Author Topic: REVIEW: Brave Souls (by Jon Rollins)  (Read 736 times)

Offline ProphetSword

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REVIEW: Brave Souls (by Jon Rollins)
« on: January 25, 2009, 08:19:31 PM »
Brave Souls
by Jon Rollins

Overall Rating: 5.5

Reviewed by Chris Markwyn

       I had a tough time deciding on a rating for this design. There were parts that I would rate highly, an 8 or so, and parts that made me cringe in pain, that deserved the dreaded 1. So, I split the difference, and gave it a slightly higher than average rating. The good parts outweighed the bad parts on the whole, but not by a lot.

       The plot is unoriginal--defeat the evil wizard's plan to do something Terrible and Evil--and is highly linear. You cannot deviate from it, but must go from Town A to Town B to Town C...etc. This isn't necessarily bad, but it was not always entirely clear where to go next. I had to wander about on the overland map at times to find the right town. The author also made the not very good decision to have the "Victory" tune play on each and every step on the overland map. This quickly grew wearisome, so a quick trip into the editor was necessary to delete that event.

       Some of the towns are quite well designed. Others are not. For example, and I am revealing this bit to warn other players, one part requires that the party have a "Detect Invisibility" spell active to get past a pair of invisible walls. Now, I for one never memorize this spell. It is used even less than "Find Traps," which I never memorize unless I'm playing one of Ray Dyer's Realm games. There is no real warning that a "Detect Invisibility" spell might be needed. This is the first UA design I can ever remember playing, in fact, that used the check for whether the party is "detecting invisible." In retrospect, I suppose it might be apparent, but I had to go into the editor to figure out what to do. From the hint text provided in a separate file, there is apparently another way past the invisible walls, but I couldn't find it.

       There are good things to this design. The combats, for the most part, are challenging without being overly so. There were a few which were a bit much, but on the whole the combat balance was good. The towns offered a variety of different challenges, and you run across several NPCs who are at least given reasonable facsimiles of personalities. They are pretty high-powered, one being a 25th level fighter, but they do come in handy. The original art is mostly just re-colored versions of the default art, but somehow it works. I'm not sure how or why, but I liked it.

       In the end, my problem with this design is that it just didn't give me enough. What I liked, I really liked. But what I didn't like left me pounding my desk in frustration. As a whole, "Brave Souls" is wildly uneven, and this is why I cannot recommend it very highly. Download it if you must, but be prepared for some frustrating times. If you can look past those bits, however, it offers a fair amount of entertainment.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 05:48:47 PM by Olivier Leroux »

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Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: Brave Souls (by Jon Rollins)
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 05:44:46 PM »
Brave Souls
by Jon Rollins

Reviewed by Susan McKinney

This is a very good storyline. The plot is VERY linear (warning for all you free-form types). :) Towns are not able to be explored unless you have advanced the quest to that particular town. The dialog is very well-written. I especially like the moments of self-reflection on the plot thus far, very nice touch. The ending was a very nice wrap-up and thank you to the author for giving the party a chance to save its game.

The only bug was a small one. In Ameliar, the quest number to meet Priam is off and I had to fix it so that I could continue. Otherwise, very well done!!

Rating: 7 (out of 10)