|Julian, Phillipe and Kevin is back again to rescue the world|
|The brothers are teleported to this square in the start|
We start the game just outside an inn in a square with three stoned steads. Since the manual recommends to check out the tavern and innkeeper we went there first. It was a large two storey inn with several rooms and NPC:s. I talked with everyone and it is here I note the difference from similar games. You use icons with mental ideas that represents standard topics to initiate a dialogue with. It could be a simple greeting to to topics such as potions, magic items, weapons, armours or shops. You have to click on the icon and then on the NPC on the screen to ask of the specific topic. I have so far not seen any dialogue choices.
What makes it even worse is that the NPC:s don´t neccessarily give all information at once so you have to repeat the process until they start to repeat themselves. This system is extremely cumbersome and there are no keyboard shortcuts to make it work faster. That is my first impression.
|Lore is found in books and scolls that litters the starting town|
Inn the Tavern I also found a board of notices where I could read about rumours and tips and hints about local dealers. I decided I should explore the town Paravis before venturing out in the countryside.
Here and there you find scrolls or books that give you more information about the land, legends, myths and concrete information about potions for example. I now know that dark blue potions and light blue potions are different strengths of healing. But personally I am too impatient to read several pages of information about legends. I never do that in Morrowind, Oblivion or Skyrim either.
Almost every house have either a potion, scroll or other item to take and there is no risk with burglary or stealing, even if it is done just in front of the owner. In this way I quickly built up a supply of potions, scrolls and lore. I soon reached my carrying limit and had to prioritize what to bring with me.
The game, just like its predecessor, features day and night cycles but I am not sure if that have any effect since you could disable that feature in the options menu.
|During my night stroll in the starting town I came about this man|
There are a few shops in town: a general store, a temple, blacksmith and a peddlar. They all have something to sell or buy. The interface for buying things is quite clumsy. Look at the image below.
In the town, there are certain houses that have stairs either leading up or down as seen below. They could contain some rats you could practice slaying. There are no experience points in the game but you will automatically increase in any of your skills by using them. From time to time your vitality (health) will also increase. Probably as a result of fighting. That also means there are no levels. Just like in the first game. The more you fight the better you eventually become.
|Searching cellars could be rewarding|
|In front of the shopkeeper|
|Weapons/Armours comes in different qualities defined by its metal|
|I am about to ask this child what it know about magic spells|
|If you could afford 500 gold you could be trained|
|You could loot your victims|
While in town I read in a book in the moontemple about a tower or ruins south of the town in which the legend says a magical venom sword is hidden. I felt quite intent on finding out where it was despite the fact that the legend told of a demon guarding it.
My exploration south of the town took me through densed woods, occasionally split by a river and small roads. In a few places I had to fight goblins but as long as they where 2 or 3 at most I could handle them even though I died a few times.
I will return in a later post about the combat which is very simple albeit a little hard to grasp from an interface perspective. It feels I just try to click on the enemies and the A.I guide my other brothers in doing the same but I am not sure it is effective. Very often the game pauses during combat with a white triangular marking above my leading character. That means its turn based and when the leader lacks any new directions or actions the game pauses. I find this a cumbersome right now and hope I get used to it later on.
Fortunately you have access to an automap in the beginning of the game which gives a pretty nice overview of a large area as could be seen below. The only problem with it is that I can not make any notes which I think will be invaluable later on when I have to remember where I have found special places or people (note: It seems the game itself places small infonotes about important places).
|The automap is pretty|
Right now my goal is to search south and east of the town. In the east the poor man that died before my feet told me that he and his family was attacked by goblins and in the south because I want to find the ruins where the magical sword is hidden.
I think I´ve fought goblins in at least five occasions now and I have noticed that occassionally my vitality increases as well as my skills in brawl and/or swordcraft. So I am gradually getting stronger. I returned to the town to buy all three of us bronze breastplates and that did much to improve our defenses.
I have a good feeling about the game. I really want to like it because of my fond memories from Faery Tale Adventure. But I must say that the there are several things that are really obstructive.
- The NPC dialogue system is a pain to use. The NPCs wanders around and might leave the screen before you could click on it with a new idea. Forcing you to run after NPC:s to have the time to try out all ideas on them.
- Combat is hard to get control of. You only command one brother at a time and the others follow. To let all three attack the same enemy is very hard if there are many and the game often freezes with this triangular shape over its head indicating my leading characters lack of direction.
- Movement in the game are on the border of being too slow. The brothers walks slowly and you have to manually guiding them through all obstacles indoors to move ahead of things which makes picking up items and descending/ascending stairs difficult at times. I have tried to fix this by increasing CPU cycles in Dosbox but to no effect.