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Renown Explorers : Boring Society

 
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PhoneLobster
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 6199

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:22 am    Post subject: Renown Explorers : Boring Society Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, I had this discount thing going on and it looked fun, "interesting" art, an interesting idea for game play, and some zany social combat stuff. Surely I would find something to like in this little game.

Spoiler alert, I found nothing I liked in this little game.

It's got some overwhelmingly positive reviews around... aaaand then you discover that's because it's got a committed fan base of "hard cores for realz gamerz" and... well yeah... it's a casual game presenting itself as hard core largely because it can't do game balance for fucking shit and fan boys can't tell the difference.

Let me talk about a few things that REALLY push my buttons about this "game".

1) Tactical Positioning... right?
WRONG, like so many god damn games that don't grasp the point of even having tactical positioning in combat... everyone moves way too far, limitations on moving through characters or scenery are inconsistent and minor and basically if something wants to move next to something else for their stupid god damn attack? Then unless you are on the other side of the fucking map then they totally can.

2) Transparency? Sure we'll give you Transparency, sort of...
The game gives a lot of information. If you can find it, if you can figure out what it means and if you even god damn care.

It is needlessly complex in stupid ways, for example, you earn multiple tokens which are worth multiple types of currency, for some reason some tokens have just short of no role other than to be worth (mostly random?) amounts of the actual currencies, then you get various bonuses that sometimes give you things that pretend to be abilities like like 0-1 of currency X for each token that generates (far more of) currency X!

The game technically has agro mechanics in it, it doesn't ever TELL you that, and even once you know you will puzzle over the inexplicable sudden bouts of non-optimal targetting alternating with brutal focus fire the "AI" will throw at you.

3) Combat Goal? "Tank Everything, Focus the one guy". Repeat.
Combats or "encounters" seem to have two basic goals, the rare "minor fight vs a few weak guys" where you need to defeat them all, and the most common main encounter type...

... "kill the boss". Fight a single character who can take on your whole damn party (and then some because you WILL be under resourced outside of the tutorial level because "lol, hardcore means you can never actually have the resources your characters need to be competent in their roles! am I rite?"

But the boss gets minions. And they get what might as well be infinite fucking reinforcements of them. You might thin them a bit, but in the end you basically have to tank the boss for at least 2 to 3 rounds (because it takes your ENTIRE PARTY attacking him that often to take him down, IF he is a "standard" boss and not an "epic" boss!) AND while you do so probably tank about an average of extra unavoidable hit per party member per turn from minions what with them infinitely turning up and positioning meaning just short of fucking nothing.

4) Your Only Tactic is to kill things by grinding them into the ground with your own face
So what happens in games where positioning means nothing and it's a race to grind down tanky bosses in fields of infinite unavoidable damage sources?

Why an utter reliance on your basic attributes. You win and lose fights not on smart, or indeed ANY decisions, you win and lose them on dice rolls (to a very limited degree since about the only way that applies is if you pick a certain combat mood as your target), and on whether or not you can tank the required damage and deal the required damage fast enough while doing so.

Bring the right gear for the right lame numeric bonuses or DIE. Oh, and yeah, it's "hardcore" so... you can't actually afford the right gear for even ONE out of three characters... so it sucks to be you.

5) Rock, Paper, Fuck You
The game has three broad groups of attack. They are called other things, but they are basically physical attacks, deceptive attacks, and friendly attacks.

There is a sort of rock paper scissors thing going on... sort of and you DO get three characters for your party.

So clearly you bring a balanced party with one each of the four character types...

... wait... FOUR character types? Why yes, oh and they have numerous sub types and... mostly that just means they get access to different stupid keywords that give them stupid bonuses on the stupid pure dice roll out of combat exploration events that are stupid. In the mean time they pretty much at random are good or bad at various or the three main combat types.

SO, clearly you bring a balanced party with one each of rock paper and scissors... WELL NO, bring a god damn unballanced one, OR DIE, because actually the rock paper scissors balance is more of a pile of poop and blind dumb unreactive specialization is Teh Win. Specialize in two things... and merely suffer, or specialise in one to stand a real chance. So there is the whole fucking rock paper scissors dynamic right out the fucking window right there.

OH BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE. Because it isn't even precisely a pure rock paper scissors dynamic. Instead the combat has a "mood" and your attack types will sway the mood more towards their matching type, and only when the current combat mood is of the matching type will the type it is weak against get a bonus!

Which is stupid enough on it's own, but the mood bonuses seem to change on different maps for some reason? There are actually some moods other than just the base 3. And Different attack types swing the mood more. Hostile physical attacks are weak to Deception... but also sometimes friendliness. But friendliness takes like SIX moves to turn hostile moods to friendly ones, while deception takes only THREE before it becomes weak to Friendly, letting Friendly sweep the god damn "screw you guys" awards. But if that isn't enough in friendly states hostile physical attacks get a bonus. ONCE because it takes ONE hostile attack to swing you to a hostile state.

Sure you can flavour up your system and say hostile "should" do that "because realizarmz" but... it's a HIGHLY abstracted game and the rock scissors mechanic is it's fundamental CORE of functionality. And it's gigantically lop sided, wonky and utter bullshit.

BUT WAIT THERE IS STILL MORE... because sometimes you get different, and better rewards for ending a combat with a certain "dominant mood" so if you are "more friendly" with your actions than other things... you get a bonus prize. And you need the fucking bonus prize because fuck you on resources if you recall.

BUT REMEMBER... you have a party specializing in like ONE FUCKING THING, and anything that gives the prize to any other thing is just an invitation for you to voluntarily lose the combat (in a game that regards a permadeath mode as standard). And yes, as far as I can tell, generally all the best bonuses go to friendly the majority of the time.

AND JUST FOR EXTRA SHITS AND GIGGLES your dominant combat mood is NOT the same as your actual CURRENT combat mood! Instead it's what appears to be an aggregate of ALL your action mood types with a strong bonus for whatever the current over all mood is. And yes this strong bonus means that mostly your final dominant mood and your final current mood are the same... but NOT ALWAYS. And yes since it's so easy to get into a hostile current mood for a large final bonus to hostile dominant mood, and since digging your way out to a friendly current mood is so hard it IS much harder to get the better friendly prizes if you didn't just go pure friendly.

Seriously that ONE hostile attack you get a bonus on because of a friendly state before you blow the friendly state and the bonus (if isn't even a bigger bonus than the other states give other attack types FOR FUCKS SAKE) is punished again and god damn again. You shouldn't even have BROUGHT any characters other than friendly fucking specialists with you CLEARLY. If I still held out any hope that the rock paper scissors "dynamic" was going to be actually fucking functional on ANY level it died approximately at the point of this realization.

6) The Worthless Campaign Layer
There is a between missions campaign layer with multiple currencies, tech, items, day jobs, and recruitment of side kicks.

It's best described as a pile of overly complex yet ultimately worthless shit.

The only times it does anything you will even notice it does it in ways that make the game WORSE.

7) Race Against basically no time at all
The story line of the game is, you get cock blocked on the prize for the stupid fucking tutorial mission by some other explorer who is so much better than you he just gets ONE of his side kicks to be the level boss against you.

So you swear revenge and try to accrue more of a specific colour of lame abstracted currency points (one of many, I think it's what? Purple, they ran out of colours on the others after using several blues, greens and so on with all the other multi-layered lame abstracted currency points) before the next conference.

So that gives you a total of 5 fucking missions before game over. The missions get harder and more rewarding. But the lower level missions don't give you enough resources to pay for the basic attributes you need for the higher level missions.

If there weren't a stupid time limit you could grind more lower level missions for the resources to do the higher level ones. But there is a time limit so if you aren't doing the hardest mission available every time a new difficulty of mission is opened up you are ripping yourself off on vital victory points.

Screw This Game
No really. This game is one of those "everything wrong with" moments.

Someone somewhere has a check list of ideas about "hardcore" gaming and how to make a "game" out of randomly collecting not quite enough of 36 different flavours of entirely abstracted different colour tokens and they have piled a bunch of really dry joyless frustrating intellectual dross together because they HAVE NO HUMAN SOULS and are INCAPABLE OF PRODUCING, RECOGNIZING OR EVEN EXPERIENCING "FUN".

I hate this game and I want everyone possible to know that.
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Last edited by PhoneLobster on Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:37 am; edited 2 times in total
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Starmaker
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 2288
Location: Redmonton

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
Which is stupid enough on it's own, but the mood bonuses seem to change on different maps for some reason? There are actually some moods other than just the base 3.

There are three dispositions for you and three dispositions for enemies, so, nine possible combinations (or six without counting doubles).

Quote:
But friendliness takes like SIX moves to turn hostile moods to friendly ones, while deception takes only THREE before it becomes weak to Friendly, letting Friendly sweep the god damn "screw you guys" awards. But if that isn't enough in friendly states hostile physical attacks get a bonus. ONCE because it takes ONE hostile attack to swing you to a hostile state.
...
Seriously that ONE hostile attack you get a bonus on because of a friendly state before you blow the friendly state and the bonus

At Friendly-Friendly, Aggressive attacks get a bonus. And yes, it (usually) only takes one hit to change YOUR disposition from Friendly to Aggressive. But THEIR disposition is still Friendly until they've taken an Aggressive action. At Aggressive-Friendly, the Friendly party gets -30 to Defense. You don't blow the bonus, it becomes a bigger fucking bonus.
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