Derik Badman's Journal

2019-09-14 12:58

More time coding on the site. I might actually get all my todos crossed off soon.

Also more playing of Greedfall which is a decent game with a few shortcomings, some clearly because it is a lower budget game with high aspirations, partly just because of conventions of this type of game.

The game is narratively and partially mechanically based around choices. Your character is a diplomate dealing with a variety of factions that have varying levels of conflict with each other, so the story often puts you into a place where you have to choose sides or try to create some kind of compromise. This creates a sense that the choices matter, but like all games like this, it's hard to know if they really do, unless you play the games multiple times (trying variations). Many times, when playing games like Dragon Age or The Witcher I'll go to an online wiki about the game to lookup alternate paths, to see if the decisions I made really were making a difference or, if like a bad rpg module, you always end up with the same result. Greedfall is so new there is no suh source yet, so I'm quite curious about this.

I did discover one of the pivot points around a specific NPC the other day when I advanced through a main mission without completing a side mission. I ended up reloading a previous save and trying a different order to the missions, and that did, to a small extent make some different in the narrative.

The longer I play the game, the more I notice some of the limitations caused by a smaller studio budget. All the cities in the game have certain locations that are almost exactly the same (governor's mansion, barracks, tavern). There is also a sameness to wilderness encounters, where the majority of creatures you run into fall into about three species (with some ranked variations), unless you are in some kind of boss fight. These encounters end up a being a sort of busy work of the game, where you have to succeed in fights to continue the story, but the fights themselves are not particularly engaging on their own.

For me there is always this push and pull between wanting a challenge but not wanting to have to also be restarting from a previous save because my character died in combat. I quickly ended up setting this game on easy mode. For me these sorts of video rpgs are more interesting for the exploration of a narrative (and a narrative world) than they are about strategy and challenge. While I have in the past enjoyed playing strategy games in person, like tabletop miniatures games, the fun there is in playing against a live opponent. It seems less interesting when the opponent is a rather simple combat AI.

And now it's time to head off to the wedding.