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Richard Cobbett's Rock, Paper, Shotgun column boasts a couple of new entries.
First one, titled A Heretical Quest For Glory, describes the moderately successful attempts of porting the adventure/RPG hybrid Quest For Glory IV into Hexen's first person shooter engine. An excerpt:
Now, I appreciate that if you don’t know Quest For Glory IV then all of this is meaningless. Semi-related, please play Quest For Glory I-IV because they’re absolutely amazing games. However, even if you don’t know exactly what’s going on, Quest For Glory 3D actually bothers to tell the story in an extremely clever way. Wandering around, you’re routinely teleported in front of a plot card, showing the location/action/character from the main game on one side, and an easily written description in the style of the actual game’s text boxes on the other. Walk through the story and you simply appear where you were, ready to continue. It’s so much more effective than just sticking up a bit of text where the likes of ‘You collected the silver key’ are meant to go.
While unfinished, there’s a serious chunk of game here, running from the arrival in Mordavia to the first assault on the Castle. Sadly, the game doesn’t change based on your character class and there aren’t any choices or puzzles beyond walking to the next trigger point. There’s still at lot here though, including bonus (mostly jokey) characters scattered around, finding key items and otherwise. If you wanted a true modern recreation of the game, yes the simplicity and artifice less slip away than leave together in the back of a valet-driven car. However that’s the point. We have a huge sprawling, detailed, beautiful version of this game and it’s called Quest For Glory IV. Quest For Glory IV 3D is a passionate attempt to see it from another angle… or in another dimension. I really admire how well it’s done, even if this does end up being the only slice of that we get, right up to ending things on a big fight scene rather than just coming to a complete stop. Check the videos to see how that goes.
Of course, any and all of this can and probably will change if the project restarts – finishing the story, and going back to add even more flavour. It’s certainly enough for now, even if plenty of Hexen still remains amongst the Mordavian gloom.
Second one, that goes by the name The genius in the inventory, takes a stroll down the memory lane to the times where inventories weren't just for storing items, but instead were conduits for game-breaking ingenuity and creative thinking, and how Divinity: Original Sin attempts to rekindle this noble tradition. A bit on that:
Easily my favourite modern successor to all of these games was Divinity: Original Sin, which both set about doing the Ultima VII thing and making a world that would be bulletproof even in a multiplayer setting. The easiest way of doing this would have been to lock everything down. Instead, it opted to make it so open that you can just murder everyone and still progress. Some of the tricks allowed in beta were patched out, like being able to teleport any item out of a locked building and just pick it up. Most though stayed, like having one character distract an NPC while another stole everything in their house, making you feel like an expert grifter rather than just adventurer, or playing with rules like trying to knock down a locked door dealing weapon damage by just repeatedly hitting it with fire. As before, the bosses weren’t given any special immunities to most of this stuff. You could quite easily set traps or yoink them out of their intended combat area, with even the developers surprised when one player saved an item called the Lava Core for the final boss and one-shotted it.
I’ve yet to play much of the sequel – like most of this year’s, I have the Early Access version, but prefer to wait until It Is Done. But as you can probably imagine, I’m looking forward to it. It’s the first RPG since that quiet afternoon playing Humbug that really feels like it’s going to embrace the creativity and bastardry that I want from my RPG systems. Tricking another player into drinking poison at a crucial moment by taking a poison potion, colouring it red with some dye, and reverse-pickpocketing it into their bag? That’s the kind of game I want to play, to say nothing of having much more scope to try messing with the scripts with spells and triggered items and things on timers. Hopefully it’ll do it well and inspire more to try similar – to flesh out worlds in terms of opportunities and situations rather than simply flags and collectibles. Unlikely, I know. But hey, if the next Dragon Age or Witcher or big AAA attempt even tries to sprinkle a little chaos into an increasingly tiresomely locked down genre, I reckon we all win.