An alpha build of inXile Entertainment's crowd-funded The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep is finally upon us, and Val has been spending a considerable amount of time with the dungeon crawler. To give you an idea of how it is shaping up, here's a little something from his three-page, hands-on preview:
The objects you can interact with get a bright blue outline when you hover your mouse over them, and in my opinion, it's a bit jarring in a dungeon crawler. This isn't some hardcore thing as much as it is a game design thing. When you have to remain attentive and keep your mind sharp to notice all the hidden clues and cracked walls, the last thing I want to do is train my brain to look for that blue outline. The problem is, I'm not sure how they would fix that without forcing you to click on every piece of scenery since the current setup includes plenty of non-interactable clutter.
I also need to mention some welcome advancements in the actual character models. They looked rather odd in the early gameplay videos - these weird cardboard cutouts that moved up and down as they spoke and alternated between facing you and the enemies in combat - and I don't think many people were too enthralled by that implementation. The Alpha removed the annoying bobbing and replaced it with static images, which honestly was enough to salvage things, as far as I'm concerned. Without the bobbing, I wasn't bothered by the combat turning in the slightest.