Rick's type of game. That's okay, we're still happy to have the coverage! :D
Well I guess everyone has their opinion I guess, and I disagree with this review quite a bit.

I find the part intersting about the Lighting in the dungeons. I wonder if he knew there are spells that improve your combat abilities in the dark. I really like this part of the game, it made the dungeons feel more realistic and made my character feel more like a night stalker type of guy.

Not sure why he says this is a 1986 era game. Unless he is trying to say gameplay is similar to games of 1986 and in that case I would probably agree but in my opinion that is a positive thing. I think games in that ERA had way better game play than today's games with the exception of graphics and interface. I think Eschalon has the fun of the those games of old but with better graphics and interface. Maybe if it had realtime combat and flashy bloom effects he would move it up to 1995 era.

He did say he wouldn't recommend it to the mainstream, and I don't think this game is intended for the mainstream gamer so I dont really understand that point either.

Oh well, Oblivion got like 10/10 from every critic, and I thought it was crap as an RPG so what do I know.

Basilisk, just know that you made this old school hardcore RPG player very happy and I look forward to more of your games.

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Post by PaSquall » February 26th, 2008, 12:26 pm

BasiliskWrangler wrote:Book I has been reviewed by the popular French culture blog L'Ombre du Z and given a rating of four Zs, which equates to "Come get some!". I can't read French nor do I fully understand their wacky rating system, but they seem to like the game.

Check it out here: http://ombreduz.blogspot.com/2008/02/ga ... ommes.html
The game gets a mark of 4 out of 6 : quite good.

Good points :
- immersive soundtrack
- day/night cycle (use of torches needed)
- books with useful info in them
- good quests and dialogs (although a bit limited)
- turn-based combat
- useful skills
- different hero builts
- influence of the atheist/believer choice on magic
- several possibilities to deal with doors and chests
- the fact that you are receptive to gamers suggestions and requests

His only criticisms are :
- (too) classic medfan world and story.
- quite difficult game.
- game a bit short.

However the game mostly receives praise, so I'd call this a good review.

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Post by BasiliskWrangler » February 26th, 2008, 12:29 pm

txa1265 wrote:I just posted my 'Top RPG's of 2007'at GamerDad's GamingWithChildren blog, and gave Eschalon my 'Indie RPG of the Year' nod. You can check the link for the full list.
Thanks txa1265!! We'll update the graphic on the front page for tomorrow's update with this.

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Post by realmzmaster » February 26th, 2008, 4:59 pm

It appears that Basilisk Games has hit a rich vein of silver and gold. The positive reviews out weigh the negatives BIG TIME! The nice part is the game keeps slowly sucking in more gamers who become fans. If this trend keeps up we may see Eschalon X: Will it ever end? I hope not. :D
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Post by RezoApio » March 13th, 2008, 4:08 pm

just found this on a french site http://trienbach.free.fr/lair/cuvee.htm about the review of the year 2007:

A ces deux titres, on n'oubliera pas un jeu dit "indie" réalisé par un petit studio avec des moyens limités, Eschalon: Book I, qu'il ne faut surtout pas manquer, même s'il est un peu court. LE jeu indie de l'année.

after these 2 titles (witcher and mask of the betrayal for NWN), we should not forget a game called "indie" made by a small studio with limited resources. Eschalon:Book I, that should be tried absolutely, even if it is somewhat small. THE indie game of the year.
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Post by jinnes » March 16th, 2008, 7:00 pm

Although it wasn't a review of Eschalon, GamerDad's review of Avencast opened with some significant praise of how Basilisk Games handled the publicity and release of Eschalon. It also called Escalon "a darling of the RPG community." Very nice! I thought it was worth posting here, since it might have slipped by since it wasn't in an actual review.

Here's the link to the review (of Avencast): http://gamerdad.com/detail.cfm?itemID=4038

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Post by thomasareed » March 25th, 2008, 8:18 am

I have played through Eschalon, Book I twice now, and have some comments about the game. Overall, I enjoyed it. The storyline was engaging enough without being either uninterestingly terse or too much like a novel with a little gameplay. The gameplay was good fun as well. I'm also constantly on the lookout for games that my kids can play, so it's always nice to find an RPG where the violence is fairly minimal and the... uh, let's say the "other kind of R-rated material" is absent.

However, I did have a number of gripes about the game that may prevent others from purchasing it. I'm running the risk of sounding excessively negative and being called an idiot, but I think it's probably more valuable for the programmers to hear about problems so they can fix them in future "books" of the game. So, with the disclaimer that I did enjoy the game overall, let me wade into my gripe list.

First and foremost was the animation speed. For a game whose graphics are not significantly better than games of 10-15 years ago, I am puzzled as to why certain areas cause the game to slow to a crawl on my 4-year-old PowerBook G4. My computer can run games like WarCraft III and Neverwinter Nights without any problems, as well as some less well-known games with much more sophisticated graphics. Of course, these are very different games from Eschalon. To compare apples to apples, so to speak, the Avernum game series has graphics very similar to Eschalon's, yet it also suffers no performance problems on my machine. So I view the performance of Eschalon as a major flaw that needs to be addressed.

Another major problem I had with the game was how cumbersome the movement system is. Perhaps addressing the previous issue would help with this to some degree, but regardless, I think there need to be more options on the Quick Travel menu. There is very little point in traveling through a region that you have totally cleared out, and it rapidly becomes dull. It only gets worse once you reach the southern area that cannot be left or entered via Quick Travel. The Quick Travel menu somehow feels like a game feature bent to fit the interface (ie, limited to how many place names could fit in the map area), which is always a mistake. The interface should always be modified to make the gameplay more fun, rather than the game modified to fit the interface. I don't know if that's what happened, but that's what it feels like.

I also got really, really annoyed to find that my fighter's focus on sword skill limited him to the less-powerful weapons in end-game. The best sword I found was a mithril sword that had a base damage of 6, while if I had focused on cleaving weapons, I could have used one that had a damage of 9. Why not a magic sword or something? Very frustrating in a fighter class, especially since we're steered straight into the sword skill by receiving it at the beginning. There needs to be more equity among the end-game weapons!

My other gripes are much more minor. For example, I felt that 3 skill points and 3 stat points per level is a bit skimpy in a game where you have to build a solo character who is good at everything to some degree. In a game like Avernum, where you have a party of characters, it would be okay to be skimpy with points, since each character can be a specialist. (On the other hand, I think the replay value of Eschalon is better, since you can replay with a different class, while in a party-based game you will play with characters of many different classes the first time through.)

I also thought that the ending was a bit of a let-down. By the time I get into the goblin fortress, goblins aren't very hard, but they're the main defenders. I waded through the fortress in about an hour my second time around, and part of that hour involved leaving to sell stuff and visit the "Easter Egg tree." After I get to the top, I find a teleporter straight to Bastion Spire and the end of the game, when I thought there was still a lot more to come. (I thought I'd have to fight my way to the Spire after dealing with the goblins.)

Finally, I absolutely HATE where the saved games are stored. Why, oh why, do developers feel that they can throw just anything into your Documents folder? I'm already putting up with Adobe Help Center and Microsoft User Data folders in there, and now I've got Eschalon Book 1 Saved Games? The Documents folder is mine, darn it, stay out! Put the saved games in Preferences, for Pete's sake!

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Post by acoustibop » March 25th, 2008, 8:38 am

Actually, the most powerful sword in the game is the Divine Ore Great Sword, with a Base Damage of 11, thomasareed and, of course, you can enhance this with +3 ToHit and +3 Damage. However, you can only get this sword by killing an NPC as part of a quest and then cheating the originator of the quest.

I didn't feel like doing that, but I didn't do too badly: I wound up with an Adamantine Great Sword +4 Damage - this sword has a Base Damage of 10, and it's not difficult to pick up the unenhanced version later in the game. I enhanced mine to +3 ToHit, as well - on balance, since it's 2lb lighter than the Divine Ore Great Sword, it may even be the better weapon to have, particularly if you can find the +4 Damage one (not common).

As far as harder endings are concerned, see this thread...

I don't have a problem with where the game saves are; but then I'm using Linux, and the saves are in a hidden folder in my Home folder - the best place for them anyway! ;)

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Post by Elwro » March 29th, 2008, 8:08 pm

Eschalon's review at RPG Codex: http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=170

(written by me :-))

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Post by BasiliskWrangler » March 30th, 2008, 10:39 am

Thanks Elwro. The link has been published on our front page.

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Post by Elwro » March 30th, 2008, 2:53 pm

Sorry because it's not the thread for such things, but people (most notably Shagnak from Tacticular Cancer / RPG Codex staff and Dhruin from RPG Watch) keep suggesting that I was wrong to say that the Speed attribute had no connection to the actual speed of character's movement. Could you tell me if I'm wrong?

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Post by BasiliskWrangler » March 30th, 2008, 9:03 pm

Elwro: no, and yes.

Really, you are correct. The Speed attribute doesn't effect on-screen physical movement. In the first draft of the rules, we were going to make speed correspond to number of hits per round, so that at Speed 20 you'd get 2 hits per round, at 30 you'd get 3 hits, etc. Anyone here who knows Eschalon's play mechanics can see the flaw in this: it is ridiculously overly powerful. So this was cut out in favor of the Haste spell/potion which does the same thing but for a limited length of time.

Now then, all creatures do have their own speed attribute as well and that does effect their on-screen movement rate. For example, you'll see that Acid Grubbs move noticeably slower than Taurex.

The plan for Book II is to implement a feature that I wanted to put into Book I but couldn't get it perfected in time: your speed effects everyone else's movement rate. I know, this is radical thinking, but it really simple. It's all based on relativity...you know, Einstein's ideas. As your speed increases, you'll never see yourself move faster but everyone else will move a little slower. For example, maybe you can't outrun a Taurex with a Speed of 10, but once you get to 20 you'll notice that you can nearly always out pace them, and if you get a Speed of 30 you'd have no trouble at all getting away from them even if you are surrounded.

Also, in Book I and II Speed still effects your Maximum Damage as well. The harder you can swing a weapon (Strength) and the faster you can do it (Speed) directly corresponds to the impact (Force) of your weapon.

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Post by Elwro » March 31st, 2008, 1:23 am

Thanks for the clarification!

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Post by Krafen » March 31st, 2008, 9:23 am

I really like your relative speed idea. Very original, I don't think I have ever seen that done. The closest I can think of was the PnP game Star Frontiers where everyone declared actions in reverse order of speed so you could react to the planned actions of slower people.

I also like your suggestion that some creatures will move faster than the player. It wasn't a big deal, but being able to move at least as fast as every creature I met seemed a little too easy at times. Kiting is a decent tactic, but it was a little too easy to do.

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Re: Eschalon Reviews

Post by peters » June 12th, 2008, 3:06 pm

Speaking of speed, I was reminded of a game called ADOM, that was also stat-heavy, but didn't bother with the graphics at all. ;)

In it, the speed stats of all present creatures were being added together, and whoever reached 1000, did an action. That supported slower as faster creatures, the character moving on his own rate, and sometimes he could move or attack multiple times, or was attacked so in turn. Easy.

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