Author Topic: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos  (Read 3180 times)

Offline Ben J

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REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« on: February 16, 2010, 04:42:35 PM »
*WARNING: Contains spoilers, expecially about the ending*


So, here's my review about the game. First off, I wanted to say that I enjoyed playing it, even though I've had my difficulties with some aspects of the gameplay. But I wouldn't have finished the quest if those difficulties had been too bothersome.

One thing I really liked were the graphics. The sprites were imaginative and lovingly drawn. My favorites were the Dynoniki.
The walls and other details also looked great. The large hall at the end looked truly impressive. The atmosphere was nice, even though there could have been a bit more "flavor text"  - but that's probably just me speaking from the FRUA-perspective. If you have the possibility to depict a rack or a piece of furniture here, instead of just describing it, there's less need for text. Still, there were some things, like chests, where I missed being able to look at (or into) them. They were just there.

I found the different races depicted in the game very interesting. I wish I had more information about what a "Marten" actually is. Did I miss a readme file? Or is this explained somewhere else?
Anyway, having other races than just the standard elves, dwarves, etc. was a breath of fresh air.

Now, here's my main quibble with the game: The combat system.

I already descibed my difficulties with it in the other thread. And although I did fare much better with the savegame Dinonykos sent me, I still died frequently, and needed to reload the game many times.
My problem is not only that the fights (especially in the beginning) were hard, but that my options were so limited and I often had no influence whatsoever on the outcome of the fights. There's no strategy involved. If the standard Goldbox combat system is comparable to chess, this combat system is a bit like rock-paper-scissors.
I mean, I can't even change my weapon or drink a potion during the battle. And there's also a lack of text messages. In the "Bard's Tale"-games (the combat system of which I also didn't like), you got at least some hints about who lost how many hitpoints. In Friedrich's Quest, it took me a while to even figure out that I was losing HP even when the screen turned green.


But besides this problem, I enjoyed searching the castle a lot.


The ending was... very unexpected. It was kind of cool, but it was also a bit like "you woke up and everything was just a dream". It would have been nice if there had been some hints that pointed to this ending (even if they were just cryptic hints - I love cryptic hints and mysterious foreshadowing...  ;D ).

But still, the ending had the advantage of total unpredictability. Will these characters return in "Helmetlands"?


One question remains, though: When you die in the *SPOILERS* virtual reality, wouldn't you just return to reality?


« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 04:46:20 PM by Ben J »
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Offline Dinonykos

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 06:48:12 AM »
I planned to wait for someone else to replay to Ben J's review, but since he/you, Ben, already complained about a lack of reaction to this review, I will answer to some points. :) Like in Ben J'S review, there will be some *SPOILING* below!

The atmosphere was nice, even though there could have been a bit more "flavor text"  - but that's probably just me speaking from the FRUA-perspective.
No, I agree with you. There should have been more "flavor text" as you call it. It was simply a matter of time, since I wanted to keep the deadline... :)

If you have the possibility to depict a rack or a piece of furniture here, instead of just describing it, there's less need for text. Still, there were some things, like chests, where I missed being able to look at (or into) them. They were just there.
Yep! I planned on adding more items or other surprises to the chests, and also to bookshelfs and other things. Again, time was the major problem. I hope I find the time next week to add a little more "flavor text" and interaction with objects in the revised version.

I found the different races depicted in the game very interesting. I wish I had more information about what a "Marten" actually is. Did I miss a readme file? Or is this explained somewhere else? Anyway, having other races than just the standard elves, dwarves, etc. was a breath of fresh air.
I am sure that "Helmetlands", to which "Friedrich's Quest" (FQ) is a kind of prequel, will answer a lot of questions. To me, FQ is mainly a test how people like the art style, if there's interest in different races, and if the event-driven combat has a chance to become accepted.

My problem is not only that the fights (especially in the beginning) were hard, but that my options were so limited and I often had no influence whatsoever on the outcome of the fights. There's no strategy involved. If the standard Goldbox combat system is comparable to chess, this combat system is a bit like rock-paper-scissors.
I mean, I can't even change my weapon or drink a potion during the battle. And there's also a lack of text messages. In the "Bard's Tale"-games (the combat system of which I also didn't like), you got at least some hints about who lost how many hitpoints. In Friedrich's Quest, it took me a while to even figure out that I was losing HP even when the screen turned green.
There was a lot of discussion of this combat system here and in the ironworks forum. I personally like the "rock-paper-scissors" approach (this is indeed a good analogy), while I find the regular FRUA/DC battles a little boring (Sorry! :) ).
I agree with several of your (and Olivier's and Manikus') points. Some improvements I am just working on:
- There will be more information during combat, e.g., it will be mentioned whether the opponent received big or only little damage and if he/she/it looks already badly wounded. Additionally, at least for longer combats, the sprites will change due to the grade of damage the opponent received.
- Flee/Bribe/Negotiate options will be improved.
- The different fighting modes (defensive/normal/do-or-die) will be more different, and different monsters will specifically react to these styles.
- Additionally, in "Helmetlands", you will play with at least four characters. This will slightly change the way combats are handled, and I can already promise that the risk of being slain within one or two rounds will be minimal, as long as you do not attack very strong monsters right in the beginning.
- You will be able to see a lot of opponents from far away and thus have the option to avoid a fight.
- I will also think about a way to drink healing potions or cast spells during the event-driven combat, but I cannot yet make promises about that... :D
- I am sure that in the long run, there will be a lot of combats in which you can chose between the "classic" combat and the "event-driven" combat.

But besides this problem, I enjoyed searching the castle a lot.
The ending was... very unexpected. It was kind of cool, but it was also a bit like "you woke up and everything was just a dream". It would have been nice if there had been some hints that pointed to this ending (even if they were just cryptic hints - I love cryptic hints and mysterious foreshadowing...  ;D ).
Well, yes. I was thinking about that. I would perhaps have given some hints in a longer adventure. However, you can, in my opinion, regard the very straight-forward "save-damsel-from-evil-overlord"-background as hint, can you not? :D

But still, the ending had the advantage of total unpredictability. Will these characters return in "Helmetlands"?
Definitely. However, Friedrich will definitely not be the hero, but rather be a kind of "captive princess" himself.
The heroes are these guys/girls:


One question remains, though: When you die in the *SPOILERS* virtual reality, wouldn't you just return to reality?
Well... That is somewhat a philosophical question. I thought about several options how to handle that, and in the end I saw it that way that the game ends for both the player and "real" Friedrich. However, you have a point. I could have used the dying to give a small hint to the player. If there was the option in DC to have different credit screens, I would have used that perhaps and added a picture of angry "real" Friedrich leaving or restarting the VR-simulation.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 06:50:44 AM by Dinonykos »
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Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 10:03:30 AM »
One question remains, though: When you die in the *SPOILERS* virtual reality, wouldn't you just return to reality?
Well... That is somewhat a philosophical question. I thought about several options how to handle that, and in the end I saw it that way that the game ends for both the player and "real" Friedrich. However, you have a point. I could have used the dying to give a small hint to the player. If there was the option in DC to have different credit screens, I would have used that perhaps and added a picture of angry "real" Friedrich leaving or restarting the VR-simulation.


*SPOILERS*


A simple solution would be to replace the "Abandoned Battlefield" pic which signifies death by something more ambiguos, like a "Game Over" sign. A blinking "Game Over" message would be cool, if you can pull that off.  ;)

Offline Ben J

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2010, 01:24:52 PM »
I planned to wait for someone else to replay to Ben J's review, but since he/you, Ben, already complained about a lack of reaction to this review, I will answer to some points. :) 

No, I wasn't complaining. ;D But I had these questions, and I feared that the review might have been overlooked.

Quote
Yep! I planned on adding more items or other surprises to the chests, and also to bookshelfs and other things. Again, time was the major problem. I hope I find the time next week to add a little more "flavor text" and interaction with objects in the revised version.

It wold be cool if you could make the objects in the main window "clickable", so they could be manipulated by simple commands ("use", "look"). But I don't think that's technically possible, and it also wouldn't be Goldbox-style anymore. Rather, it would be some kind of Goldbox/Eye of the Beholder-Hybrid.

Quote
There was a lot of discussion of this combat system here and in the ironworks forum. I personally like the "rock-paper-scissors" approach (this is indeed a good analogy), while I find the regular FRUA/DC battles a little boring (Sorry! :) ).
I agree with several of your (and Olivier's and Manikus') points. Some improvements I am just working on:
- There will be more information during combat, e.g., it will be mentioned whether the opponent received big or only little damage and if he/she/it looks already badly wounded. Additionally, at least for longer combats, the sprites will change due to the grade of damage the opponent received.
- Flee/Bribe/Negotiate options will be improved.
- The different fighting modes (defensive/normal/do-or-die) will be more different, and different monsters will specifically react to these styles.
- Additionally, in "Helmetlands", you will play with at least four characters. This will slightly change the way combats are handled, and I can already promise that the risk of being slain within one or two rounds will be minimal, as long as you do not attack very strong monsters right in the beginning.
- You will be able to see a lot of opponents from far away and thus have the option to avoid a fight.
- I will also think about a way to drink healing potions or cast spells during the event-driven combat, but I cannot yet make promises about that... :D
- I am sure that in the long run, there will be a lot of combats in which you can chose between the "classic" combat and the "event-driven" combat.

With more options to choose from during battle, I just might grow to like this combat system.

Quote
Well, yes. I was thinking about that. I would perhaps have given some hints in a longer adventure. However, you can, in my opinion, regard the very straight-forward "save-damsel-from-evil-overlord"-background as hint, can you not? :D

I suspected that something was fishy right from the beginning, yes. And even more so when Carl the Warlock appeared and turned out to be just a cardboard "villain" with no personality. That didn't sit right with me, and was kind of jarring when contrasted with the careful presentation of the game. But I still couldn't guess the ending. :D

Quote
Well... That is somewhat a philosophical question. I thought about several options how to handle that, and in the end I saw it that way that the game ends for both the player and "real" Friedrich. However, you have a point. I could have used the dying to give a small hint to the player. If there was the option in DC to have different credit screens, I would have used that perhaps and added a picture of angry "real" Friedrich leaving or restarting the VR-simulation.

I think Olivier's idea with the "game over"-screen, like in old arcade games, is pretty great.
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Offline Dinonykos

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2010, 01:59:34 PM »
I think Olivier's idea with the "game over"-screen, like in old arcade games, is pretty great.

Yes, that idea is good. For some strange reason, I always thought that a second credit screen was necessary. However, it is of course not difficult to do a nice game-over big pic, which precedes the credits. 
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Offline Uatu

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2010, 08:42:35 PM »
Perhaps we can add some screenshots to the review here?  :D  (I can do that if you like...)
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Offline Ben J

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2010, 05:24:31 AM »
Yeah, why not?
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Offline Uatu

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2010, 09:49:12 AM »
Here are some screenshots (from the first version of the game) - enjoy!  ;)
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Offline Uatu

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2010, 12:34:56 PM »
I still cannot beat this mod (I want to beat this before I do the sequel!)  :'(

Well, I will keep trying :D
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Offline Dinonykos

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 01:47:59 PM »
I still cannot beat this mod (I want to beat this before I do the sequel!)  :'(

Well, I will keep trying :D

But, Uatu, those who have played through both designs will probably agree that "Friedrich's Revenge" is fairer and less frustrating than "Friedrich's Quest". While FR is indeed a direct sequel to FQ, you do not neccessarily need to play through FQ to enjoy FR. Remember that FQ was for the contest in 2009, thus everything is a little bit improvised and the combats are not very well balanced.

If I can be of any help, please e-mail me. And make sure to play the silver edition, it is at least a little fairer than the version I posted first.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 01:51:39 PM by Dinonykos »
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Offline Uatu

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2010, 11:04:59 PM »
Oh, right - forgot about the Silver Edition (I guess my version is not Silver)...  Well, perhaps I can try that next!  (Or just jump to Friedrich's Revenge...)
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Offline Dinonykos

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Re: REVIEW: "Friedrich's Quest" by Dinonykos
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2010, 08:34:06 AM »
Oh, right - forgot about the Silver Edition (I guess my version is not Silver)...  Well, perhaps I can try that next!  (Or just jump to Friedrich's Revenge...)

Last night, when I had some problems with "The Sect" (solved thanks to nologgie :) ) I played through Friedrich's Quest and died not even once. Of course, I know where weapons and healing potions are hidden and which opponents should be treated how, but I still think the game is quite fair now.
Thus, I have to revise my own verdict a little bit - you may as well play Friedrich's Quest first without being demotivated. :D

The main drawback compared to Friedrich's Revenge is that FQ ends immediately when you die, while FR allows you to reload a savegame.
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